The Warrick County Sheriff's Office says 35 year old Joseph Nelson is the man found dead at Alcoa yesterday morning. They were able to identify him from his fingerprints. An identification that was made easier because of Nelson's criminal history. When Nelson was 17 years old he was booked in the Morgan County jail on eight counts of theft, burglary, auto theft, and criminal recklessness with a vehicle. He served nine years in state prison. His probation ended in 2007.
Nelson's last known address was in Martinsville near Indianapolis, but how he made his way onto a coal conveyor belt Monday morning is not yet known. "He wasn't living here. We don't know if he was visiting friends or what he was doing exactly," said Warrick County Sheriff Brett Kruse. Nelson posted on his Facebook page February 14th that he was on his way to Evansville to visit a couple friends. Later checking into La Quinta Inn. Then on the 15th checking into HomeLife Studios. The sheriff's office didn't know if it was accidental at first, but now foul play is suspected. "There were injuries found during the autopsy that lead us to believe that it was not an accident," said Sheriff Kruse.
Because Nelson's body was unloaded from a coal train it was unclear at what point Nelson was put in the cart. New evidence coming from Alcoa's surveillance video is leading the sheriff's office in the right direction. "It helped us answer some questions that are pertinent to the investigation. It helps us to narrow down some things certain parts of the investigation and keeps us pointed in the right direction," said Sheriff Kruse.
In what appears to be a very odd case Sheriff Kruse says his department is getting close to finding some answers. "There's five detectives that have hit it hard since 7 o'clock yesterday morning. They're running on very little sleep today and they're working hard. I feel confident that they'll wrap it up."