By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke County police on Tuesday found a body that may be that of a man who went missing over five months ago.
County Coroner Sonny Wilson said a decomposed body that was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area off of South Rocksprings Street was possibly that of 25-year-old Frank Christopher Stefan, but positive identification was pending an examination at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Crime Lab.
According to police, “Chris” Stefan was last seen on Dec. 24 by a roommate at a boarding house located at 198 S. Rocksprings St. The roommate reported that Stefan told him that he was going for a walk, but he never returned.
Originally from Ohio, Stefan moved into the boarding house a little over a month prior to his disappearance, and he reportedly had renewed his lease for another six months just prior to disappearing.
After exhausting multiple avenues of investigation, detectives on Tuesday canvassed Stefan’s neighborhood one more time, according to Wilson, who said a neighbor told the detectives there was a path in the woods that Stefan sometimes used to get to his job at Kroger on Alps Road.
When checking along a creek near the path, the detectives found the body hanging from a tree. According to the coroner, the state of decomposition was consistent with being exposed to the elements for five months.
Wilson said he called Stefan’s mother Tuesday night to inform her that her son’s body had possibly been found.
“I told her that based on the body’s condition and the location it was found, it possibly was him, but we stll needed to make a positive identification” the coroner said.
Stefan was originally from Ohio, but left home when he was 18, according to Wilson, who said the man’s former dental office in his home state was going to send any of Stefan's records they could find so that the crime lab could use them to positively identify the body.