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New novel set in DeKalb County
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Dr. Mike Tabor, Chief Forensic Odontologist of the State of Tennessee Office of the Medical Examiner, has branched out into writing.The forensic dentist has written a murder mystery, based on actual case files, which is placed partially in DeKalb County.His novel is based upon a cold case murder that took over a decade to solve using dental identification.Even though the killers were apprehended in less than two years, it would take almost 13 years to determine exactly who the victim was.The book, published by Center Hill Publishing, follows the victim on his journey from Albuquerque to Nashville in his search for a career in country music.The motives of the killers, who reside in Smithville, and the steps they took to evade the law are explored.The book also brings an understanding of the science of forensic dentistry and the vital role it played in bringing the killers to justice.“The story hinges on the identification of the victim’s body,” Tabor said. “Even though the prosecution got a conviction in the case, the identity of the murder victim remained a mystery for several years.”Tabor, who has a home in DeKalb County, was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1967.“I decided to set the book here because I really love DeKalb County,” Tabor told the Review. “Many local landmarks are mentioned in the story.”He was raised in Emory Valley with his brother Tom, and is the son of Gay and Bill Tabor.After his graduation from Carson-Newman College, he earned his DDS degree from University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis.After serving for two years in the U.S. Army Dental Corps, he began a private dental practice in Hendersonville and Nashville which he still maintains today.In 1983, he became Chief Forensic Odontologist of the State of Tennessee Office of the Medical Examiner, an office he still holds.Since that time, Dr. Tabor has testified in murder trials in three different states, where identification or bite mark analysis has been key evidence in the criminal proceedings.He has served as president of the Tennessee Board of Dentistry, the state’s licensing board, under Governors McWherter, Bredesen, and Haslam.He is also past president of the American Board of Forensic Odontology and past section chair for the American Academy of Forensic Science.He holds the Mastership award of the Academy of General Dentistry, and in 2004, he was voted by his peers as Tennessee AGD “Dentist of the Year.”