published Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Replay of sheriff's news conference on Hamilton County train deaths

  • Sheriff speaks on train deaths
    Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the deaths of Michael Hennen, 27, and Hannah Barnes, 19, who were killed by a train about 6 a.m. on Aug. 22.

A news conference at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office discussed the deaths of Michael Hennen, 27, and Hannah Barnes, 19, who were hit by a train on Aug. 22 near Sale Creek.

Also see Hamilton County: Sheriff says train deaths an accident

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Press conference on train deaths
about Harrison Keely...

Harrison Keely is an online breaking news producer for the Times Free Press. He manages social media for the paper and anchors the daily newscast. He joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press as a reporter in 2010. He previously served as managing editor of the Smoky Mountain Sentinel in western North Carolina and as a business reporter for the Washington Times in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Lee University in 2009 where he served as ...

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C said...

I think you all need to think twice before you make any comments or suggestions out of respect for the family and friends. Most of these comments are very inappropriate. None of the family members need additional ideas about what happened while they are trying to cope with this loss. Please take into account what you all are suggestion, think of it as if it were your family member or loved one and a stranger was saying these things to you. You would be disgusted and hurt.

August 31, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.
harrystatel said...

If it happened in my family I would be interested in the truth. The Barnes family would be wise to hire their own private investigators (from out-of-town).

August 31, 2011 at 12:20 p.m.
esaletnik said...

C said...

Most of the comments here are very inappropriate.

You made the first comment. How could others be inappropriate?

That said, I'm just wondering why this whole thing is being treated like it needs a Warren Commission.

August 31, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
James101 said...

I DONT believe for one second that if the Horn was working and Lights were too that people are just going to ignore it to kee on " embracing "... It sounds more like they were under the influence of something or decided to do suicide.. No reasonable person or person is going to sit or stand on a track and let a train hit them or come close too...

August 31, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
timbo said...

James101......If it walks like duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. It is a duck. I agree with you.

The reason that it is being treated like a huge deal is that he was Roy McDonald great grandson.

August 31, 2011 at 1:15 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

James 101 here you are again you disgusting IDIOT. You have no idea as usual and you are not a friend of either family. The Press Conference today only cleared up 2 things and that is (1) they were lying on the tracks and (2) they never moved once the train conductor saw them. So shove your Suicide theory up your A@@. You have no clue but love to act like you do!!!

August 31, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
James101 said...

So you would rather think your " friends " just layed there and decided to have " a moment " without being under the influence or anything then to move out of a way of a train.. I dont care how good somebodys " embrace " is , if a train is coming toward me im getting out of the way.. So it makes your friends sound like real idiots if they were stone cold sober and not suicidal to just lay there..

August 31, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.
brokentoe said...

No matter the station, status and social class, just show respect for all. Be they from the 'hood, trailerpark or members of a prominent family, all life is precious. Hopefully, in the future, the media will do better with its reporting of all its citizens. Doesn't matter if the individual is alleged to be a gang-banger or considered to be upstanding pillar of the community. Or even Osama Bin Laden(remember how everyone was eager to see dead pics of him all over the screen?), every life is precious. When we minimize the importance of one life, regardless of who the individual is, we minimize the importance of all life. My prayers to the family and all families who have tragically lost a love one. The younger the individual(s) the greater the hurt. The greater the lost is felt. PEACE AND PRAYERS

August 31, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

James 101...i didnt say they were stone cold sober or anything else. I am just stating facts which you should try and do sometime in your posts.

August 31, 2011 at 1:47 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

It could be a number of things if (1) they were laying down and never moved at all on the tracks. The Sheriff himself said it wasn't Suicide for what that is worth even though he didn't seem to know much other than what the train film shed light on. Just give it up James 101. Why are you hating on Michael so much???

August 31, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
James101 said...

