State adds $10,000 to reward in Gatlinburg woman's homicide case

State adds $10,000 to reward in Gatlinburg woman's homicide case

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

6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday said the state has added $10,000 to the reward for information in a Gatlinburg businesswoman's homicide investigation.

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 that she was killed.

The governor's office says the reward is for information leading to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Hercutt's death.

"It is past time for the person or people responsible for this terrible crime to be brought to justice," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a press release.

The district attorney in Sevier County hopes an increased reward will allow them to do this.

"There are people with information and hopefully this will make them come forward," said Jimmy Dunn.

Along with the additional $10,000 in reward money, Gov. Haslam said the state will match any new reward offered by a third party in this case, up to a maximum of $5,000.

In August, Hercutt's sister, Penny Stephens, put up $10,000 in reward money out of her own pocket. Her business, Auntie Belham's Cabin Rentals, also added $5,000 in reward money to the fund originally approved by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Stephens says she still has hope that her sister's killer will be held responsible.

"Someone knows something, I'm hoping and praying. Money talks, so lets see how much it talks," Stephens said.

The district attorney also has hope, saying the reward will help jog people's memories.

"Maybe they know something but don't think it's important. The reward money also helps keep the case in the public's eye," he said. "Maybe $25,000 wasn't enough, but maybe $35,000 will be for someone to come forward."

District Attorney General James Dunn asks anyone with information about this case to call the Sevier County Sheriff's Office tips line at 865-453-0312 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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