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CHARLESTON, W.VA. — An ex-Army paratrooper with a history of mental issues who disappeared while serving home confinement has been found dead, authorities said.
Boone County Chief Deputy Chad Barker said Zarcus Gore, 27, of Danville, was dressed in camouflage gear with his face covered in paint when his body was found on mining property near Lick Creek.
Barker told The Charleston Daily Mail that a large amount of painkillers was found with the body, which was sent to the state medical examiner to determine a cause of death. Batteries, food and a handgun also were found.
Gore was charged in March with malicious wounding and sexual assault stemming from a January incident. He disappeared following a preliminary hearing on the charges on Thursday. He was serving home confinement as a condition of the bond he posted for the charges.
Barker said Gore took a handgun and money from his uncle’s home where he was staying and left. A turkey hunter discovered his body about two and a half miles from the home on Saturday.
Deputies had searched for Gore over the weekend.
“With his training he was definitely a concern to us,” Barker said. “We knew he was a dangerous individual.
“He stole that firearm for a reason. We didn’t know if he was intent on harming himself, or law enforcement or the victim in that assault.”
The Columbus Dispatch interviewed Gore in 2008 for a story about veterans dealing with wartime experiences. The Iraq War veteran, who served as a paratrooper for a year in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, was seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder at a Veterans Administration hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio.
“I’m trying to get to where I can cope with society,” Gore told the Dispatch. “I’m having a lot of problems dealing with day-to-day life. I didn’t get any physical injuries, but I got a lot of mental ones.”
Judging by the supplies found with Gore’s body, Barker said he “looked like he was intent on staying in the woods for a while.”
Gore had fled the state when he learned of the charges in March. He was arrested in Chicago on March 22 and extradited to West Virginia.
A Danville man claims Gore and another man attacked him on Jan. 23, hitting and kicking him before taking him to Gore’s apartment where he was sexually assaulted, according to a complaint filed in Boone County Circuit Court.
Barker said Gore also was involved in a drive-by shooting in the late 2000s.
An investigation into his death is ongoing.