The " friends " are the ones who are always out with pitch forks and going after anybody that has an opinion on this or says something about either.. Like the postee above said " If it walks like duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. It is a duck." Something doesnt still sound right about this and if i were a family member or a friend id Hope there was more too it because the Sherrif and now this account of the story doesnt make these two people very smart at all.. At the end of the day no reasonable person is going to lay on a track and not see or hear a train coming and not try to get out of the way.. The friends and family justbetter hope they were blitzed out of their mind or piss drunk because right now this story still doesnt add up.. And thats just my opinion and we are all entitled too it.. No matter how hard the " friends " or familys try to shut out the public opinions.. Sometimes the truth hurts , lol

August 31, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
talkthetalk911 said...

Hennenfriend...i am sorry for you and the family of the ones who died. i do feel that James was just throwing out suggestions of what might have happened...although there could be more circumstances on why they were there on the tracks.Just like others that have read the story I cant help but wonder what happened. i can only think of about 4 to 5 reasons why this may have happened...but again sorry for the loss.

August 31, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.
James101 said...

I dont hate anybody but i just think its funny when people have opinions on what happend or bring up things that certain supporters of theirs always want those people drowned out.. This is a public forum and everybody is entitled to their beliefs.. If you want to mourn or just make this a " happy go lucky " thing then create a facebook page remembering the two or something.. This isnt the obituary page and im not trying to be harsh when saying that but this is a " Forum ". And talkthetalk , what are the reasons??

August 31, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

Talk the Talk don't respond to James101 the Moron. He has already made his ruling which is absolutely false. You are right though it could only be a couple of things based on the evidence.

August 31, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.
James101 said...

Well lets hear the multiple things it could be... And i didnt already make my ruiling yet , i just think its going to come down to two things - 1. on either drugs or drinked alot to where it made them not get out of the way or - 2. it was the " S " word , its intresting though that the Sherrif says for sure it wasnt that but how do you know for a fact.. I mean its kind of strange for ppl to just lay there and not give a care in the world.. So thats why i think the " S " card might still be in play.. And you wouldnt know for sure if it was that unless they left a note , or looked back at train and then just stayed there or walked right towards it.. Also in MY OPINION i think the reason we didnt get ALL the facts today is because either they think theres something in those Test Results that are pending or somebody or somebody's have influence over this situation.. Once again its just my opinion but you gotta look at the facts and the people involved ad maybe jusyt maybe theres some truth somewhere in the stuff ive said..

August 31, 2011 at 2:39 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

Here you go: 1. Too much under the influence of something to make a rational decision or incoherent altogether (or) 2. Homicide

Only 2 options....

August 31, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
James101 said...

Well im willng to put my Life savings on the line that it wasnt Murder..

August 31, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
jayhay182 said...

Hey James!? How's that dead horse you've been beating?

August 31, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
James101 said...

He is still kicking and has alot more fight to Live then some other people i know...

August 31, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
James101 said...

Thank you tnvolssuckbad for saying that because even though a certain amount of ppl ( the pitch fork friends ) dont believe that i think that an overwhelming % of the community does... Like you said its just common sense not to lay there while a train is coming.. And the murder theory is a theory being used because people dont want to think that these two could have actually done the " S ' word.. Again , if it was murder it seems like the families would be on news and paper asking for any details or anybody that saw anything.. And actually with the families not saying much ( yes i know part of it is still in shock an mourn ) it makes people think they really know what happend to their loved ones and they dont need the public help ( say in a murder case or one that there might be a possibility )

August 31, 2011 at 5:29 p.m.
wd83 said...

@tnvolssuckbad/James101:

So they went to Wal-Mart to pick up swim trucks to go commit suicide?

Nice try morons.

August 31, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
ginagirl43 said...

Hang in there James101 - just speaking your mind. I've suggested that Hennenfriend's posts need to be removed. They are rude and uncalled for.

August 31, 2011 at 6:20 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Another possibility. Bodily injury of Hannah; then "embrace" (by force) on track to avoid ramifications.

Suicide by Hannah very unlikely. No movement by either Hennen or Hannah on track by train driver's testimony.

Mumbo-jumbo by Sheriff not believable. It doesn't take an FBI profiler to see "deception" on his face during press conference today.

Why would coroner rule before toxicology reports are back? Why the rush for coroner's guess?

