According to reports by the Lexington Herald-Leader, on Wednesday, July 29, 2014, the Rockcastle County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Pulaski County man for a crime most people have only seen in the movies. The man was 30-year-old Jason Dewayne Gambrel of Science Hill, Ky. He was arrested on accusations of robbery and attempting to bury his victim alive.
When passersby in a remote area of Rockcastle County, Ky. heard suspicious groaning sounds, they decided to investigate the noises further. What they discovered was a badly beaten 23-year-old man named Derek Kissee. Kissee had been buried under a pile of rocks and left for dead in an old tunnel of a remote, abandoned rock quarry in Rockcastle County. The rock quarry, long out of operation, is located several miles from the main highway, in the southeastern part of the county, according to Rockcastle County Sheriff Mike Peters. Law enforcement officials believe that the attack also occurred at the rock quarry, rather than Kissee being attacked elsewhere and brought to the quarry for burial.
Lucky for Derek Kissee, locals frequent the rock quarry to practice target shooting. The two men who found Derek, who was unconscious and clinging to life, had gone to the quarry to collect spent shell casings to sell as scrap metal, according to Sheriff Peters. They never imagined they would end up saving a young man’s life.
Peters speculated that Kissee was most likely unconscious after the attack, and his assailant, believing him to be dead, covered Kissee’s body with rocks and fled the scene. Kissee was promptly transported to the University of Kentucky Hospital for treatment. Peters stated that Kissee is currently recovering from his injuries.
According to the Herald-Leader, Kissee’s alleged attacker, Jason Dewayne Gambrel, is “being held in the Rockcastle County jail on charges of attempted murder and first-degree robbery”. Peters revealed that Gambrel and Kissee, who is also a resident of Pulaski County, were co-workers at some point in the past. However, no motive, nor any explanation for why the men were in Rockcastle County rock quarry at the time of the attack, has yet been identified by law enforcement.
As the investigation continues, these two small, rural Ky. counties are in disbelief, since this is not the only recent crime of this type. In his statement to the Herald-Leader, Sheriff Mike Peters summed up the feelings of many area residents, commenting, “The sad fact is that this is the second case kind of like this we’ve had in the last two years… We’re a small county, and we normally don’t have things like this happen.” Meanwhile, as Kissee’s physical injuries slowly heal, Gambrel is awaiting trial for his crimes in the Rockcastle County jail.