The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a body found in a creek on Monday has been identified as missing Crown College student Blake Smith and his death appears accidental.
The sheriff said in a news release Tuesday an autopsy was performed at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center, where a preliminary cause of death was determined to be hypothermia/drowning.
The sheriff’s office added the autopsy showed no signs of trauma from being assaulted.
The sheriff said Monday the body was found in Georges Creek near a construction site in Louisville using a drone. The area is about half a mile from where Smith’s car was found.
The car was found crashed into a deck near a construction site in Louisville. Smith’s cell phone and other personal items were near the car. Smith’s mother said the car was running in reverse with a cinder block on the gas pedal, but the sheriff’s office could not confirm those details.
Smith’s parents said on Monday they believed foul play was involved in his death.
Friends describe Smith as kind, friendly, funny, encouraging and a young man who devoted his life to the Lord.
“He would always encourage us in the Lord. He was always the type of guy to be on top of us about serving Jesus Christ,” said friend Daniel Perez.
“He’s someone that grows on you pretty quickly,” added Nicholas Munoz.
Many of Smith’s friends say they met in class or while playing basketball and they’ll miss him dearly.
“Just seeing him every day and every night he read his Bible and prayed and it really, just his actions, spoke to me tremendously,” said Eric Dalbah, another friend.
Friends say they have faith Blake is in heaven and they’ll see him again.
“Silent prayers get answered and that’s what faith can do,” added David Stover.
Crown College is a small Bible college and seminary. The president of the school posted a video to Facebook on Tuesday asking for prayers for the family and saying they were planning a memorial service in Birmingham, Alabama.
A memorial service for Smith is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.