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ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Footprints of backhoes and heavy machinery mark the land where detectives spent weeks digging for clues after an apparent deathbed confession of a buried body. It's a secret that haunted a dying man suffering from aspiration pneumonia.
"Larry wanted to make things right," said Pamela Rhinehart. "He wanted to go to heaven and be with my dad."
Hours before Larry Sherrard passed, Rhinehart, his niece who also was his caregiver, listened as the frail 60-year-old made a confession.
"He looked at me and said, ‘I don't want to go to hell," Rhinehart said. "I said, ‘what are you talking about?' And he said, ‘I killed two men.'"
Without judgment, Rhinehart allowed her uncle to open up about his troubled past.
"He said I shot one and put him in a cave in Eastview and told me how he shot him, what he did and who was involved with it," said Rhinehart. "And he said the other one he shot and killed and buried him under his house on East Railroad Avenue."
Days later, Elizabethtown detectives excavated land along East Railroad Avenue. Archaeologists searched the land using ground penetrating radar and found two, what they called, disturbed locations.
Police confirmed they discovered bone fragments. Those fragments have now sent to a lab to determine whether the pieces are animal or human remains. It's a revelation Sherrard's family is still trying to process.
"Every time my husband would see him, he'd say, ‘Larry did you bury somebody in the drive?'" said Kathy Sherrard, Larry Sherrard's sister-in-law. "Larry would just laugh. It was just a joke. We never really thought it ."
"Larry confessing to me was his way of trying to make things right," said Rhinehart. "No matter whether those people that he killed over a drug dealer were bad or not, they were somebody's somebody. And somebody needed to know about them."
A Hardin County sheriff's detective has been assigned to investigate the part of the confession about a body in a cave.