Authorities found the body of a male in a pond on Mon., around seven miles away from a missing college student’s car was found in Louisville, Tennessee.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Blake Ryan Smith, a Crown College student originally from Trussville, Ala., disappeared on Sun. afternoon after finishing up his work shift at a construction site just outside of Knoxville. Police found his car at the work site after Smith’s father traced his son’s cellphone to the location.
Authorities found the car with the engine still running, a cinder block on the gas pedal, and his cellphone and waller inside the vehicle. Further, police found one of his shoes, a beanie, and a chain necklace at the site.
Knox News reports that according to Blount County Sheriff James Berrong, the body, found off of East Old Topside Road, hasn’t yet been identified and the cause of death hasn’t been determined. Berrong wouldn’t comment on whether he thought foul play was involved.
“The investigation just started,” Berrong explained when asked if the death was suicidal or foul play. “That will be determined as we go.”
Police think the car was stolen,” said Smith’s aunt, Jill Basher Williams, told AL.com on Sunday afternoon. “The canine unit did not detect his scent outside of the car.”
Smith posted a photo on Instagram on Sun., taken at a lake at Admiral Farragut Park. Smith’s car wasn’t found at the lake, and the family said they’re unsure how he got there. Police are in the process of searching the lake area.
“He goes to a Christian college,” Williams said. “He’s a good kid. He goes to the jails and juvenile homes and preaches to the inmates. We don’t know of anyone that has anything against him.”
On Mon. morning, Tribune Interactive reported that volunteers are being sought to help during a police-guided search around the lake at Admiral Farragut Park.
“We need volunteers for search and rescue at Admiral Farragut Park in Knoxville now,” Williams said. “Police will be guiding the search and are also asking for any drone footage that may have been taken in the park on Saturday.”
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Blake Smith/Family Handout]