Investigation into 1991 drownings in Giles County opened

1991 footage of Richland Creek in Giles County
Posted at 10:11 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 08:50:47-04

PULASKI, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two teens and one young adult were potentially subjected to botched autopsies in 1991, when their bodies were pulled from Richland Creek in Giles County.

Steven Russell "Stevie" Bass, Patrick Fletcher, and Dennis Martindale were all found in the creek fully clothed, including shoes and jewelry.

They were reported missing by family on July 11, 1991, after their vehicle was found parked at the bridge on Prospect Elkton Highway.

Abandoned car at bridge on Prospect Elkton Highway
Abandoned vehicle of Steven Russell "Stevie" Bass, Patrick Fletcher, and Dennis Martindale, parked on the bridge at Prospect Elkton Highway. Image from 1991
Interior of abandoned vehicle in Giles County
Interior of abandoned vehicle on Prospect Elkton Highway bridge in Giles County. Image from 1991

The medical examiner at the time would go on to lose his medical license due to malpractice.

Current Giles County Medical Examiner, Dr. Joe Fite, has been asked to examine the deaths by District Attorney Brent Cooper.

"By opening this investigation, I am not saying conclusively that these deaths were homicides," said Cooper. "However, after reviewing the information available, there are enough unusual circumstances to warrant a closer look into the tragic deaths of these three young men."

Anyone with information about the incident has been asked to contact Investigator Tommy Goetz with the 22nd Judicial District Attorney's Office at 931-380-2536, ext. 109.