This one's not over yet. Look for television crime-show producers to take this up.

August 31, 2011 at 6:53 p.m.
James101 said...

Thanks Gina for the kind words.. There are just some people out there who cant see or believe there are still ALOT unanswered questions still.. And i think were all smart enough to know that the police and media is going to cover it up because who was involved.. If this was some homeless person or regular guy or girl this story would already be out with all the details.. And usually when people commit suicide esp by a dramatic fashion its a quick mental break and not one they think about for a long period of time , MORON.. The girl who jumped the Bridge back before last winter , she was out partying with friends having fun and laughing. Then she goes to drop her friend off and told her " Ill see you tom night " and then she went and jumped off the bridge.. Does that sound like something somebody would act if thinking about suicide for awhile , ummmm no... And i love how this girl had a boyfriend but she was up at the Farm swimming with another dude in mid morning and ten " Embracing " him... Sounds like alot of deception and shady behavoir on the law enforcement part as well as the two indivuals..

August 31, 2011 at 7:42 p.m.
James101 said...

This case still has as many unanswered questions as that missing woman on top of Signal Mtn.. Just like most of these readers dont believe she just walked off into the sunset , we also dont believe theres not more to the story here.. What are the Familys and Friends and Law Enforcement not wanting us to hear?... I think thats a reasonable arguement to make.. If you listen to the Press Confrence it really makes your mind wander then.. What rational two people are going to be laying on a track with lights , horns and vibrations and not move from their " embrace ".. Either Crazy ( sucidal ) ones or ones under the influence of something.. One of the Postees up top said " well maybe she got trapped and he protected her " PLEASE.. This isnt a Love story.. If she was trap any reasonable person would be flaying their arms or jumping up and down for the train to stop ( not being like well here comes a train , instead of getting help or making signs of distress ill just lay on you and let this thing hit us ).. Its okay people if you dont believe my theory of the " S " but at least use your brains when coming up with scenerios...

August 31, 2011 at 7:59 p.m.
informed said...

I am just confused as to why the Sheriff contradicted everything that came out of his mouth. He also seemed exceptionally nervous & elaborated on certain points/details that are completely irrelavent to the situation. I feel sorry for the family, friends and community, as I believe the agencies & officers are the ones who have stirred up these responses by not providing answers...

August 31, 2011 at 8:03 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

Well said wd83...@ginagirl my posts are still there, you and James 101 should get hitched and leave town together. Anybody that knows these 2 knows what it wasn't now we just need the investigators to find out what it was. Hopefully, the toxicology will shed light for everyone or possibly another investigative tool we just don't know about yet. TNVOLSSUCKBAD why are you hating on Roy Exum? What's wrong with Toyota too? Other than totally irrelevant to this story....

August 31, 2011 at 8:35 p.m.
James101 said...

Cmon , friends and family of these two - Let ALL the details out of this case.. I love how Hennenfriend doesnt comment or explain why these two were hooking up when she had a boyfriend or why we would need the toxicology reports if these two didnt do drugs ( like their friends have said ) so things just dont add up and are left unanswered.. Everybody just wants to talk about what great people they were or their families are , WE ALREADY KNOW ALL THAT!! Now tell us about the missing pieces and why two ppl were on train tracks in middle of morning when they were suppose to be swimming.. I understand peope get tired of my post and theorys but some of us get tired of yalls constant post on refusing to answer questions and always coming back with " They were good people and would never do this or that" " and shame on you for saying this stuff when family is mournig ".. Well since yall were great friends of these two , the explain how she had a BF but she is hanging with somebody 9 years older then her in middle of morning swimming and " embracing " and im sure thats not the only time.. Or the reports of ppl on these sites that say they knew both and that he was into drugs and her family had a substance abuse problem.. I mean if toxicology reports need to be done then obviously " some people or family members " must think something is in their systems.. But ye when you bring up the drug theorys you get " I knew them both and they never did such things ".. So its one or the other on these facts , questions and theorys people have - It cant be both...

August 31, 2011 at 8:53 p.m.
James101 said...

