KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After an escapee from an East Tennessee jail was found dead in Mexico, Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said the escapee’s family was contacted by someone believed to be a member of a drug cartel who demanded ransom in exchange for the return of his body.
Charles Kennedy, 35, had been on the run since July after he escaped from the Fentress County Jail before the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced Jan. 24 he had been found dead in Iguala, Guerrero, in Mexico, about three hours southwest of Mexico City.
Kennedy and inmate Casey Ridenour took a correctional officer’s car after escaping the jail and drove at speeds of 130 mph before stopping in Jamestown to run on foot. Ridenour was captured the next day, while Kennedy remained at large.
Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton told WATE that someone from Mexico, believed to be a member of a drug cartel, sent a video of Kennedy’s body to his family asking for money in exchange for its return.
Roane County District Attorney Russell Johnson confirmed that Kennedy’s body is in a morgue in Mexico at this time. Stockton said he was told the U.S. Marshals Service is working with the American embassy in Mexico and Mexican authorities to return Kennedy’s body to the U.S.