AMBER ALERT CANCELLED: Sevier County Boy found safe

By: Sara Shookman & Mike McCarthy Email
By: Sara Shookman & Mike McCarthy Email
The Amber Alert for an 11-year-old Sevier County boy has been canceled, his mother tells Volunteer TV

Damian Duncan

UPDATE: 7/10/09 7:13 p.m.:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Amber Alert for an 11-year-old Sevier County boy has been canceled.

The Amber Alert for an 11-year-old Sevier County boy has been canceled.

Family members initially told Volunteer TV Damian Duncan had been taken to the Sevier County jail for questioning, but we later learned that he was taken to Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center instead.

"My heart jumped up out of my chest. Thank you Jesus. My baby is ok, is safe," Damian's mother, Sarah Banks, states.

Damian Duncan, 11, has been found days after he went missing.

The Sevier County Sheriff's Office says the boy ran away from his Dad and Stepmother's Seymour home, Wednesday.
Sarah Banks is his biological mother.

"The first part of this was a living hell. Where your kids gone, not knowing if he's alive, if he's been kidnapped, or is just run away. Not knowing is the hardest part," Sarah comments.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert, Thursday.

Sevier County Deputies and TBI and Damian's family have searched the areas around his dad's home for two days.

Family members passed out his picture to anyone they saw.

"I figured it couldn't hurt. I haven't seen him for a while. I want the best for him. I don't want to see him in a bad situation," Adam Duncan, Damian's uncle says.

The sheriff's office says a resident spotted Damian at a home under construction along Mississippi Avenue around 6:30 Friday afternoon.

A deputy responded and identified the boy as Damian. The sherrif's office says the boy had been hiding in an unfinished house about five miles from his home.

Deputies say Damian suffered scratches, bruises, and poison ivy.

Family members say their son ran away once previously.

"I heard that he was punished and he left home," his mother says.

Now, his family is thankful he's alive and safe.

"I'm verry relieved, I'm just so excited," Sarah says.


UPDATE 7/10/09 6:05 p.m.:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- An Amber Alert remains active for an 11-year-old Seymour boy, but police believe he probably ran away.

Damian Duncan's been missing since Wednesday, but police weren't called until Thursday because his father thought he was with his mother.

The search for the boy continued Friday night in Sevier County near Damian's Seymour home.

Sevier County Sheriff's Captain Jeff McCarter says, "Basically at this point, we don't believe he was abducted. We don't believe he's left the area. We just think he's afraid to come home."

Investigators know of at least one time Damian has run away before.

Capt. McCarter says, "Right now we've used what resources we have at this point. I don't know any other investigative ways to search for him."

Investigators have been canvassing the area near Damian Duncan's home and passing out this flyer with the hope that someone will recognize him.

"We've had several sightings now of Damian in the immediate area where he lives."

McCarter says Damian was last seen here near Smokies Crossing Apartments Thursday around 3 p.m.

Now, community volunteers from East Tennessee are pitching in to help.

Halls resident Jean Brewer says, "I just thought I'd help. I'm just driving everything up through the little side roads, looking if there's any children outside."

Brewer drove in from Halls to share her time to search for Damian.

"There's people up here that do care about him and will try to take care of him," she says.

Damian's mother, Sarah Banks, says, "Hopefully he's at somebody's house or he can get in touch with somebody. He can get in touch with me, and I can come get him."

Capt. McCarter "We'll continue until we find him."

Anyone with information should call 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463).


SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- An East Tennessee Amber Alert has been issued for an 11-year-old Sevier County boy last seen around 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 8.

Sevier County Sheriff's Department Captain Jeff McCarter says investigators are confident that the boy ran away. He's done so at least once before.

"Basically at this point, we don't believe he was abducted, we don't believe that he left the area," McCarter says. "Basically we think he ran away and is just afraid to come home."

"Terrified. I was terrified. Wondering where my little boy is. An 11-Year-old -out in Sevierville," his mother, Sarah Banks says.

Since learning that her son Damian Duncan was missing, she's left no rock unturned.

"Theonly thing I was told is that he was being punished and he ran away. That's all i know. Nobody's seen him since," Banks comments.

