Remains found near Lovers Leap area

    Human remains were found near the site of where a vehicle was found Monday. The remains were sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for an autopsy. A vehicle was recovered from a nearby area on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)

    Human remains were recovered Thursday, near the site of where a vehicle left the roadway, near the Lovers Leap area of U.S. 58, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith.

    The vehicle was discovered Monday over a cliff near Lovers Leap on U.S. 58. by a Virginia of Transportation (VDOT) crew, authorities have said.

    “At this point, the body will be sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for autopsy and identification,” Smith said.

    Those findings also will play a significant role in determining if foul play exists, he said.

    Authorities confirmed the vehicle, a 2001 Toyota sedan, belonged to Phillip Daniel Lilly, 62, of Henry County.

    Lilly was reported missing to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 2 by a family member, authorities there said. He was last seen on December 29th, 2017 leaving his place of employment in Ridgeway.

    Around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators as well as search and rescue members from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, rappelled down the mountain, descending near the entrance of Fred Clifton Park, which was a different access point from that used to recover the vehicle, a release from Smith stated.

    The remains were located around 4 p.m., several hundred feet below where the vehicle was discovered on Monday, Smith said.

    Authorities have said the vehicle was approximately 200 feet down the side of the mountain when it was initially found.

    The remains were lifted from the mountain side by 7 p.m. Thursday, Smith added.

    Smith said he appreciates the following agencies that helped make the recovery possible: Patrick County Office of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Stuart Volunteer Fire Department, Meadows of Dan Volunteer Fire Department, Vesta Rescue Squad, and the Patrick County Special Operations Team, which includes volunteers from multiple volunteer fire and rescue organizations from throughout the county.

    Smith said his office is working closely with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation.

    Anyone with information about Lilly is asked to contact Patrick County Sheriff’s Investigator Brian Hubbard at (276) 692-6512 or Henry County Sheriff’s Investigator David Ayers at (276) 638-8751.