A Tennessee homicide suspect who fled into the Virginia woods has hitched a ride back to Tennessee and is still on the loose, authorities said Sept. 14.
Gary Parsons, the sheriff of Virginia’s Lee County, said in a statement that authorities spoke to an individual who gave the suspect a ride to Union County, Tennessee, which is north of Knoxville. The ride was confirmed by video footage, Parsons said.
Jason Dockery is suspected of fatally shooting a woman Sept. 12 in Tennessee’s Anderson County, which is also outside Knoxville, authorities said. Dockery then led police on a car chase that ended about 68 miles (109 kilometers) away in Ewing, Virginia, where he abandoned his Chevrolet Sonic and fled into the woods.
A large manhunt ensued, with officials urging residents to lock their doors and secure their vehicles. Some schools were closed Sept. 13.
Ewing is in the Appalachian Mountains near Virginia’s Wilderness Road State Park as well as Cumberland Gap National Park, which spans the borders of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.
By the evening of Sept. 13, Parsons said Dockery had left Virginia’s Lee County. But the sheriff declined to elaborate because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
Parsons said in his statement Sept. 14 that Dockery “may have possession of a cellphone and was monitoring social media in an effort to evade capture.”
The U.S. Marshals are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to Dockery’s arrest.
The fatal shooting occurred Sept. 12 in the Heiskell area of Tennessee’s Anderson County, authorities in that county said. Someone had called 911 to report “a man had shot a woman while stopped on the side of the road.” The woman was later identified as Shystie Ranea Mayberry.
Police said they began their pursuit of Dockery, 44, of Knoxville, that afternoon in Tennessee’s Claiborne County, which borders Virginia’s Lee County.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said Sept. 13 that it’s processing Dockery’s vehicle for evidence, while an autopsy is being performed on Mayberry’s body.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim, and we are grateful for the assistance of so many other agencies,” Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker said in a statement.