ATLANTA (AP) _ A parachute being checked for a possible link to an ex-police officer who died jumping from an airplane with 75 pounds of cocaine had been unbuckled from any load it may have carried, the man who found it said.

The parachute was found in Cherokee County on Sept. 12, the day before Andrew C. Thornton II died in Knoxville, Tenn., when his parachute failed to open, Jimmy Davis, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation supervisor said Thursday.

The airplane Thornton is believed to have used crashed in North Carolina, and duffel bags containing about 220 pounds of cocaine were found hanging from a parachute in Fannin County, northeast of Cherokee County.

Hubert Hester said he found the empty parachute on his property and turned it over to the sheriff's department.