Reward offered in case of man missing in Grundy County since last July

Photo contributed by the Grundy County Sheriff's Office / Josh Day has been missing since July 24, 2020, when he was last seen riding an ATV in a remote area south of Tracy City, Tenn. The ATV was found Sunday.
photo Photo contributed by the Grundy County Sheriff's Office / Josh Day has been missing since July 24, 2020, when he was last seen riding an ATV in a remote area south of Tracy City, Tenn. The ATV was found Sunday.

It's been almost nine months since Grundy County, Tennessee, authorities began looking for local resident Josh Day.

Day, who would now be 33, was last seen by his family July 24, 2020, but there has been no new information in the case, according to county Sheriff Clint Shrum. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting.

"The missing person investigation remains active and ongoing," TBI spokesperson Susan Niland said in an email.

"We are working this case jointly with the Grundy County Sheriff's Office," she said. "Due to the still-ongoing status of the investigation, we are not able to provide a lot of specifics."

Day is described as white, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 125 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes, according to the TBI. When he was last seen Day was wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and a white hat.

The search area generally has been focused east of Grundy Forest State Natural Area at South Cumberland State Park and Fiery Gizzard Recreation Area along the county line around the Raven Point Road area. Shrum said searches have been conducted with help from the Tennessee Highway Patrol's helicopter and search dogs from neighboring counties, but no leads turned up.

Day was last seen riding a tan Honda Recon 250 in an area near the Grundy-Marion county line, Grundy officials said in July 2020. Park rangers from a couple of nearby Tennessee state parks aided in the search and authorities in Williamson and Franklin counties sent tracking dogs to help. Trackers from Williamson County picked up a scent early on but the trail was lost, officials said.

In the weeks after Day's disappearance, the family began its own push for information, announcing a $5,000 reward for information leading to his location.

Cindy Day, Josh Day's mother, said Tuesday that the family simply wants to know where her son is, no questions asked.

"We don't care anymore who did what or why," said Cindy Day, 62. "We just want to know where his body is. We just want to recover it."

Day said she and her husband, Gary, are still haunted by the last conversation with their son.

"I was at work and I left to go to the house to check on Josh because his dad, Gary, was going camping that night," Day said.

"I pulled up in the driveway and I said, 'Son, what are you doing?' and he said, 'I'm getting ready to go four-wheeler riding.' I said, 'But son, your dad wants you to go camping with him.' And he said, 'I know, Mom. I'll go next time but I have to do this one thing. He said, 'This one thing I have to do it.' I said but your father is going to be so disappointed. Why can't you put it off till later? Why can't you go?'" Day said Tuesday. "He said, 'Mom, I would if I could but I just can't. I have to do this one thing.'

"That was the last time I saw him. It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon," Day said.

The grieving mother wants to appeal to those most likely to be in a position to help.

"There's a certain segment of the population that would know about something like this," she said. "It's those folks that are in that little bit of a dark side that would know what happened to my son. I don't know how to get a hold of them to tell them to please say something.

"I don't care who did what," she said, "I just want my son; to be able to bury him, and to have some closure here. It's always been an open-ended wound that never seems to go away."

Niland said the TBI is aware of the reward offered by the family, the agency has released case information to the public and investigators are still seeking help.

Anyone with information on Josh Day's whereabouts or disappearance is urged to call the Grundy County Sheriff's Office at 931-692-3466 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). TBI special agent Gerrit Graves is the case agent.

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