Campbell County Sheriff: Missing fugitive out of Illinois found dead in residential community

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LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man whom investigators say was a fugitive wanted out of Illinois was found dead in a LaFollette residential community Thursday morning following an extensive search.

According to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to the Cove Point community regarding a missing employee, who had reportedly been completing contractor work on a home in the area.

Investigators were told the man’s coworkers had limited information regarding him, stating it was his first day on the job, and were only able to identify him by his first name, Sonny.

The coworkers told CCSO deputies Sonny had wandered away from the job site. Initial reports were that he may have gone to cool off in the lake and after an extended absence, the coworkers searched the surrounding area and were unable to locate him and called 911.

Responding deputies with CCSO searched the area and the Campbell County Rescue Squad used side scan sonar to search the lake area. After an extended search, Sonny was unable to be located and the process was initiated to file a missing persons report.

An investigator with CCSO was able to make contact with the girlfriend of the missing man and gather his personal information; he was then identified as Sonny D. Southall. While completing the missing persons report, a CCSO deputy discovered Southall was entered as a fugitive, after escaping from federal custody in Illinois.

Southall had a history of drug and weapons related charges.

Investigators and a trained cadaver K-9 returned to the area on the morning of Thursday, June 4 and were still unable to locate or track the movements of Southall.

Later in the day, a resident of the Cove Point community discovered the deceased Sonny Southall in an area that investigators say had been repeatedly searched the evening prior and that very morning.

Investigators have requested an autopsy be completed.

The investigation ongoing and the cause of death is unknown at this time.

No foul play is suspected at this time but due to his history, CCSO says it is suspected drugs may have played a factor in his death.

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