Autopsy: No foul play in case of missing Barrow man

WINDER -- An autopsy Monday showed no signs of foul play in the death of a Winder man who had vanished five days before his body was found in a creek bed, officials said.

A family member searching for James Gunter, 51, found his body Saturday in the vicinity of where he'd last been seen March 19 -- walking on woodsy Freeman Johnson Road toward Ga. Highway 211. No signs of foul play were found at the scene, said Barrow County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Matt Guthas.

Gunter was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab for an autopsy. A cause of death has not been released.

Guthas said a probe into the death is ongoing, as "investigators seek to put the pieces of the puzzle regarding Gunter's disappearance and death together."

Family members called the Sheriff's Office with word that Gunter was missing about a day after he was last seen. Sheriff's officials and assisting personnel conducted roadside checks of motorists and searched the area for three days last week but found nothing. Some searches included canines.

"The area is heavily wooded and includes swamps which make searching difficult," Guthas said.

Investigators estimated more than 80 people -- including law enforcement, neighbors and family members of Gunter -- participated in the searches. The exact point where the body was discovered had not been searched, but it was near the area investigators covered, Guthas said.

Officials urge anyone with information that could be relevant to contact the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff's Office at 770-307-3080, ext. 3094.