Scattered human skeletal remains were found Thursday afternoon in a field near Highland Baptist Church on Highway 11-E in Whitesburg, according to Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin.

While the identity of the person has not been conclusively established, the sheriff says he strongly suspects the remains could belong to a Hamblen County man that was reported missing in January. Clothes found in the field match the clothing the missing man was last seen wearing, according to the sheriff.

Jarnagin says the bones do not have an obvious deformity that would suggest a possible cause of death. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation forensic scientists are assisting the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department detectives in an effort to identify the man and determine the cause of death.

Detective Sgt. Jim Brooks said this morning the case is currently not being investigated as a homicide. A farm worker discovered the bones some time after 3 p.m. Thursday and notified the sheriff’s department.