Authorities identified human remains discovered March 2 on Kennedy Road in Clarksville as Justin Tyler Sawyer, a 20-year-old Rossview High School graduate who went missing in December.
Clarksville police sent the remains to the state medical examiner’s office in Nashville, and they were confirmed March 4 as Sawyer’s, according to family members.
Tyler, as his family called him, will be buried in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father, Ricky Sawyer, reflected on his son’s life and said he saw himself every time he looked into his son’s eyes.
“Tyler was genuine and had a big heart,” Ricky Sawyer said. “I had a lot of expectations for him. He was just beginning his path of what he was to become.”
Video surveillance Dec. 17 at the Shell gas station in Oak Grove, Kentucky, helped investigators in the case and led to Dawuan Davis, Marquell Sims and Gene Douglas Henry, all from Oak Grove, charged in the case.
All three suspects previously pleaded not guilty, according to Angela Belcher, Tyler’s aunt.
In February, Sawyer’s family traveled to Clarksville to organize a search party for Tyler’s body, but they left disappointed.
It’s been hard on the family with their proximity from Clarksville during the months-long investigation; however, Ricky Sawyer said he’s thankful for the outpouring of support from both Tennessee and Kentucky.
“The main thing we had to rely on was the justice system,” Ricky Sawyer said. “I’m appreciative of the protocol that was set in place to bring this together. We’re appreciative of the love we have received from Tyler’s friends in Clarksville. The outpouring of support has been amazing.”
The family organized a balloon release and candlelight vigil in Tyler Sawyer’s memory for March 13 at 4 p.m. at the Cumberland Riverwalk in Clarksville.