Little new information about Etowah, Tenn., teen's homicide after 10 months

Little new information about Etowah, Tenn., teen's homicide after 10 months

May 4th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Ten months after 18-year-old Kelsey N. Burnette's body was found on Charles Street in Etowah, Tenn., investigators can't say any more about the teen's slaying than they did during the first days of the investigation.

"It is still very, very much an active investigation," 10th Judicial District Deputy District Attorney Shari Tayloe said Thursday. The 10th Judicial District Attorney General's office is the prosecuting agency and the Etowah Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are the investigating agencies.

Information

Anyone with any information about the case should contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation through the agency’s tip line at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Kelsey N. Burnette

Kelsey N. Burnette

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Tayloe said she couldn't comment on case details.

The only autopsy finding officials have released was that the manner of death was homicide.

"There's a lot being done but we just can't talk about it right now. It's a very active investigation," Tayloe said. She said investigators have stayed in touch with the teen's family, but no case details are being shared with anyone.

The TBI also can't discuss details about the case, spokeswoman Susan Niland said.

The teen's mother, Sissy Burnette, describes her daughter as a giving person who "would go out of her way to help anyone. She was truly an angel among us."

Sissy Burnette said Thursday that she had heard nothing new in the case but understood that authorities were continuing to investigate.

"If anyone has information, please call it in," Sissy Burnette urged members of the public. "We deserve answers. We will not stop until we have justice."

Burnette, who graduated from McMinn Central High School a year ago and worked at the local McDonald's, had been reported missing by her family on July 1, 2017. She was last seen around 5 a.m. on July 1, 2017, walking through Etowah. Her body was found by a passerby three days later in a yard on Charles Street in a residential area of downtown Etowah, and it was identified through preliminary autopsy results July 6, 2017.

Sissy Burnette told the Times Free Press last September that her daughter "didn't just walk off."

She added that her daughter's car was still at home with all her belongings in it, including her wallet and clothes. She said Kelsey would not ordinarily have gone out in the dark alone, referring to her last being seen walking through town before dawn three days before she was found dead.

The SIM card from Kelsey's cellphone — containing service subscriber information that usually allows the phone to make calls — was found in the toilet at her home, the teen's mother said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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