When Zachary Higdon’s mother and sister found him dead in his trailer four days ago, there was too much blood to tell what happened to him.
Some neighbors heard the man was shot in the face; others said he had been beaten. But the 30-year-old was killed by a single shot to the left side of his back, according to a Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s report released Friday.
The report also stated that several items were missing from Higdon’s gray-and-white doublewide in the Whispering Pines trailer park at 900 Airport Road.
Higdon is the 22nd homicide victim in Chattanooga this year. No suspects have yet been named in the case.
Chattanooga police did not release any information about Higdon’s death until Friday after the medical examiner’s report was released. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerry Weary said investigators were uncertain about how exactly Higdon had died and did not want to speak too soon.
“No two investigations are the same. Sometimes they have more questions than answers at first,” Weary said. “If we sacrificed the integrity of the investigation by releasing something too early, we can’t backtrack.”
She said at no point during the initial investigation did police believe public safety was in jeopardy because they were withholding information.
Weary said Higdon’s family came looking for him on Tuesday after they couldn’t contact him. The last time they had heard from him was Sunday evening, she said.
On Friday, Higdon’s van was still parked by the trailer, his weights and punching bag still set up in the carport.
Whispering Pines property manager Wendi Lounsbury said the neighborhood is usually quiet, and people keep to themselves.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen here,” she said.