Girl, 13, drowns at Blount County dam

Local News

WALLAND, Tenn. (WATE) – A 13-year-old girl died Thursday morning after accidentally drowning at Peery’s Mill dam in Walland, said the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say Alexis Shirley, 13, died early Thursday morning. 

Firefighters and deputies were called to the dam around 4 p.m. Wednesday for a report of an injured person. Witnesses directed them to a sandbar below the dam where people were performing CPR on the girl. 

She was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital and later East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

An autopsy showed she died of accidental drowning, but the investigation is ongoing.

Sheriff James Berrong is urging people to follow the rules at Peery’s Mill and to watch children closely while visiting and swimming there. A Maryville man drowned at the dam in May 2018. Just over two months later, first repsonders rescued a 20-year-old man after he became trapped by rushing water. A member of the rescue team was injured in the process.

An email to parents says Alexis was a seventh grader at Hardin Valley Middle School. Counselors will be available for students Friday from noon to 2.

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