Crime suspect’s body found just inside National Park

The body of Crime Suspect Found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rangers were informed that a Pigeon Forge Police Department K-9 unit had discovered a body, later identified as being that of Mark Christian, 45, of Lebanon, TN, just inside the National Park adjacent to city limits of Gatlinburg. Pigeon Forge PD was assisting the Gatlinburg Police Department in their on-going search for Christian who was the subject of a Be On the Lookout bulletin issued by the Gatlinburg Police Department at approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning.

The Park boundary in that location is the north bank of Dudley Creek, which runs along the south side of U.S. 321. Christian’s body was located about 20 feet inside the Park on the south bank of the Creek, at the base of a very steep slope, which investigators believed he may have attempted to climb.

Park officials say that there was no weapon found at the scene to indicate suicide and no immediate indication of foul play.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Chief Ranger, Clayton Jordan, said, “The National Park Service is investigating Christian’s death in conjunction with Gatlinburg Police and the Sevier County Medical Examiner’s Office. We expect to have an autopsy performed to determine the cause of death.”

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