CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A former Army paratrooper who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was wanted by authorities was found dead in the Boone County wilderness with a camouflage-painted face, a stolen handgun and survival gear.
Authorities believe Zarcus Gore, 27, might have intentionally overdosed on prescription drugs. A large cache of painkillers also was found with the body.
Gore was on home confinement as a condition of the bond he posted for malicious wounding and sexual assault charges. He was staying at his uncle's house on Horse Branch Road, about two and a half miles from where his body was found.
A turkey hunter discovered the body Saturday morning on a little road in the woods near Lick Creek, said Chad Barker, Boone County chief deputy. Hobet Mining owns the property but there are no active mines there.
The Columbus Dispatch interviewed Gore in 2008 for a story about veterans dealing with wartime experiences. Then a 22-year-old Iraq War veteran, he was seeking help for PTSD at a Veterans Administration hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio.
He served a year in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division -- paratroopers based out of Fort Bragg, N.C. -- and was deployed to Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"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."
Among the items found with the body were batteries, food and a .32-caliber handgun. He was dressed in camouflage and his face was covered in camo face paint.
"It looked like he was intent on staying in the woods for a while," Barker said.
The state Medical Examiner's office will perform an autopsy. Preliminary findings point to overdose as the cause of death, and Barker said it's possible Gore committed suicide.
Gore was charged in March with malicious wounding and sexual assault stemming from an incident in January. A Danville man told Madison police he was walking with Gore and another man identified as Dwayne Carter at 11:30 p.m. Jan. 23 near the Boone Lumber Co. when they attacked him.