Missing Blount County commissioner found dead

Missing Blount County commissioner found dead

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Gordon Wright Sr. (source: Blount County Commission) Gordon Wright Sr. (source: Blount County Commission)

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

WALLAND (WATE) - A Blount County commissioner who had been reported missing was found dead on his property Wednesday morning.

According to the Blount County Sheriff's Office, Gordon Wright Sr, 69, had last been seen around 3:30 p.m. Monday after leaving his home in his Jeep to spend the night at his cabin off Fence Rail Gap Road.

Deputies say they were notified by Wright's neighbor around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday that he had found Wright's Jeep disabled in the middle of the road near the cabin.

Deputies say Wright's body was found around 9:30 Wednesday morning in a ravine about a quarter mile from where his Jeep was found.

The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division is currently investigating Wright's death. Officials say so far, they have found no signs of foul play.

"It would appear from the vehicle that he had to walk down a road and get on a trail. It basically looked like he was attempting to make it to his residence," said Blount County Sheriff James Berrong.

Wright's death is a big loss for this community. He was not only a Blount County commissioner, but a lifelong resident with his roots going back for generations.

Both his parents were born in Cade's Cove, land the park service eventually took over as part of the Great Smoky Mountains.


6 News' 2009 interview with Wright on his Smokies heritage


"He was a mountain type of man. He loved the mountains. He knew all his property back there. He cherished being back there and enjoying the nature of it," said friend Richard Maples.

Maples last spoke to Wright on Monday, the day he went missing.

"I was putting on a reception and he was to be there and he didn't show up," said Maples.

Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell called Wright a friend.

"Gordon grew up on those mountains. I'd say if there was a place that he wanted to spend his final time, that would have been it. I just hate it because its a tragic situation. Gordon meant a whole lot to this community," said Mayor Mitchell.

Fellow commissioners say he will certainly be missed.

"He cared about the community. He cared about  the people here. He loved Townsend. He was a wonderful guy," said Commissioner Tonya Burchfield.

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