Volunteers needed to search for missing Blount builder

Volunteers are being requested as rescue and emergency services personnel search for a Happy Valley homebuilder missing since Saturday.

Emergency services personnel from Blount County and the National Park converged on property in Happy Valley Monday evening to search for a missing homebuilder.

“We are searching for Mike Hearon," said Sheriff James Berrong. "We located his ATV around 12:30 this afternoon about two miles from his residence.”

Chief Deputy Ron Dunn said there’s been a generous outpouring of support from the Home Builders Association and several realtors associations concerned for Hearon’s safety.

Dunn said volunteers are needed for a grid search expected to begin Wednesday morning. “We are going to take all the help we can get,” he said.\

Volunteers are asked to gather at Look Rock Fire Tower parking lot on Foothills Parkway at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The chief said emergency services personnel will begin a grid search Wednesday morning on property owned by Hearon. “The weather is not helping, and it’s not expected to be any better tomorrow,” he said of rain that fell on searchers today.

So many people turned out to help Tuesday that there wasn’t much for everyone to do. Those same volunteers and more will be needed during the grid search Wednesday, however.

The chief said the terrain is rough and mountainous. “We’ll try to locate anything to tie us back to him,” Dunn said.

“The last time anyone saw him was Saturday around noon,” Blount County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Marian O’Briant said.

Family reported Hearon missing Monday evening and personnel with Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park and members Blount Special Operations Response Team converged on Hearon’s property. The search was stopped at dark and resumed early Tuesday morning. A command post was set up at Look Rock on Foothills Parkway.

“We have three different teams searching his property, about 100 acres, plus property adjacent to his," said O'Briant.

The four-wheeler was found near Happy Valley Loop. When asked if the vehicle found in the woods was wrecked, O’Briant said, “Not to my knowledge. It was just sitting there.”

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