Body of missing man found in Grainger County

GRAINGER COUNTY (WVLT) -- The body of a missing North Carolina man has been recovered from the waters of Cherokee Lake in Grainger County.

Gary Willis, 51 of Arden, North Carolina disappeared from the Card'nal Cove Resort Friday around midnight.

Grainger County Sheriff James Harville says Willis' body was found in the water right near the corner of the dock he was last seen walking on.

Harville says he does not suspect foul play, but an autopsy will be performed at U.T. Medical Center.

Rescue teams from Grainger County, Hawkins County, Knox County, Morristown, Bean Station, and Knoxville had been searching the resort, near Rutledge since Saturday.

Harville said Mr. Willis was at the resort with friends for a weekend of fishing and four-wheeling.

Late Friday night, his friends went to bed, and he went for a walk.

According to his family, he was last heard from over a cell phone, while he was sitting on the Card'nal Cove Resort boat dock.

"He came here on a fishing trip, and called home to let us know he arrived safely," said Nedra Willis, his wife. "We just don't know what happened after that."

Rescue crews have been using search dogs, divers, and sonar in their search.

So far they have focused on the waters around the Cherokee Lake cove, though Gary's family did say he was a good swimmer.

"We just want him back home safe," said Nedra, before thanking everyone involved in the search.

When he went missing, he was wearing blue jeans, a sweat shirt, and Carhartt jacket.

If you have any information about Gary Willis's disappearance, please call the Grainger County Sheriff's Department at 865-828-3613


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