PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Police confirm they are investigating a suspicious death, after a body was found near the apartment complex of a missing Portsmouth woman.
Detective Misty Holley, with Portsmouth police, said officers were called to Tejo Lane, near Silver Maple Drive, around 11 p.m. Tuesday. This was after police received a report of a bad smell near the Churchland Forest apartment complex.
When officers arrived, they discovered a body in a wooded area. Detectives spent hours combing though the forest, searching for clues, but right now, investigators cannot confirm the gender of the body, because it is so severely decomposed.
Police have also not confirmed if the body is related to the disappearance of 32-year-old Kathleen “Katie” Barham, who was last seen May 27 around 10:30 p.m.
Det. Holley did say the Barham family was notified of the death investigation, due to the proximity of where the body was found. The location is about a half-mile from Barham’s apartment in the Preston Trails complex. That’s where Barham’s fiancé said he last saw her, as she went to the communal laundry room to wash clothes.
“I’m hoping for the best, but in my heart, I’m feeling the worst,” said Barham’s fiancé, Rich Fegan. “It’s crushing. All your hopes go right out.”
Fegan got engaged to the mother of his two small children three months ago.
“I’m realistic enough to know that this is 300 yards away from my door, and that they found a body,” Fegan said.
The body was discovered in a wooded area one apartment complex over from Barham’s. It was nestled along a path 65 feet from the road.
“Impatience,” family friend Robert Poisal said. “You want to know one way or another. We would be ecstatic, even if she were still missing. We would be ecstatic if that wasn’t her body.”