New details emerge in search for missing Monroe County teen


MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – New details have emerged in the search for a missing East Tennessee teen last seen at her home over two weeks ago.

With local experts coming in from all over the country, plus four states now involved in the search for 14-year-old Masdisonville teen, has put the family in the spotlight as they hope their daughter, sister, “farm girl” – is brought back home safe. 

She was last seen at her Madisonville residence on January 13, 2019.

Investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said her phones were last pinged just over the state line in Corbin, Ky. the following day.

We now know she was last seen heading to bed around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13. 

Her parents and three other siblings are still reeling from the tragedy of Savannah’s mysterious disappearance while combatting negative speculation now that her story has been seen nationwide.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Gabriella Pagán visited the distraught family at their farmhouse in Madisonville on Wednesday, Jan. 30. 

While there, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office officials were actively investigating the girl’s bedroom, taking her hairbrush for DNA analysis and searching the family’s 20-plus acres on foot for any kind of trace.

Their main focus was her bedroom. On her wall, a handwritten chore-list for her working the family’s farm, which has horses, pigs, ducks and dogs. Savannah took care of the animals she loved. Her laptop has since been returned to its place in her bedroom following an analysis by investigators. Her calendar had plans for the following weekend, before her disappearance that Sunday night. 

The Pruitt’s driveway alone was nearly a mile up the mountain. Cell service was near-nonexistent and the house itself is situated on an isolated mountain road. 

The parents say they have been overwhelmed with the response – and criticism – received since their daughter vanished without a trace earlier this month. 

“I’ve seen a lot of attacks like ‘how do you not know where your daughter is sleeping,’ ‘how do you not know if something went wrong’ – you go to bed do you think everything is fine, you wake up and it’s all changed and at times it is more than you can bear,” says her father. 

Her mother mentioned in Friday’s news conference that she “‘had’ her sunshine taken away”…. using the past tense of the word, but not meaning to indicate anything other than her grief. 

“If I knew where she was I would go find — I would go get her, I want her back, I’m not saying anything in past tense,” the mother said Wednesday. “I’ve never done this before. I’m just as simple as anybody else, I mean I am just a typical nobody, just like everybody else.”

A mother’s worry – put out for all the world to see. And, according to the Pruitts, assert critical opinions.  

“But everything that they are saying, do they not understand that we are already there? Like, we have already been there – we are wondering is she OK? Does she have food? Is she clothed? Does she have a roof over her head? Is she in harm’s way? I mean, we — ask this to ourselves. But everything that they are saying, do they not understand that we are already there?”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have joined the search.

Anyone who has any information on where Savannah might be is asked to call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-Find. You can also call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at 423-442-3911. 

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