Body found just off Highway 118 in Jasper
by James Phillips
Mar 08, 2011 | 8151 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair, left, speaks with Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton near the spot off Highway 118 in Jasper where a body was found Monday afternoon. - Photo by: James Phillips
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair, left, speaks with Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton near the spot off Highway 118 in Jasper where a body was found Monday afternoon. - Photo by: James Phillips
slideshow
A body found Monday afternoon in Jasper has been identified as a 52-year-old Jasper man missing since December.

Joseph Dale Harbin was last seen alive on Dec. 11 in the parking lot of Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper. On Monday, his body was identified in a wooded area just off Highway 118 by Walker County Coroner J.C. Poe.

Coy Harbin, Joseph's father, told the Daily Mountain Eagle in December that he took his son to WBMC to meet a friend. Harbin said he had left his son in the same spot numerous times in the past. He added his son usually called a few hours later to be picked up.

"He said he was supposed to meet somebody there," Harbin said in December. "I dropped him off in the parking lot and that's the last time that we've seen him."

Members of the Jasper Police Department, the Walker County Sheriff's Office and the Walker County District Attorney's Office responded to 4500 Highway 118 near the Same Day Dentures office after someone working in the woods found the body and called police.

Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton said Harbin was easily identified because his wallet was found with his body. Patton said police do not suspect foul play at this time.

"There doesn't appear to be any foul play," he said. "This is a death investigation, and we will continue to investigate the matter, but there's nothing here that tells us foul play was involved."

Poe said it appeared the body had been at the location since the time Harbin was reported missing. He said an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

"There's not a lot that we can say at this point," he said. "That will all be determined by what the autopsy tells us."

Poe said final autopsy results would not be available for some time.

"It takes them a while," he said. "It could be as soon as six weeks, but sometimes it takes four or five months. We'll know a lot more when those final results are revealed."