“We don’t have enough details yet in this investigation to know what we’re dealing with at this time,” Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said at a Friday afternoon press conference.
Steward said the head and an arm had been removed from the body, along with other injuries he declined to detail with investigation continuing. Investigators have not found the man’s head.
“Whoever did this probably does not want us to identify the body, so it makes our job a little bit harder,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lance Mathess.
A Cody duck hunter and his son came across the corpse around noon on Thursday, finding it on Bureau of Land Management property that’s about one a half miles west of Wyo. Highway 294 up the dead-end Little Sand Coulee Road. The remote area — several miles from the nearest residence — is approximately 12 miles northwest of Powell.
Steward estimated the man had died within three or four days of the discovery, but did not know whether he died at the scene. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday.
Steward described the victim as Hispanic or Native American, less than six feet tall, between 180 and 200 pounds with a stocky build. He was wearing a dark blue, button-down short-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and brown work boots with a bluish green top, deep tread and square toe.
Steward said the man was also wearing a distinct leather belt with Native American designs and a matching belt buckle with a braided border and a pearl-colored in-laid horse head.
The sheriff asked anyone with information about the possible identity of the victim to immediately contact his office at 307-527-8700. He asked citizens to be alert and to let his office know if they see anything suspicious.
Anyone who’s recently traveled up the unmarked Little Sand Coulee Road — located just beyond the base of the Badger Basin hill — is also asked to contact the sheriff’s office to help pin down the timeline. The road in question should not be confused with the more heavily used 11-mile route further north that connects 294 with Wyo. Highway 120 and is also known as the Little Sand Coulee Road.
The Tribune will have a more complete and updated story in Tuesday's editor and report any significant developments between now and then. The audio from Friday's press conference can be listened to in the video below. Please be warned that it contains graphic content.