Deathbed confession leads to active investigation - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Deathbed confession leads to active investigation after body discovered in cave

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Hardin County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating new leads surrounding a man who was discovered shot and killed in 1989. Hardin County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating new leads surrounding a man who was discovered shot and killed in 1989.
Pamela Rhinehart Pamela Rhinehart
Sgt. Rex Allaman Sgt. Rex Allaman
A newspaper photograph of Thomas "T.J." Mitchell Jones A newspaper photograph of Thomas "T.J." Mitchell Jones
Larry Sherrard (Source: Family photo) Larry Sherrard (Source: Family photo)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - A deathbed confession about a cold case prompted police to search for another killer. Hardin County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating new leads surrounding a man who was discovered shot and killed in 1989.

Deep in the woods in Hardin County, cave explorers stumbled upon human remains more than 25 years ago in Salt Peter Cave near Eastview, Kentucky. It's also where a dying man claimed he dumped a body after shooting and killing him.

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Hours before Larry Sherrard passed, the 60-year-old confessed to his niece.

"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," Pamela Rhinehart said.

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Detectives believe Thomas "T.J." Mitchell Jones, 29, may have been killed by several people.

"The investigation led to a dead end at that point. They had suspects and Larry Sherrard was one of the ones mentioned as a potential suspect or person of interest," Sgt. Rex Allaman said.

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Hardin County Sheriff's Office investigators didn't arrest Sherrard or anyone else. The case never transpired new leads until deputies received a tip from Rhinehart.

"That was a big break. We may still have people alive. Another person of interest we believe has already passed away, but there was more than two," Sgt. Allaman said.

The cave has now caved in. The man who confessed is dead, but Hardin County detectives are confident someone else is holding onto a secret from 1989.

"If anything maybe we'll get some closure to the family. We'd always hope to get a criminal conviction," Sgt. said.

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