Investigators discover human remains in vehicle pulled from Melton Hill Lake

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Nov. 11, 2021) – Human remains have been located inside the vehicle, which is connected to a missing persons case from 2005, that was pulled from Melton Hill Lake Wednesday night.

At this time, Oak Ridge Police Department investigators and the Medical Examiner’s Office are working together to process the vehicle. The Medical Examiner’s Office is also working to identify the remains. It’s unclear how long it will take to identify them.

The vehicle belonged to Miriam Ruth Hemphill who was reported missing in Oak Ridge in July 2005. As previously stated, it is still unclear whether the remains discovered in the vehicle are Hemphill’s.

Members from the Blount Special Operations Response Team (BSORT), which includes members from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Blount County Rescue Squad, Maryville Police Department, and the Alcoa Fire Department, assisted ORPD in the recovery of the vehicle after ORPD received a tip from private divers about the vehicle Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle was pulled out of the water shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department also helped investigators with the processing and deconstruction of the vehicle Thursday morning as crews sorted through the silt and mud that had accumulated over the years it was under water.

Anyone with information that may help investigators is asked to call ORPD at (865) 425-4399. Crime tips can also be submitted online at http://oakridgetn.gov/department/ORPD/Home. Information can be given anonymously.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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