Reward raised to $25,000 in Gatlinburg businesswoman's homicide

Reward raised to $25,000 in Gatlinburg businesswoman's homicide

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Shannon Hercutt (source: family) Shannon Hercutt (source: family)

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a Gatlinburg businesswoman's homicide investigation is now up to $25,000.

Shannon Hercutt, 40, died in August 2009.

At first, investigators said it was due to a late night car crash when her Cadillac Escalade went over a 125-foot embankment. Later they revealed evidence showing she was killed.

"She was murdered at home," said Hercutt's sister, Penny Stephens. "She was then taken in her black Escalade to Walker Trail, behind Dollywood, and made it look like she drove off a cliff. But, she was already dead when they put her in the Escalade." 

On the third anniversary of Hercutt's death, no arrests have been made. Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said they have had tips and follow all leads that come in, but they are asking the public for help.

"Somebody knows something about this case," said Seals. "We just ask that they come forward." 

Stephens said it's tougher than ever to remain hopeful the killer will be caught. "After three years, I have no more patience with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the DA's office," she said. "The last meetings I've had with both of them have been very disappointing."  

Stephens put up $10,000 out of her own pocket, and her business, Auntie Belham's Cabin Rentals, added $5,000 in reward money.

The money is added to the already-established $10,000 reward from the governor.

"I want them to know that we are certainly working hard on this case," Seals said. "And we want this thing resolved as much as they do. I don't want no family to go without some closure, and closure would be to find the individual that did this heinous crime and bring them to justice. So we're going to continue to work on it forever, as long as I'm here."

If you have any information about this case, call the sheriff's office at 865-453-4668.

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