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Body in cave ID'd as missing G'town man

February 15, 2012
A body discovered inside a cave Sunday evening, Feb. 5, in the Harrison-Crawford Forest has been identified as that of Kevin Eve, a 25-year-old Georgetown caver who had been missing since Oct. 1. Crawford County Coroner Chris Brown conferred with the pathologist Tuesday, Feb. 7, that the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

"Evidence suggests that Kevin Eve's trip to that cave was a planned effort to end his own life. There were no signs of a struggle or entrapment at the scene," Indiana Conservation Officer Cpl. Terry Allen said yesterday.

Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Milner said a phone call was received Sunday at about 4 p.m. from college-aged spelunkers regarding a body inside Breathing Hole cave, which is on state property.

Officers with the Department of Natural Resources assembled a cave team and entered the cave Feb. 5 about 8 and located the body at about 10:45 p.m. After processing the scene, the group exited the cave after midnight to gather additional assistance from experienced cavers.

Conservation Officer Jim Hash said there were some very small passages in the cave that were difficult to navigate.

"The removal of (Eve) was very demanding," Hash said.

Breathing Hole cave has a 154-foot drop at the entrance, and Eve's body was located off a tributary of the main passageway about a half-mile in the cave.

Personnel started the extrication process shortly after midnight Feb. 6. By the time the body was removed from the cave at about 6 p.m., the group had spent more than 15 hours to extricate the body.

Conservation officers and several dozen volunteers had combed a wide area of the forest where Eve's car was located on the morning of Oct. 3. They conducted foot searches and, with Eve being an avid spelunker who had recently returned from a tour of duty in the Middle East, went into several caves in the area with no additional clues. Search and cadaver dogs were also brought in with no luck.

The entrance to Breathing Hole cave is about 1/2 to 3/4 mile from where Eve's car was located.

Officers with the DNR and other volunteers had searched Breathing Hole cave but were unable to find him.

"Where he was found was an area off the main passage. When we searched that cave, we were in the vicinity," DNR Officer Jim Schreck said.

The search was called off in October, then, last month, Conservation Officer Dennis Talley flew in the Indiana State Police helicopter to do an aerial search. However, no additional clues were found.

Schreck said volunteers with the National Cave Rescue Commission were very instrumental with the recovery effort.

"They definitely deserve some credit for what they were able to do for us. We are very, very thankful for all of the volunteer cavers' assistance," Schreck said.

Other assisting agencies were the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Department, the American Red Cross and the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency.

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