Damian lives with his father and stepmother in Seymour.

They last saw him Wednesday morning, while leaving for work. He was gone when they returned home around 4 p.m.

The Sevier County Sheriff's Department issued an Amber Alert this afternoon.

Sarah is looking near Seymour's First Baptist Church, where some reports placed Damian around noon, Thursday.

Davis says he saw a boy wandering near the ballfields around 1 p.m., Thursday.

"It just hit me Ihad seen a boy here today that matches that description. Just acted outta place, like he was lost. He was fiddling with his hat. And the he just walked off that way. Something struck me funny. He looked nervous," Davis recalls.

Now it's mom who's nervous, keeping her hopes up by retracing his steps.

"I have hope. I just hope that he's at somebody's house safe and not hiding out in the woods afraid to come home. Afraid to see what's going to happen to him when he gets there," Banks says.

Banks says she'll keep going until she makes sure Damian makes it home safe.

"I'm gonna search and search until I hear something from somebody," she states.

Here's a description:

Age: 11
Sex: Male
Race: White
Hair: Brown Eyes: Blue
Height: 4'0"
Weight: 75lbs

Damian was last seen wearing a green t-shirt with white stripes, red and white Nike tennis shoes and a purple ball cap with an LSU logo on the front.

Anyone with information should call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Join the Conversation!

While WVLT allows comments on articles, we ask that you respect the online community. Comments may be removed at any time for violations including:

  • Obscenity, profanity, vulgarity, racism, violent descriptions, name-calling or personal attacks.
  • Abuse of multiple accounts.
  • Off-topic comments.

Comments may be checked for inappropriate content or rule violation, but the station is under no legal obligation to monitor or remove comments. If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator. 
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

  • by Anna Location: Seymour on Jul 23, 2009 at 07:02 AM
    I do know the parents of Damian and what you people do not understand is that he did not run away from home. He left home to play with friends and thought that he could make it back before his dad got home. When he realized that he didn't he went back to the friends house. He was found with a friend the day they picked him up and they have reports that he had been doing this all week without the parents knowledge. Don't be so quick to judge without the details and facts. Damian does not hang out with the best crowd in school and this is something that his parents have been dealing with for a while. They never thought that he would be leaving the house when they weren't home. His biomother was supposed to have him, but as usual did not show up.
  • by Sue Prudhomme Location: Louisiana on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:26 AM
    I am so relieved to hear he has been found. His being missing dampened our last few days in Pigeon Forge. But, God is good! Glad he is home and gets the help he needs to understand running away solves nothing.
  • by Kerrie Location: Seymour, TN on Jul 11, 2009 at 09:31 AM
    I am so relieved that Damian was found! I had been riding around Seymour since I found out about the Amber Alert. My mother and I were talking to the TV 8 news crew when they got the call that he had been found. Even though the authorities said that there were search teams looking for him, I saw no one. I would see police vehicles cruising around Seymour, but no large groups searching for this boy. I posted the Amber Alert at my work's front & back doors. Alot of other people, and myself, were very upset on what we saw and did not see regarding the search for this child. We would also like to know if anything will happen to the ADULTS that left this child at home! I'm sure that this was not the first time. Also someone needs to investigate why this child feels the need to runaway from his father and step-mother!!!!!
  • by tracy Location: knox on Jul 10, 2009 at 09:09 PM
    some things just don`t add up ..
  • by Jane on Jul 10, 2009 at 09:04 PM
    When kids run away, something happen to them that made them run away. Hope they will be gentle with the child, be patience with him and listen to him, he is young and scared and has no one to trust...
  • by Jean Location: Halls on Jul 10, 2009 at 07:28 PM
    Parents of children that know Damian! Please check your homes, I heard news today that Damian is VERY popular in school, your child may be hiding him inside your house, in the garage, a storage building, thinking they are doing the right thing for him because they care for him. When I was young this happened and the parents didn't know their child was feeding a missing child peanut butter sandwiches for a week while every one was searching. The child was living in a storage building out back.
  • by Liz Location: Knox on Jul 10, 2009 at 06:59 PM
    why on earth were they leaving this boy at home alone?


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2015 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 50397657 -
Gray Television, Inc.