TBI has yet to release any new information in Etowah teen's July death

TBI has yet to release any new information in Etowah teen's July death

Teen's family plans Sept. 23 rally

September 13th, 2017 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

TBI officials on Monday remained tight-lipped about the death of an 18-year-old Etowah, Tenn., woman whose body was found on July 4 in a downtown yard.

Family and friends of Kelsey N. Burnette are planning to gather on Sept. 23 to show support for the Burnette family and call for answers in the investigation into the 18-year-old's disappearance and death.

Burnette's body was found on Charles Street in downtown Etowah on Independence Day after her family reported her missing to Etowah police on July 1.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation became involved in the case on July 1 when Burnette was reported missing, but state officials have not said why and have elaborated very little on the case since late July.

On Monday, TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said agents continue to work on the case but there were no details that could be released yet.

Kelsey N. Burnette

Kelsey N. Burnette

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"We are still awaiting the results of the medical examiners as for the determination of the manner or cause of death, so we're not able to answer some of your specific questions," Niland said in an emailed response.

Meanwhile, the teen's family is growing anxious for answers.

"All I know is that ... my baby [was] my pride and joy," Burnette's mother, Sissy Burnette, said Monday in a message sent through social media. "I [want]to know what happened, a cause of death, a date and time. And justice."

Etowah is a town of about 3,500 people in eastern McMinn County. The street where Burnette's body was found is a narrow, two-block-long lane that connects two primary routes through Etowah's residential section.

Burnette was last seen walking through Etowah around 5 a.m. on July 1, according to a post on the GoFundMe page established to help the family with funeral expenses.

Kelsey Burnette worked hard, loved the outdoors, was "always smiling" and "loved doing any and everything with her baby brother," Sissy Burnette said, describing her daughter.

The Sept. 23 rally is set for 3 p.m. in front of the Little Shop of Music on Tennessee Avenue on the south end of Etowah, family members said. The store is operated by members of the teen's family.

As the investigation continues, TBI officials still want to hear from anyone who can help, Niland said.

Anyone who has information related to the death investigation can contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or via email at TipsToTBI@tn.gov.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.