KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A 25-year-old Knoxville man is facing charges including first-degree murder after investigators said a body was found in the back of a van he was driving.

Knoxville Police responded to the 1000 block of Leon Drive on March 31 to investigate the disappearance of 27-year-old Justin Goins. Witnesses told investigators that the victim’s car was abandoned behind a house near a van driven by the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Darius Smith.

knoxville man murder charge body in van
Darius Smith, 25. Photo: Knoxville Police Department

Smith reportedly fled the scene in the van after being approached by witnesses. When investigators arrived on scene, the victim’s car was gone. However, it was found a short time later abandoned on French Road.

The victim’s car had been thoroughly cleaned with a chemical cleaner, but a small amount of blood was found in the cupholder of the victim’s vehicle.

Officers responded to the area of Oldham Avenue and Elm Street around 3:15 p.m. on April after the suspect’s van was spotted on an LPR camera. The van fled north on Elm Street before crashing into a tree at the intersection of Elm and Virginia Avenue when officers attempted to pull it over.

Smith was taken into custody after running from the scene into a home in the 700 block of W. Emerald Avenue.

The body of Goins was found shot multiple times in the van Smith was driving. He has been charged with first-degree murder, evading arrest, reckless driving, simple possession of marijuana and several other traffic infractions.

Smith is currently being held in the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on a $100,000 bond.