JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- An investigation is underway in Johnson City after police say 20-year-old Brionah Tester was killed just after midnight on Friday.
Authorities were called to 207 McCall Circle and determined that the manner of death was a homicide.
“We’ve got names that have been mentioned, so it’s something that we’re following up on at this point,” said Lt. Don Shepard with the Johnson City Police Department (JCPD). “Hopefully at the end of the day or maybe early tomorrow, we’ll have a little bit more of an idea of what exactly took place.”
The JCPD would not reveal circumstances surrounding Tester’s death, including how she was killed or a possible motive behind the murder. Shepard said she did not live at the location they were called to and is believed to have been experiencing homelessness.
“Investigators have worked the whole weekend in conjunction with assistance from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Elizabethton Police Department and Carter County Sheriff’s Department,” Shepard said. “We’ve been to a lot of areas and talked to a lot of people.”
Richard Hamilton and his family only live a few hundred yards from the unit where it happened. He says he didn’t hear much that night.
“I heard some yelling and I came out, but there were two people standing out here. I didn’t really think anything of it because they kind of saw me and darted,” said Hamilton. “[Sunday,] there were two detectives, I think they were detectives… and they were talking to somebody over there and then they left. That’s all I’ve seen and I didn’t see any tape or anything there. I had no idea.”
He says most everyone who lives there knows each other, but he wasn’t familiar with Tester or the person who lives in that unit.
“I know everybody’s car, and there were a couple that were not normal so I just thought somebody maybe moved in,” said Hamilton. “It’s pretty quiet. We don’t have too much trouble here, and when there is trouble, usually the landlord gets them out quick.”
Hamilton wants to know more.
“There’s a lot of kids that live here. There are kids all along here and if somebody’s murdered, they should know about it,” said Hamilton. “We should be on high alert because who knows what happened.”
Like neighbors, police also want more information, emphasizing that tips can be sent in anonymously.
“We just ask that whoever her friends are, if they really care about her, reach out to the Johnson City Police Department,” said Shepard. “Let us know what’s happening, what’s said so we can discern what is real and what is untrue.”
What happened to Tester started an active and ongoing investigation. Authorities do believe the crime was isolated and there isn’t a danger to the public.
News Channel 11 reached out to several of Tester’s friends and family members who were either not available or not interested in speaking to media.
Anybody who has information regarding the incident should contact the JCPD’s Criminal Investigations Division at (423) 434-6166, or to submit information anonymously you may call Crime Stoppers at 434-6158. Alternatively, you may text 423JCPD and your tip to 847411 (TIP411) to send a confidential tip or submit your tip to www.citizenobserver.com.