By Richard Rourk
A Unicoi County family’s worst fears have come true.
Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley has confirmed that the remains discovered off of Little Mountain Road in Unicoi on Dec. 16 are those of Lucas “Luc” Vance.
Hensley informed The Erwin Record last week that Quillen College of Medicine had notified his office that they had positively identified the deceased as Vance.
“They have made a positive identification that it was Mr. Vance,” Hensley said.
Hensley, who is awaiting the results of an autopsy to release additional details about the investigation, hopes that the family can begin to heal.
“It just breaks your heart, especially this time of year,” Hensley said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Vance was 35 and had been missing since Oct. 30.
Vance’s family recently sat down with The Erwin Record and the two words that kept coming to the surface was a “big heart.”
Vance’s stepson Ben Williams, who despite mourning, took time to share with The Erwin Record just a glimpse into his father’s life.
“Even when (Vance) and my mother split up, he never treated me any different, even though I was his stepson,” Williams said. “He always made sure I had what I needed.”
The love for his son that Vance showed at home followed into the workplace.
“As far as working, he showed me everything I know. He showed me how to work hard and the value of the dollar,” Williams said. “He would always try and help everybody out; he never wanted to see anyone struggle.”
According to Williams, Vance was always making differences in people’s lives.
“I remember when the Girl Scouts set up out front (of Maple Grove Restaurant,) he insisted they come inside out of the weather and made sure they had fun in the restaurant,” Williams said. “There was one little girl who wanted to be a chef when she grew up, and he took her on a tour and told her when she gets old enough she could have a job. He was always doing little things like that.”
It was those little things that made big impacts on the lives that Vance encountered.
“He gets to live on through the community; it’s these little pieces and stories that keep his memory alive,” Williams said.
The biggest impact on Vance’s life was his family; his children were his life, according to Williams.
“His daughters were his universe; he loved them and was so proud of them,” Williams said. “They were everything he could’ve asked for. He always tried to do things with them on his off days.”
Vance’s aunt, Connie Booth acknowledged that Vance was also proud of his son.
“Luc was so proud of Ben and loved him so much,” Booth said.
When Vance wasn’t working or spending time with family he was running wide open on two wheels.
“He was fearless, and he loved riding his motorcycle,” Williams said.
Although Vance’s family is hurting, they take comfort in knowing that he lived a full life.
“He lived life to the fullest. He never let anything slow him down, nothing scared him,” Williams said.
According to Williams, the Vance family wishes to thank the community for all of the prayers and support.