Police find missing man in freezer, family says it brings closure

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MT. STERLING, Ky. (WTVQ) – One person is charged with the murder of a Mt. Sterling man and four others are accused of helping dispose of his body. His family said they knew something was wrong when they didn’t hear from him for a few days.

According to the Mt. Sterling Advocate, Lenville Josh Smith was killed at his home on September 4. The newspaper says Smith was hit in the head with a hatchet then his body was put in a deep freezer and removed from the home. Police said the freezer was dumped off the side of a hill in Menifee County.

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The family said they reported Smith missing on September 6.

Investigators said 41-year-old Richard McGaha killed Smith. According to the newspaper, McGaha told another person he killed someone with a hatchet and he would be leaving town.

Tim Meadows is Smith’s brother-in-law, he said at least the family has closure after not knowing where he went.



“It’s gruesome, just hard to comprehend someone capable of doing that to someone who was so caring,” Meadows said. “It’s heart breaking, the family is happy to have the closure and not wonder anymore, but still it’s very heartbreaking.”

Four others, 46-year-old Phillip James Tuttle, 46-year-old Sonya Lynn Palmer, 38-year-old Mattie Renea Mahon, and 39-year-old Stanley Issac Sargent, are charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.