CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford has released a statement regarding the search and investigation into a now-deceased Roan Mountain man.
According to Lunceford, authorities received a call on July 3 about the disappearance of Thomas Hastings from his home on Laurel Highlands Road in Carter County. According to the statement, Hastings’s disappearance was initiated by family in California.
The statement says through investigative efforts, authorities learned that Hastings had been missing since July 1. Further interviews with family members revealed that Hastings suffered from dementia and had a previous history of wandering away from his home.
Search efforts for Hastings continued in the days that followed with no results on his whereabouts. The sheriff’s office attributes efforts in these searches to the Carter County Emergency Rescue Squad, the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, the Carter County Sheriff’s Office and a host of other community volunteers.
In Lunceford’s statement, he notes heavy rainfall and flooding impacted various parts of the county, including where efforts were underway to locate Hastings.
In subsequent searches on July 6-9, the office details working alongside the Hastings family.
This investigation was conducted in cooperation with the Hastings family who provided tremendous assistance in the case. This included the location of video footage in the immediate and surrounding areas, as well as further interviews with family members.Sheriff Dexter Lunceford
On July 10, the body of Hastings was found not far from his property.
The condition of the body suggests that Mr. Hastings was deceased for some time, and was either partially or totally submerged for the duration of the search.Sheriff Dexter Lunceford
The Carter County Sheriff’s Office and Alzheimer’s Tennessee are now urging caregivers of those living with cognitive impairments to invest in resources that can prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else.
An investigation into the death of Hastings is ongoing, and the results of his autopsy are still pending at this time.