Body found in car submerged in pond identified as Dalton man, death ruled accidental

A body found last year in a white Nissan Sentra that was submerged in this pond off Keeter Road in Whitfield County has been identified asĀ Darrell Scott Barnes, 56, of Dalton.

A body found in September of last year in a white Nissan Sentra that was submerged in a pond off Keeter Road in Whitfield County has been identified by the state crime lab as Darrell Scott Barnes, 56, of Dalton, and the death has been ruled accidental.

Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said in a press release at the time the body was found that "based on the vehicle condition it is believed the vehicle had been submerged for several months." According to a sheriff's office incident report, Barnes was reported missing by a neighbor on Dec. 24, 2018. The neighbor said she had not seen Barnes in approximately three weeks and that it was "unlike him to disappear for this long without letting her know where he was."

A deputy went to Barnes' home at that time but did not make contact with anyone, and information about him was entered into the National Crime Information Center as a missing person.

On Sept. 25 of last year the sheriff's office received information that a vehicle may have been submerged in the pond. Deputies and members of the Whitfield County Fire Department responded and after evaluating the scene suspected a body was in the car.

The sheriff's office sought help from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol to recover the car. With the help of the state patrol's dive team, the car was removed from the pond. The body was found in the "front passenger compartment," Chitwood said.

Someone had seen the top of a car in the pond near Creekside Grocery in eastern Whitfield County and called 911, Coroner Greg Bates said.

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