Escaped teen’s body found by Blount County deputies

Mugshot of Joseph French (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)
Mugshot of Joseph French (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)

Click here to view security camera video of the attack from the WATE 6 On Your Side News app.

MARYVILLE (WATE) – Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies have found the body of the escaped teen who assaulted a corrections officer and stole her gun.

Mugshot of Joseph French (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)
Mugshot of Joseph French (source: Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

The Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong says Deputies found the body of Joseph Dillon French, 16, of Friendsville shortly after 8:30. A citizen utilizing the Maryville Greenbelt discovered the body.

An autopsy will be performed at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center, but, according to a release, it appears French died as a result of a self- inflicted gunshot wound. His death is being investigated by both the Blount County Sheriff’s office and the Maryville Police Department.

The Friendsville teen had been reported missing last month, but was located earlier this week and placed into custody on a charge of unruliness. Sheriff James Berrong says this was the fourth time he had been held in the facility.

Previous story: Deputies find missing Friendsville teen

Joseph Dillon French (source: BCSO)
Joseph Dillon French (source: BCSO)

Berrong says he assaulted a female corrections officer with a porcelain toilet tank lid around 7:30 p.m. Her gun was being kept in a locked strong box. Berrong says French found the key, took the gun out of the box and tried to shoot the officer. The gun did not go off due to a bullet not being in the chamber, and French then fled the county juvenile center.

Crews searched for him with helicopters and search dogs.

The officer was taken to UT Medical Center with severe lacerations, but was later released with five staples in her head. The sheriff is not releasing her name at this time.

 

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