Detectives stumped by Happy Valley man’s 2008 disappearance

6 News Reporter

HAPPY VALLEY (WATE) – Two years after a Happy Valley man disappeared, there's still no sign of him. The family suspects foul play.

Numerous searches were done to find Michael Hearon, 51, after he disappeared in August 2008.

He was last seen leaving his home on Bell Branch Road in Happy Valley, by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The ATV he was seen leaving on was found abandoned a few miles away.

Detectives with the Blount County Sheriff's Office say they're stumped by the case. They say Hearon disappeared without a single clue as to what happened to him.

This was extremely strange for a man who was very close to his family and spoke to them every day.

Hearon's son, Matt, says his Dad loved living in the mountains surrounded by 75 acres of wilderness.

“He was a person who loved the outdoors. He loved farming, cattle, and just bush hogging,” Matt said.

Hearon was a builder, the man behind dozens of custom homes in the nearby Maryville area.

While he spent most of his time in the mountains, he was constantly in touch with family and saw his Mom and two sons regularly. They all live in Blount County.

“He's a family guy. He talked to his mother on the phone every day, and he'd talk to us all the time,” Matt said.

In August 2008, no one had heard from Mike Hearon for a few days, which was unusual.

His sons drove to his home and found it strange that all his vehicles were parked in the driveway. Only an ATV in the barn was missing.

An extensive search began and law enforcement was called to help.

Detective Mike Seratt says it was during the search that Hearon's ATV was found abandoned on a desolate road a few miles away.

“There is no evidence to point us anywhere. We've probably interviewed well over 100 people,” Detective Seratt said.

Despite many more searches since then, there are no answers. Mike Hearon disappeared with everything he owned left untouched.

“We believe something has happened to him. His family believes that foul play is involved. We just don't have the physical evidence to do anything right now,” Matt Hearon said.

Matt says his father had no enemies and was doing well in his business. He also says Hearon was too attached to his family to just leave them.

“We want to know what happened to him. That's the hardest part. We will keep searching until we get some closure,” Matt said.

Hearon's sons have been very active in keeping his story alive. They organize several events and searches regularly.

They say at this point, even if the news is bad they just need to know what happened to their father.

If you have information about Mike Hearon's case, call the Blount County Sheriff's Office at 865-273-5007.

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