Above, police are in the process of positively identifying human remans, above, found in a storage unit in south Corbin Thursday afternoon.
Doris Anne Wood
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley has confirmed that the bones found in a Corbin storage unit last Thursday are the remains of Doris Anne Wood of Delaware.
“We can’t say for certain how long she has been dead, but it is safe to say she died about the time she disappeared in 1997,” Croley said, noting state officials worked with National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs) staff to confirm the findings.
Wood, who was 43 years old at the time of her death, was reported missing in New Castle County, Del. on July 28, 1997.
According to the website www.charleyproject.org, which profiles cold cases of missing people, Wood was last seen leaving her residence in Newark, Del. She was en route to her sister’s house but never arrived.
Her husband, Robert Wood, was questioned by New Castle County Police detectives at the time concerning her disappearance but was never charged.
According to a story published at delawareonline.com, the Wood’s neighbors noticed that Doris Wood, who was frequently seen walking with the couple’s little girl, was no longer doing so. Instead, neighbors saw Robert Wood with the girl. When the neighbors asked about Doris, Robert reportedly told them she had gone to visit relatives. However, neighbors remained skeptical.
Doris and Robert Wood lived in the home from 1976 until 2002. When Robert Wood moved to Kentucky, New Castle County police returned to the house and dug up the foundation in search of Doris Wood’s remains but found nothing.
Chuck Woodley, owner of Pier Storage on Falls Hwy. told Corbin dispatch that the rumor was that Robert Wood had killed Doris Wood. As part of the investigation, former Corbin Police Detective Tim Helton brought cadaver dogs to the storage units but nothing was ever found.
“He was a nice, soft-spoken intelligent man,” Woodley told dispatchers in describing Robert Wood.
Larry and Steve Terry, who had purchased the unit at auction, found the remains about 4 p.m. as they sorted through the contents. Upon discovering the bones, they brought them into the storage facility office, where management then notified Corbin Police.
“The remains were in some yellow plastic grocery bags stacked on some boxes in the far right hand corner of the unit,” said Corbin Police Detective Rusty Hedrick, noting both femur (leg) bones had been cut in half with some type of power saw.
There is no way to determine how long they had been in the storage unit,” he said.
Steve Terry said the bags had been stuffed in between some boxes but had fallen out. The first bag the father and son opened contained the jawbone and some other bones, which Larry Terry took up to the office.
Steve Terry said he continued the search and found another bag that contained some of the rib bones.
“There was no odor or any kind of smell to the bones,” Steve Terry said.
Steve Terry said this was the first storage unit the duo had purchased.
“This won’t deter us from buying storage units,” Steve Terry said. “We just hope we don’t find anything else like this.”
Steve Terry said the gruesome find is good in a way.
“Maybe Doris’ family can get some closure out of this,” Steve Terry said.
Though initial reports indicated the bones had been buried at one time and later exhumed, Croley said Tuesday that was not the case.
Hedrick said Wood had initially rented the unit in 2002 and continued to pay the rent even after moving away from Corbin in 2004.
The rent on the unit had gone unpaid since May after Robert Wood died in Alabama.
As part of the investigation, police were combing the multiple residences throughout Corbin Monday where Robert Wood lived.
Croley said nothing related to Doris Wood’s death was found in any of the residences. The next step in the investigation will be to search the Wood’s home in Delaware and places in Alabama.
Though officials have determined to whom the remains belong, Croley said how Doris Wood died remains under investigation.