published Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Missing East Tennessee commissioner found dead

WALLAND, Tenn. — A Blount County commissioner who had been reported missing after a neighbor spotted his disabled vehicle on a road Tuesday has been found dead.

Media reported that Blount County Sherriff's deputies discovered the body of 69-year-old Gordon Wright Sr. in a ravine Wednesday morning on his property.

"We found him in the woods about a quarter-mile from where his Jeep hit an embankment," said Blount County Sheriff James Berrong. "Obviously, it's a death investigation. We will go through our process as we would in any other investigation."

Investigators say Wright was last seen Monday afternoon driving from his home in a Jeep to spend the night at his cabin. Wright's neighbor called for help when he discovered the Jeep sitting in the middle of the road with no sign of the commissioner.

Criminal investigators are currently trying to determine what happened to him. Police say no foul play is suspected.

Walland Center Market manager Mark Reynolds told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he had known Wright for more than a decade.

He was "a good friend and a good customer at the store," Reynolds said.

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