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It was dry and reasonably warm when 39-year-old Marion County, Tenn., resident Wesley Ridge was last seen by his family on March 8.

Temps were in the 70s during the day and in the 50s at night that week. It rained the weekend after he disappeared, but not much.

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Wesley Ridge
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Marion County officials are flummoxed as to why Ridge disappeared, and leads have dried up.

Ridge, who had been living at a home near Hales Bar Marina on U.S. Highway 41 just outside of Guild, Tenn., was reported missing by his father on March 10 and no one has seen or heard from him since, according to Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett. The sheriff said Ridge had worked at Valmont Industries in Jasper.

Cellphone records show Ridge's phone was used the afternoon of March 8 but not since. Officials conducted two ground searches but nothing turned up. Burnett said there's no evidence of foul play.

A female friend told authorities he walked into his home then left in a car with another man.

That man told authorities he had given Ridge a ride to a bar in nearby Jasper, but even that can't be confirmed, Burnett said. No one at the bar remembered seeing him. The man who gave Ridge the ride is considered a "person of interest" in the investigation, but only because he was the last to see Ridge.

Sheriff's detectives got a number of tips in the days immediately after Ridge's disappearance "but nothing's panned out," Burnett said.

"And now there's no information coming in," he said. "We just want to remind the public that if they've heard anything or know anything there's still reward money out there."

Burnett said he knows the family and they're terribly upset and are waiting for some hopeful news. A $15,000 reward for information leading to Ridge's whereabouts still stands.

Wesley Ridge is the nephew of Jerry Ridge, the 72-year-old owner of Valley Pawn in Whitwell who was the victim of a homicide in May. Jerry Ridge's body was found inside his business after it was damaged by fire, and officials have ruled the case a homicide.

Burnett said officials do not believe the two incidents are connected.

Ridge is described as about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing 230 pounds with short hair and facial hair.

Anyone with any information on Ridge's whereabouts should call the Marion County Sheriff's Office at 423-942-2525.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or on Twitter @BenBenton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.benton1 or 423-757-6569.

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