Middle Tennessee Mysteries is dedicated to shining a light on cold cases, unsolved murders and missing people in Tennessee.

Coffee County: Leo Paul Massicotte III

Jul 08, 2019 at 01:00 pm by Michelle Willard

Leo Paul Massicotte III

Leo Paul Massicotte III was 33 years old when he disappeared on July 3, 2011, from Manchester, Tennessee. His girlfriend said she dropped him off in the woods near Arnold Air Force Base to walk to a friend's home.

His remains were found more than three years later.

An autopsy found no cause of death could be determined, and the Manchester Police investigators ruled his death accidental and closed the case.

But is there more to the story? 

Investigators say there isn't. Paul's family says there is.

Anyone with information about Paul's disappearance and subsequent death is asked to call the Manchester Police Department at 931-728-2099.

The Victim

Leo Paul George Massicotte III, 33, (pictured above) was a construction worker in Coffee County.

Originally from Florida, he didn't have in family in the area. He was reported as having as many children as seven and at least four.

Standing 6'1" and weighing about 200 pounds, he was last seen wearing a brown T-shirt, blue jean shorts and Timberland boots.

The Missing Person

Paul had vanished into the forest around 4:30 p.m. July 3, 2011, outside of Manchester, Tennessee, after his girlfriend said she dropped him off to walk to a friend's house.

His girlfriend of 10 years, Jessica Poe told police she dropped Paul off on Skinner Flat Road in Manchester, The spot was near Arnold Engineering Development Center and the Lexington subdivision.

Poe said he planned to walk a few miles through the heavily wooded 48,000-acre AEDC to a friend's house.

"No one that I know of has talked to him since July the third. He got out of the car and said he was going to walk to a buddy’s house and that’s the last time anybody saw him," Manchester PD Detective Ray Stewart said.

According to one report of his disappearance, Paul told Poe he was worried the police were looking for him because he owed back child support.

The report, filed by Manchester PD investigator Ray Stewart, claimed Paul and Poe were fighting because he had lied to her about going to work the day before and had spent the day fishing with friends. On the day of his disappearance, he picked up some tools from his home and went shopping with Poe. It was while they were shopping that he asked for her to drop him off at his fishing buddy's house.

Paul's mother Elizabeth "Vickie" Drawdy reported him missing two days later on July 5, 2011.

In the days that followed, a multi-agency law enforcement team, including officials with AEDC, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Manchester Police and Coffee County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a wide-ranging search for Paul.

Investigators took DNA samples from Paul's closest relatives to develop a DNA profile.

Occasional searches continued over the years, including one of 50 officers in April 2010, until a pair of squirrel hunters made a grim discovery.

The Discovery

On Nov. 10, 2014, a dog belonging to a pair of squirrel hunters found a human skull, which led to the discovery of a partial skeleton. Manchester Police officials confirmed a few days later that human remains found the week previous were Paul.

Manchester police investigator Ray Stewart said the remains were discovered in an area that had previously been searched. The remains were less than a mile north from where Poe said she dropped him off.

Middle Tennessee State University's Forensic Institute for Research and Education was called in to assist with the recovery and investigation. DNA from the remains were sent to the University of Texas, where they were positively matched to the samples taken from Paul's family.

The Theories

Manchester Police sent the remains to the Tennessee Office of the Medical Examiner in Nashville for a forensic autopsy.

The autopsy report prepared by Miguel A. Laboy in Nashville found that a cause of death could not be determined but no blunt force trauma was detected.

The autopsy report also recorded that no clothing or shoes were found with the body.

With these results, police ruled Paul's death an accident and closed the case.

But his family believes there must have been foul play involved.

"We miss him so much," his mother Elizabeth "Vickie" Drawdy said in a Facebook post. "It's not right for the ones that killed him have not been charged."

In a statement from Tennessee Missing and Unsolved that could not be verified, one witness claimed to have seen a bloodied Paul in the home of Richard Anthony, Poe's step-father. The witness said Anthony beat Paul with a bat and dissolved his body in acid.

However, the medical examiners report disputes this version of events. And investigators still contend Paul's death was an accident in the forest.