Posted: Jan 29, 2013 9:49 PM
Updated: Jan 29, 2013 9:57 PM
It's believed cold weather may have been a factor in the death of a Perry County man. 44-year-old John Jeffrey Turner was found dead Tuesday morning underneath a bridge in the Glomawr community in Hazard.
A friend said he'd been living there for the past month. It's not the only tragedy Turner's family is dealing with today.
For weeks, as the cars went by, John Jeffrey Turner's home had been under a blue iron bridge.
"He'd been over there for about a month. He'd come over here and visit me. We'd sit here and watch the ball game," says friend, Sandy Crutcher, who lives within sight of the bridge. "I'd feed him, and give him a leather jacket to keep him warm. He was a good friend."
But Sandy Crutcher had no idea his friend was still there during the bitter cold snap. Kentucky State Police say around 7:30 am road crews found Turner's body next to a sleeping bag.
"It's surreal. It's just like it's happening to somebody else," says Kimberly Hayes, Turner's ex-girlfriend.
For Hayes the news is devastating. She met Turner in high school, and they dated for years. They have a nine-year-old son together. Hayes and Turner broke up months ago. Hayes says her ex-boyfriend, who worked as a carpenter and welder, was struggling with alcohol addiction and had tried to attend rehab.
"He was a good father. He had a problem, and was trying to deal with it," says Hayes.
Then, incredibly, just hours after Hayes learned Turner had died, an electrical fire broke out at her home while their son was home. The boy made it out safely, but did inhale some smoke. The home's interior is mostly charred, but Hayes is so grateful her son is OK.
"it's just like you see on the news, and you see somebody and they say they are just thankful everyone's OK. That's all you feel when something like this happens," explains Hayes.
The double tragedy overwhelming, but Hayes says she's grateful for the Red Cross and her son's school, R.W. Combs Elementary School, for giving the family hope and love.
Kentucky State Police say they do not suspect foul play, but they do not have an official cause of death yet. Turner's body is scheduled for an autopsy Wednesday morning at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort.