The cause of death of a missing Laurel County teenager, who was found dead near her boyfriend’s home in the Bee Creek community of Whitley County Friday evening, is still uncertain.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley said that the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office autopsied the body of Kayly Lynn Lockaby, 16, and determined Saturday afternoon that there was no anatomical nor lethal trauma to her body. This rules out shooting, stabbing, blunt force trauma and other types of possible causes of death.
Officials are waiting the on results of toxicology tests before determining an official cause of death. Toxicology results are expected to take about two weeks to complete, Croley said.
Lockaby was last seen on July 22 and was reported missing by a foster parent to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department on July 26.
On Friday afternoon, the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert asking for the public’s assistance to locate Lockaby.
Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies issued a second alert about 4 p.m. Friday announcing that a warrant had been issued for Lockaby’s boyfriend, Skyler Wayne Barnett, 21, in connection with harboring a runway.
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said that Whitley County deputies James Fox, Jonas Saunders and Joe Prewitt went to Barnett’s Lee Lane home early Friday evening looking for Lockaby.
As they approached the residence through a wooded area to the side of the home, they discovered human remains of a deceased female about 400 feet from Barnett’s home, Harrell said.
Croley pronounced the victim dead at the scene about 8 p.m. Friday.
The state medical examiner’s office was able to positively identify her body Saturday through tattoos, scars and other identifying marks, Croley said.
Due to decomposition and other environmental factors it is difficult to pinpoint an exact time of death, but Croley said that officials believe that Lockaby had been dead for about three or four days when her body was discovered Friday.
Croley said that he doesn’t feel Lockaby’s body was dumped at that location.
Oak Grove Fire and Rescue assisted with removing Lockaby’s body from the scene late Friday about 10:30 or 11 p.m.
Croley said that firefighters were called to the scene to provide lifting assistance due in part to the terrain where the body was located.
Until he can get more information, Croley said that he couldn’t say whether drugs or alcohol played a role in Lockaby’s death.
Whitley County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Barnett Friday evening on the arrest warrant from Laurel County.
Harrell said Saturday afternoon that the warrant was for unlawful transaction with a minor.
Whitley County Sheriff’s deputies also charged Barnett, 21, with first-degree possession of a controlled substance-heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia based upon items found at his residence Friday evening, Harrell said.
Prewitt wrote on Barnett’s arrest citation that when he arrived at the scene, he observed Barnett go out the back door of his 319 Lee Lane residence.
When Barnett was searched, deputies found a syringe with a black tar like substance believed to be heroin in Barnett’s front pocket. Next to where Barnett was sitting, police found a spoon with a small black rock believed to be heroin, Prewitt wrote on the arrest citation.
Barnett was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center at 3:03 a.m. Saturday and is being held there in lieu of a $1,000 cash bond in the unlawful transaction with a minor case, and a $10,000 cash bond in the drug possession case.
Harrell declined to say what, if anything, Barnett has said to authorities about Lockaby’s death.
In a post made on his Facebook page on Sept. 7, 2015, Barnett spoke about how happy he was to meet Lockaby.
“I really thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t meet someone like her and as beautiful and purfect as she is or that could make me so happy,” he wrote.
Croley and Fox are continuing the investigation.
Funeral services for Lockaby are planned for Wednesday morning in the Laurel Funeral Home Chapel with Brother Kenny Johnson officiating.
Burial will follow in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Corbin.