If all these so called friends are out there that knew them very well , lets hear the answers to all these questions being asked out there and then maybe yall would get people to pipe down a little... I think thats a fair thing to ask for...

August 31, 2011 at 8:56 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

The friends aren't hiding anything! She had a boyfriend; she wasn't married. There is/was nothing illegal about them hanging out after work or spending a little time together. You really haven't asked any questions James 101 you have just told us all of your theories or conspiracy theories. And any intelligent person would know toxicology is needed to help shed light on a situation that is so bizarre.

August 31, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
James101 said...
  1. where did they go to school?
  2. did he ever use drugs at ALL?
  3. why did one of them raise their leg up when the train was near?
  4. why was she spending all her time with him if she had a boyfriend? i understand ppl of the opposite sex can be friends but i also know questions need to be asked when the hanging out is all the time and they liked to " embrace "
  5. why was she only wearing a belly shirt and a thong?
  6. what would friends think if they had commited suicide?
August 31, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

Answers: 1. Doesn't matter but they went to different schools 2. don't know but not around me 3. never heard that 4. never heard that either 5. they would want to see the proof because it wouldn't make any sense otherwise

August 31, 2011 at 9:48 p.m.
James101 said...

Then you really didnt know then like half of these " so called friends " say they do... Good job... LOL

August 31, 2011 at 9:53 p.m.
tomatoketchup said...

What I don't get is why this girl, who has a boyfriend, is sleeping on a train track "embraced" with another dude to begin with. Plenty of official comments were made stating that the two were not dating. Regardless of whether or not they were high/tripping/drunk, why would they be in that position to begin with if they were only friends and nothing more? I would be pissed if I heard my girlfriend was doing that with another guy. that's just something you don't do with "just a friend." For any hetero males following this forum, would you EVER be caught falling asleep in the "embraces" of one of your guy friends for any reason? I don't think so. There's a lot more to this story than they're revealing.

August 31, 2011 at 9:54 p.m.
James101 said...

Ya see , im not the only one who thinks certain things.. Way to come to your senses people..

August 31, 2011 at 10:01 p.m.
Hennenfriend said...

James101 you are truly an idiot. You asked questions and I gave you answers. Two of your questions (3 & 4) were something you heard as a rumor and no one would have the answers to those if they are indeed true except the 2 people that are gone. Your last comment was very immature. I am a friend of the family and you are not as you have claimed in prior posts until people called you out on it. So Good Job back at you moron! James keep beating that dead horse and consider yourself lucky none of the friends know who you are....

August 31, 2011 at 10:04 p.m.
James101 said...

O im so scared.. What , are the Familys and their friends going to put me on the bottom of the river.. Maybe if they did , the news and police would tell the WHOLE story and not just the parts to make certain ppl look okay in everybodys eyes.. And obviously by other ppls post on here im not the only one who thinks certain things.. I think its funny how the Pitch Forkers are acting.. Ha

August 31, 2011 at 10:08 p.m.

Pecunia magna occultet

August 31, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
bim said...

Did the sheriff interview the train conductor? He talks about still photos, and an erroneous account that they were standing, but what did the conductor see?

September 1, 2011 at 5:07 a.m.
twharr said...

I'm with James101, too many questions unanswered. I understand Hennenfriend is grieving over a loss, but if I were a friend, I'd want to know the truth. It just doesn't make any sense. Drunk on drugs or sober no one lays on railroad tracks while a train is approaching. What drug could they have taken to commit suicide? I could see an overdose, but suicide? I wouldn't be shocked if they were forced there by someone else. Think about it; a train mangling two bodies...what can a visual autopsy actually convey? You can throw out blunt force trauma. Again, it just doesn't make any sense.

September 1, 2011 at 8:18 a.m.
James101 said...

I agree with tomatoketchup and twharr... Wheres the answers to these questions and more Mr. Hennenfriend and other friends of them.. Of course we wont get truthful answers from them , we will get the " How dare you ask that " " or lets just focus on the good " and blah blah blah... The pitch fork crowd will avoid all questions or concerns that would dare put these two in a bad light at all.. And thats not my opinion , thats just 100% proof by these post..

