No foul play in Junior Jackson's death

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 08:51 AM

A man whose body was found sitting eerily on a stump in a brush fire Monday died of natural causes, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Junior Jackson, 65, of Cleo Drive had gone with his brother-in-law, David Lowman, 60, to work on three acres they own off Dishman Place near Granite Falls. The two went to different areas of the property, and after not being able to reach Jackson by cellphone, about 1 p.m. Lowman went to see whether anything was wrong. Reaching the field where Jackson was, he saw part of it was on fire, and saw within it Jackson’s body sitting on a stump.

An autopsy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center determined that Jackson died from a “medical issue” before the fire started, sheriff’s Capt. B.J. Fore said. Details of what Jackson’s medical condition was were not available Thursday.

Jackson's body had been described as badly burned by the time it was found. The fire scorched more than an acre.

The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined, said Rusty Dellinger, county ranger for the N.C. Forest Service, though investigators have a couple of theories.

Lentz Lyda of Dishman Place, a friend of Lowman and Jackson, said of Jackson on Monday, “He always kept a short cigar in his mouth,” investigators have not determined whether the fire was related to Jackson’s smoking.