Death of ‘beloved’ Bartow County teacher appears to be accidental

Scott Salter (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Scott Salter (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Hours after officials confirmed they found the body of a missing teacher, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said a preliminary investigation revealed the man “died from sustaining accidental injuries.”

When Cass High School language arts teacher Scott Salter didn't show up to work Monday, the sheriff's office launched a search that ultimately led them to the teacher's white Toyota Avalon at Cooper Furnace Nature Trail off Ga. 20. They initially found no signs of the 30-year-old educator Monday.

His body was found between 10 and 11 p.m., Bartow deputy coroner Brandon Duncan told Channel 2 Action News. Bartow sheriff’s investigator Jonathan White said the body was found in a “secluded rough terrain area off the trails” after a Georgia State Patrol helicopter notified ground units of a possible location of the missing man.

“We … are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a talented, beloved teacher,” Bartow County Schools Superintendent John Harper said. “We were fortunate to have Mr. Salter, who spent the entirety of his teaching career at Cass High School, sharing with our students his love of literature. Our closely-knit community is grieving and will need the support of one another to find peace during this challenging time.”

In condolences on social media, students said Cass High was quiet Tuesday. They described Salter as their favorite teacher. On Facebook, news of Salter's death was a trending topic.

Gil Salter, Scott Salter’s father, told Channel 2 his son was an experienced hiker who had gone to Cooper Furnace for years. He often went off the trail to challenge himself.

Gil Salter said the hiking trail was the first place he knew to look. The area is about 44 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Authorities tried tracking Scott Salter’s phone, but it was cut off about noon Monday.

Gil Salter was still hopeful Monday night.

“I just kept expecting him to come through the woods, expecting to see a little flash light,” he told Channel 2.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of Salter’s death.