Loudon boy still missing

Tegan Daugherty, 15, has been missing since Oct. 10.

The whereabouts of a 15-year-old remain unknown after he disappeared from his Loudon residence more than two weeks ago.

Tegan Daugherty was last seen at 9 a.m. Oct. 10 at his home.

Authorities believe Daugherty left on a black bicycle with neon green stripes on the tires. He was wearing blue jeans and a dark blue Jurassic Park T-shirt. Daugherty wears prescription eyeglasses and had them on when he disappeared.

“According to the information that we have been able to determine, it is a runaway case,” James “Bear” Webb, Loudon police chief, said. “I mean he did run away from home at 9 o’clock on Sunday the 10th, and the parents reported that he had run away. But whenever you get to a point where we’re at now, I would consider him not just a runaway, but also missing because we don’t have any information to his whereabouts or don’t have any idea where he is. It’s hard to believe that he’s still in the local area.”

Loudon Police Department started a three-day search Oct. 12 after locating the teenager’s backpack behind Loudon High School, Webb said. LPD sought help from Blount County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a drone search.

“Also on that day, Loudon Fire Department and one of my off-duty police officers, they put their boats in the Tennessee River and went up and down the river searching the banks for his bicycle thinking that there was a possibility that somehow he might have got to the river and accidentally got in the river somehow, so we searched the banks of the river for his bicycle,” Webb said. “Anybody that gives us any kind of lead whatsoever we search theirs. We had over a dozen people actually physically walk the area where the backpack was found and searched the area and did, I wouldn’t say specifically a grid search ... but we did have over a dozen people walking and doing the best we could with the amount of people we had to search the area.

“We made no contact with Tegan Daugherty or the bicycle or any other article that might belong to him or turn up any other piece of evidence,” he added.

Since Oct. 15, LPD Detective Brian Jenkins said the department has taken a team approach, getting area agencies more involved and seeking help from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“We had all exhausted all of the resources of the city at that point and we felt like that the scope of the search probably needed to get bigger probably than the city of Loudon at that point, obviously, and the TBI being a larger agency would have more resources and a larger reach to go out and help search for him,” Webb said.

Jenkins said LPD is following every lead the department can.

“We’ve had several where some have been legitimate, some not,” Jenkins said. “A lot of children from the high school have tried to be helpful but lot of that ended up just being rumors that they had heard from one kid or the other that ended up being completely false. That’s the most frustrating part is trying to filter through what’s legitimate information and what’s just rumor. We’re still pushing out flyers and trying to blanket this end of the county. With the TBI being involved, they’ve just got a little more resources than we do.”

Anyone with information on Daugherty can call the Loudon County E-911 Center at 865-458-9081.

“We just recently tried to do another 911 reverse call and put some stuff out to the news channels just to try to generate any kind of leads just to remind folks that we’re still trying to find this young man,” Jenkins said. “Of course, we’ve not given up and trying to keep it fresh in everybody’s mind. ... We’re fairly confident that he did indeed run away, we’ve got no indication otherwise. It’s frustrating because he has no social media presence, he has no telephone, none of the normal technological things you can do to try to track somebody. We’re relying on old school eye-witness tips, which is the whole purpose of trying to get the media involved.”