Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Michael Hearon was last seen on Saturday, August 23, 2008 around 11:00 am. He was seen leaving his Bell Branch residence in Tallassee (Happy Valley), Tennessee on his 4 wheeler by neighbors. The house is near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Abrams Creek Campground. The 100-acre home site adjoins the park.
Mike called both his sons, Matt and Andy, on Saturday morning to let them know he was leaving his condo in Maryville, TN to go to his house in Happy Valley to mow and bush hog. He went by Andy's house to pick up the mower and loaded it on his trailer. Neighbors saw Mike drive down Bell Branch Road to his home in his truck with the mower and trailer.
About 15 minutes later, he left on his 4 wheeler. He has not been heard from or seen since.
Friends who went to look at the cattle later on Sunday said that his truck remained parked at the end of the road with the trailer still attached with the mower on the trailer. He normally parked his truck at the end of the road to load and unload the trailer then moved it closer to the house.
Mike's parents who live at an adjacent property went to his house on Sunday but did not go inside or knock on the door. Monday morning they went by again, saw his truck in the same place, and went in the house. It was not locked, but he did not always lock his doors. They looked around the house and yard and did not see him. They called Matt and told him he wasn't there so Matt checked his condo in Maryville and found his car and motorcycle both parked in the garage and nothing out of place.
Mike's parents checked his house at Bell Branch. They found his keys, cell phone, money clip (with credit cards, license and money), and gun all in the truck. Matt and Andy arrived and found one of his 4 wheelers missing. After riding around Mike's property (about 75 acres), they called the police. An extensive five-day search was conducted by authorities and emergency personnel. His 4 wheeler was found on August 26th about a mile away from his house. It was not wrecked or damaged. The 4-wheeler was found in a high gear on a steep hill and the ignition switch was left on. It was not on property Hearon owned and on a road he did not frequent. There was no evidence of an ATV accident or even an animal attack, no sign of foul play, no clues whatsoever.
Emergency workers and hundreds of volunteers scoured the area around the Hearons’ Bell Branch Road home for nearly a week in late summer. Blount County Sheriff Jim Berrong at that time called the search off after employing ground searchers, all-terrain vehicles, horseback riders, tracking and cadaver dogs and even a helicopter.
No secrets have emerged since Hearon's disappearance to suggest he had any serious troubles, and his family firmly believes he would never purposely disappear. He left behind all of his important belongings, including his driver's license, passport and credit cards.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Blount County Sheriff's Department