UPDATE | Accused kidnapper makes first court appearance

By: WVLT Staff
By: WVLT Staff

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The man accused of kidnapping his ex-wife and taking her to North Carolina has made his first court appearance.

Dennis Smith has been charged with one count of kidnapping, which is a federal offense.

In court Thursday afternoon, Smith admitted to breaking into the home on Sheffield Drive in West Knoxville, where Tamra Beam worked as a housekeeper.

Smith now has a court-appointed attorney and will remain in custody.

Prosecutors say they are asking that Smith get life in prison if convicted.

The federal affidavit said that Beam's daughter received a phone call from her mother around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Beam told her she had been kidnapped.

The affidavit also says Smith took the phone from Beam and told the daughter not to do anything stupid or she would never see her mother again.

A future court date has not been determined.



Previous story:
The man accused of kidnapping a Knoxville housekeeper has been arrested in North Carolina.

The FBI tells Local 8 News that Dennis Richard Smith was apprehended at an I-40 rest stop in McDowell County around 6:30 this morning.

The victim, Tamra Beam, was also found safe and sound.

The search started yesterday afternoon when a Knoxville homeowner on Sheffield Drive came home to find broken glass and blood in her house. She told investigators her housekeeper, Tamra Beam, was at home at the time of the break-in. Police put out a description of Beam and Smith and began the search.

Investigators confirmed there is a history of domestic violence between the two that involved law enforcement.

Late Wednesday night, the search extended to North Carolina where Smith was seen in Hickory, NC.

Early Thursday morning, investigators found Smith and Beam at a McDowell County rest stop. Smith was taken into custody.

Several agencies helped with the search including the FBI, Knoxville Police Department, McDowell County Sheriff's Department, Marion Police, NC Troopers and McDowell Emergency Management Services.



Previous story:

Police have just released a description of the car they think Tamra Beam's suspected abductor may be driving. Police are looking for a blue Ford Fusion with a North Carolina tag BCB 9836.

Knoxville Police Department Officers are looking for Dennis Richard Smith, 53, in connection with the disappearance of 51-year-old Beam.

Beam is believed to be in physical danger.

It all started after the owner of a home on Sheffield Drive returned to find the rear door had been forced open.

They believe Beam, who is the housekeeper, was in the home at the time. Officers also say physical evidence left at the scene indicates that Beam had been abducted.

Investigators confirmed there is a history of domestic violence between the two that involved law enforcement.

Tamra has an adult daughter, who is aware of the situation and spoke with investigators. We know that she lives in Knoxville.

Smith and Beam may be in a blue Ford Fusion with a North Carolina tag BCB 9836. Investigators also think the two may be headed to North Carolina.

Police are asking for members of the public to contact law enforcement.



Previous story:
The Knoxville Police Department is trying to locate a woman, missing after a break-in.

Officers were called to the home on Sheffield Drive around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.

They found the door kicked-in and the housekeeper missing. Her car was still in the driveway.

Officers also say blood was found inside the home.

We are continuing to follow this story and will bring you the latest as soon as we learn more.


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