September 1, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

If you have never met either person or any of their family - then why do you care so much what happened? Two young people were tragically killed by a train.
Why are some of you obsessing over trying to get "answers" when it doesn't affect you at all? Are you just obsessed to get "answers" to make one or both of them look bad? Sorry - nothing that comes out now will affect my life - whether it be they were being intimate or drugged or drunk or sound asleep or if they tried to move at the last second (3-5 seconds goes by pretty fast). They were tragically killed by a train - senseless deaths. It's just like when the tornadoes hit in April - people couldn't get out of the path fast enough and alot of people died tragically. Are you seeking "answers" from every person who died during the tornadoes for why they didn't get out of its path fast enough? Or the hurricanes? Or a housefire? Or a bullet? Sometimes tragic things happen and we will never know the "answer" as to why. Ultimate lesson learned - don't lie on train tracks or the asphalt between tracks at a crossing for ANY reason to avoid the same fate.
My sympathies to family and friends of both for losing someone you loved at such young ages!

September 1, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.
James101 said...

We want answers and not cover-ups !!!

September 1, 2011 at 10:34 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

How does what happened affect your life? Will it change by knowing what happened? No. So - the only people who should care would be the family. And maybe they already know. Who cares that IF they do, than they don't want it released to the public. That is their choice. It does not mean that there is a dastardly cover-up! What happened that lead up to this accident doesn't matter - the loss of life does! And that is all that anyone should focus on. There is a woman in Roane county who happened to cross the yellow line and hit a tractor-trailer head-on killing her and her 3 children. And there are some people just like you wanting to know why she crossed the line. Why should anyone care outside family and friends? It won't affect your life. It doesn't make it more or less tragic to know the reason why an accident occurs! The loss of any life is tragic to whomever is left on this earth that loved them - and communities should only assist in helping those left behind - not turn it into something less than respectful sympathy. You must have some serious paranoia issues if you think that "something" is up. And more issues with obsession over it by constantly posting your paranoia. Brother - it appears you need some help. Mocassin Bend's number is (423) 265-2271.

September 1, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.
James101 said...

If the media and police are going to cover a story , the public then deserves to hear the WHOLE story and not just bits and pieces or things that certain ppl want out.. Its not right to tell a story and only include things that certain ppl want.. And cover ups happen everyday and if anybody listend to that news confrence then they would have doubts too.. I mean that thing was laughable because he was all over the place with it.. And when people with money or people with power want something done or said or no said , it will ALWAYS happen.. Theres cover ups in Middle America every day..

September 1, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
hrtofluv said...

Why do you care so much? Unless a cover up is going to affect your life - why care so much?
Now, I will also say that it is your American right to question the why and do so in a public forum. But accusing the family and friends and now the media and the police over an accident just sounds a little coo-coo in my book. I agree that he was very uncomfortable in the spotlight being asked so many questions. Maybe it was because they don't have the answers yet. Maybe because the family has asked that certain things not be made public. But if so, that is their choice. And the rest of us have to live with no comment or little information and let it go. That is where you are obsessing - the why and not letting it go. You are taking this on like a personal project - "to get the answers". Maybe you do that alot on here, and being newer to the forums - I just don't know you yet. I just thought I would step in (as my American right) to let you know to take a step back and a chill pill. Something that doesn't affect you has happened and you are not going to change the outcome - so go live your life now. Even if something (like drugs or alcohol or sex) happened - it doesn't change the outcome. And it doesn't help anyone with a lesson learned. So, why take such a personal interest? I could play the crazy obsession card too - and ask why you want to know so bad? You must have an obsession with the Hennen family - maybe you are a stalker? Or they wouldn't hire you at the restaurant because you stink or have hair growing out of your collar or are overweight or are underweight? Or maybe you were in love with him and he rejected you? I could come up with alot more possible reasons, but there is absolutely no desire to push you any harder. So, what is your true intent in pushing the "why" so hard on the family and friends and us forum users? Maybe that is just your character on the forum. Alas, who will ever know why?

September 1, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
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