Hiker found dead in trail shelter and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Hiker found dead in trail shelter and other news from areas around Chattanooga

January 18th, 2013 by Staff Reports and Associated Press in Local Regional News

Hiker found dead in trail shelter

GATLINBURG, Tenn. - A hiker has been found dead in a shelter on the Appalachian Trail.

Rangers found a man, about 50 years old, at the Tricorner Knob Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park early Wednesday afternoon. The rangers were checking after a hiker was reported overdue at Davenport Gap in North Carolina.

A spokeswoman for the park said the name of the hiker was being withheld until his identification was confirmed and family notified.

The Swain County, N.C., Medical Examiner's Office is assisting in the investigation. There is no indication of foul play.

A hiker left Newfound Gap on Saturday morning, intending to walk the 30 miles to Davenport Gap. A friend notified the park when he didn't show up.

Weather delays look at landslide

Winter weather conditions are delaying assessment of a major landslide that took out a section of a highway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

After up to 8 inches of rain, a 200-foot-long stretch of U.S. 441 slid down a slope Wednesday morning on the North Carolina side of the 500,000-acre park.

The National Park Service said the initial assessment shows about 90,000 cubic yards of soil slid about the length of a football field and the dirt is piled 45-50 feet deep.

There were no injuries in the landslide.

As park officials watched Wednesday, debris continued to fall.

Woman charged in grant thefts

NASHVILLE - Federal prosecutors have charged a woman with taking money from Veterans Affairs grants that she said was to be used for housing for homeless veterans.

Birdie Anderson, who operated Next Stage Inc., was given an $80,600 grant from the federal government in 2007 to operate a home for homeless veterans where services would be provided, such as job training and referrals and mental health and substance abuse treatments. She also received additional VA grants in excess of $280,000 for the purchase of a car and property that were to be used for veterans.

According to the felony information filed in federal court Monday, Anderson kept some of the grant money for her own use.

Probation officer charged in theft

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. - A state probation and parole officer has been arrested and charged with stealing probationers' money.

A statement from the Tennessee Department of Correction said Officer Joshua Keith DeBord was charged with theft over $500 and was booked into the Sevier County Jail.

DeBord is accused of misusing money for fines and court fees paid by offenders he was supervising.