Cold case: Woman strangled and dumped in Tellico Lake 26 years ago

Cold case: Woman strangled and dumped in Tellico Lake 26 years ago

Cathy Hasker (source: Loudon County Sheriff's Office) Cathy Hasker (source: Loudon County Sheriff's Office)
William Hewlett (source: Loudon County Sheriff's Office) William Hewlett (source: Loudon County Sheriff's Office)

6 News Reporter 

LENOIR CITY (WATE) - Twenty-six years ago, two fishermen found a young woman's body strangled and floating in Tellico Lake in Loudon County.

Investigators say Cathy Hasker, 21, had just moved to Knoxville from North Carolina to search for a job.

On August 21, 1984, Hasker wrote a letter to her grandmother. In it, she described her life in a new city. She talked about the great weather, 85 degrees and no humidity.

Hasker also talked about all the places she planned to visit as an independent woman including Florida, Atlanta and New Orleans.

She asked her grandmother to wish her luck on her job search in Knoxville.

Twenty-six years later, the letter and the case still haunts Lt. Patrick Upton with the Loudon County Sheriff's Office.

"You can just tell from the letter she's really happy," said Lt. Upton as he showed 6 News the letter a month before her murder.

Lt. Upton says Hasker was believed to have been strangled with dog chains. Her body was weighed down in the water with cinder blocks. Hasker's car was found at the scene.

Unlike today, the Tellico Lake area was very remote at that time.

Cathy was living at the Family Inn in Knoxville. That's where detectives think she was murdered. They believe the motive was robbery.

"They probably put her body in the car and had someone else drive the vehicle to the crime scene," Lt. Upton said.

At the same time Hasker's body was found, there was another high profile murder case getting attention. A young woman named Rosalind Goodman had been killed at Cades Cove in a very similar way.

Goodman's car was found at the scene, cleaned out in the same way as Hasker's car. There were lots of other similarities.

Eventually, a man named William Hewlett was convicted of Goodman's murder.

"Mr. Hewlett is an individual who through his life had become a person who would use different aliases and IDs. He was involved in some thefts," Lt. Upton said. 

Hewlett worked at a Bob Evans restaurant close to the Family Inn where Hasker was staying. He's always been the strongest suspect in the case, but no one has ever been able to prove anything.

"One of the main goals of the investigation is to put him with her in either the same motel room, restaurant, anywhere with her. That would make it a lot better," Lt.Upton said.

Hewlett is in federal prison serving a sentence for the Goodman murder. He's scheduled to be released in 2013.

If you have any information that could help with the Cathy Hasker investigation, contact the Loudon County Sheriff's Office at 865-988-2306.

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