The body discovered this week on a property along Cherry Road southwest of Joplin was too decomposed for an autopsy conducted Thursday to determine the cause of death.
The autopsy performed at Frontier Forensics in Kansas City, Kansas, also failed to achieve a positive identification of the presumed homicide victim, according to the Newton County sheriff.
Consequently, the remains are being sent to a lab in Topeka, Kansas, for further forensic examination, including DNA matching and comparison of dental records, Sheriff Chris Jennings said Friday. Even though the medical examiner was unable to determine a cause of death, investigators have reason to continue treating the matter as a homicide, the sheriff said.
Investigators believe the body is male and that the victim is most likely a man who had been reported missing.
"We're still focused on the person we think it probably is," Jennings said.
He said steps are being taken to obtain what the lab in Topeka will need to make dental and DNA comparisons with the presumed victim's records and items for testing.
No charges have been filed with respect to the case.
The corpse was found Tuesday on property at 3517 Cherry Road by Newton County deputies acting on a tip that there was a body in some woods there. Officers were shot at when they went to the door of the residence at the address to let the occupants know they were executing a search warrant.
A standoff ensued with kidnapping and assault suspect Freddie Tilton, 47, who was holed up inside. Tilton eventually surrendered when Newton County and Joplin special weapons and tactics teams fired teared gas into the residence. No one was injured in the shooting and standoff. The body was located a short time later in nearby woods.
Tilton and Alvin D. Boyer, 35, of Rogers, Arkansas, have been charged in federal court with kidnapping in connection with an incident July 19 at the Booneslick Lodge in Neosho. They are accused of luring a former girlfriend of Tilton's to a room at the motel, where Tilton allegedly assaulted her.
Tilton is charged in state court with first-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action with respect to that crime.
The sheriff has declined to discuss if Tilton, Boyer or anyone connected to the address on Cherry Road are suspects in the homicide.