Body found in Little River identified
By Wes Wade | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Authorities said a man found dead in the Little River Thursday evening has been identified as 29-year-old Lance Michael Larson, of O’Fallon, Mo.
An autopsy was performed on Larson Friday morning at University of Tennessee Medical Center, but the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of Larson’s death is still under investigation.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Sheriff’s Office in the case at the district attorney general’s request, according to a TBI news release.
Authorities are currently searching for Larson’s vehicle, a tan 2003 four-door Kia Spectra bearing Missouri tags CF1S9R.
The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is requesting that anyone who has seen or spoken to Larson in the last few weeks to come forward. He is described as a white male, 6 feet 2 inches tall with brown eyes, neck-length brown hair and a light beard.
Larson’s body was found in the Little River about a half-mile downstream from the Roddy Branch boat access area off Old Knoxville Highway in Rockford. Authorities said Larson may have been on foot or driving the tan Kia Spectra.
In February, Larson traveled to Lynchburg, Va., from his home in O’Fallon, Mo. The last time he was known to have spoken with his family in Missouri was around Feb. 20, when he told his parents he was headed back to Missouri, a Sheriff’s Office release said. Police say they don’t know why Larson was in the Rockford area.
Authorities were called to the Roddy Branch boat access area at around 7:40 p.m. Thursday after two boaters found Larson’s body in the Little River. Members of the Sheriff’s Office and Blount County Fire Department recovered Larson’s body from the river at around 11 p.m.
According to Larson’s Facebook page, he was a 2009 graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where he studied exercise physiology and kinesiology. He was also currently enrolled at Franklin Pierce University in Ringe, N.H., where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in physical therapy, the page states. He was listed in the class of 2014 on his page. Larson had Sunapee, N.H., listed as his current residence.
Anyone who has information about Larson, or has seen or spoken to him since Feb. 19, is asked to call the Blount County Communications Center at 983-3620. The Communications Center is operated 24 hours a day, so individuals can call at any time.
The public can also call the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at 273-5001, or the anonymous Crime Hotline at 273-5200. Individuals can also leave a tip through the Text-a-Tip link on the Sheriff’s Office website at http://www.bcso.com .