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Sheriff: Body believed to be Vance

Lucas Vance

By Richard Rourk

A body presumed to be that of missing Unicoi County resident Lucas “Luc” Vance was found Monday evening off of Little Mountain Road in Unicoi.

“We did find a body that was next to a backpack that had his credentials and a photo of Mr. Vance in it,” Sheriff Mike Hensley told The Erwin Record.

Hensley confirmed that the deceased was sent to Quillen College of Medicine for positive identification and an autopsy.

“We will wait on autopsy results before moving forward with the investigation,” Hensley said. “I want to thank everyone that was involved with this missing person case both directly and indirectly.”

Vance, 35, has been missing since Oct. 30.

Hensley confirmed that it was a private investigator recently hired by Vance’s family who searched the area that the body was discovered.

“(The private investigator) searched the area and found the backpack in a large thicket and the deceased was nearby,” Hensley said. “We searched close to this area, but as you can see the area is large and very dense.”

The deceased remains were found in a remote area off of Little Mountain Road, which is off of Sciota Road in the Town of Unicoi. Little Mountain Road dead-ends into walking and ATV trails. “We are talking about a big area back here,” Hensley said. “We searched nearby. There was a lot of effort and a lot of people on several occasions searched near this spot.”

According to Hensley, the private investigator, Chris Cobaugh, was drawn to search the area, but would not elaborate on why.

“To quote my administrative assistant, it was ‘god sent’,” Hensley said.

Hensley gave no further details about the investigation, pending positive identification and autopsy results. According to Hensley, if the deceased is identified as Vance, he hopes the discovery can provide closure.

“Our prayers go out to his family,” Hensley said.