The Rutherford County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the man who was found dead last week inside an abandoned Southeast Broad Street home was a victim of homicide.
Officials with the Murfreesboro Police Department announced Tuesday authorities have opened a homicide investigation into the death of Ellis W. Smith, whose identity was initially unknown.
The 45-year-old man was found dead just after 3 p.m. on Friday in a basement at 907 S.E. Broad St. in Murfreesboro.
“After an autopsy, the medical examiner determined the manner of death was a homicide,” said Kyle Evans, public information officer for the Police Department. “The victim was identified by family members, and the identification was confirmed with the fingerprints.”
According to a Police Department incident report, officers responded to a report of a deceased man lying in the basement of the vacant residence.
Officer Jason McGee reported a boy discovered Smith when “he cut through the backyard” behind the house as he walking home.
“The (boy) stated he saw the man’s feet and then ran home and told his uncle,” McGee reported, adding the boy’s uncle then went to the house, looked inside the basement, and saw Smith’s body.
The boy’s uncle told police he used his shoe to touch Smith’s shoe, at which point he “could tell that the subject was deceased.” He then called the authorities and went to the road to wait for police to arrive, McGee reported.
McGee reported when he entered the basement, he saw the “corpse of an unidentified black male laying on his back in the floor” and advised dispatch to notify detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division.
“The scene was immediately secured, and (detectives) responded for further investigation,” he reported.
Evans said information is not being released about the “cause of death at this time due to the ongoing criminal investigation.”
He said detectives are asking anyone who has had contact with Smith in recent weeks to call Sgt. Joel Davis with the Criminal Investigations Division at 615-893-2717.