published Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Man found slain in basement of his Harrison, Tenn., home

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating a suspicious death. Deputies went to 6422 Ware Branch Cove Drive in Harrison this morning and found a male body, lying in the basement.
Photo by Beth Burger
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating a suspicious death. Deputies went to 6422 Ware Branch Cove Drive in Harrison this morning and found a male body, lying in the basement. Photo by Beth Burger
6422 Ware Branch Cove Drive
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After a woman hadn't heard from her brother in several days, she called the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and, with a spare house key, she and deputies went to his Harrison home Tuesday morning.

Inside 6422 Ware Branch Cove Drive, deputies found the man, who was in his 40s, lying in the basement in a large pool of blood, Sheriff Jim Hammond said at the scene.

The last time the victim was seen was Saturday, Hammond said, and it's unclear how long the body had been in the basement before deputies were called.

The man's name is not being released pending a positive ID by the medical examiner's office, but family members are in the process of being notified, said Janice Atkinson, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

Deputies want to talk to another man who was staying with the victim. A be-on-the-lookout order was issued for his vehicle, a red pickup.

Hammond said Tuesday night that the man has been located but declined to comment further.

Lucy Smith, 67, who has lived in the neighborhood for 18 years, said the victim had only lived in the home for a couple of months.

"I'm just in shock. Everyone knows everybody around here," she said. "You just wouldn't expect something like this to happen in this area."

A friend had let the victim stay in the home because he was been down on his luck with work in the real estate and construction business, she said.

In his short time there, Smith said she had spoke with the man almost daily. His 12-year-old chocolate Labrador, McClain, would get out and roam the neighborhood, meeting up with her two dogs, a golden retriever and a chow mix, she said.

She would routinely take McClain back over to the residence and often talk with the victim, Smith said

However, in the past two weeks, she has not spoken with him, she said, and since Nov. 30, another man at the residence has always answered the phone.

Because of the crime scene, several animals inside the home were taken away by the Humane Education Society of Chattanooga.

"I'm going to try and find out what's happening to McClain," Smith said. "I'll try to convince my husband to let me take him."

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