The Gatlinburg Police Department announced it recovered the skeletal remains of two people near U.S. 321 on Saturday.
Detectives believe the bones found on a steep embankment could fill some of the gaps in a long-time murder investigation. The remains are believed to be those of Vladimir Yemelyanov and Sufiya Arslanova, two Russian nationals who lived in Gatlinburg and were reported missing in July 2002.
Authorities are still testing the remains to confirm the identities of the deceased individuals.
The nearly eight-year-old murder investigation centers around Yemelyanov, Arslanova, and a third Russian named Yuriy Solovyev. The three Russians shared an apartment in Gatlinburg and operated an employment service that provided foreign workers to seasonal employers in the tourist city.
Blood was found splattered on the walls and furniture of the motel efficiency apartment where they lived.
Solovyev was seen on a surveillance tape in a Washington D.C. shopping mall using one of his roommate's credit cards in September 2002. He was later reported as being spotted in New York City.
Authorities were never able to capture Solovyev. Despite the lack of a captured suspect and no bodies of the victims, a Sevier County jury indicted Solovyev on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of felony murder in May 2004 for the deaths of Yemelyanov and Arslanova.
The FBI listed Solovyev as one of its most wanted criminals. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also listed Solovyev as one of its top ten fugitives.
There is no current information listed on TBI's website about Solovyev. However, an archive of TBI's fugitive website from December 2005 shows Solovyev's profile with the message, "Yuriy Solovyev is in Russia with no possibility of extradition. Therefore, Solovyev is removed from TBI's Ten Most Wanted."