RUTLEDGE (WATE) – Grainger County residents have been asking where their sheriff is. They say Sheriff Scott Layel hasn't been seen in weeks.
Grainger County Mayor Mark Hipsher says the last time he saw the sheriff was at the Tomato Festival in late July.
"That's all I can tell you, that I haven't seen him and don't know where he is," Hipsher said.
The issue was serious enough for District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn to look into it.
"I did have some complaints from folks in Grainger County saying he didn't come to work," Dunn explained. "We looked into that and found the law does not require an elected sheriff to stay in a particular place. As long as the job is being done, he can do it wherever he chooses."
In fact, 6 News learned, the only people a sheriff is answerable to are the voters.
The voters make their judgment in the next election.
Layel contacted 6 News late Wednesday saying he has had heart surgery.
He said he has also been dealing with other health issues.
Layel said the only person he told was his chief deputy so that work would get done at the office. Until now, he did not want the general public to know.