Missing Missouri girl found in North Carolina after East Tennessee search

Harley Hopper (l) and Kenneth Whitehead (r) (source: Greene County Sheriff's Department)

UPDATE Monday, 5:40 p.m.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says Harley Hopper has been located in North Carolina and the Endangered Child Alert is cancelled. Dent County, Missouri, deputies say she and Kenneth Whitehead were found around 3:45 p.m. Monday at a campground in Henderson County, North Carolina.

Whitehead is being held in the Henderson County Jail on a kidnapping charge with $250,000 bond. Officials are working to return Hopper to her parents.


UPDATE Friday, 4:45 p.m.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office says they last information they received on Harley Hopper and Kenneth Whitehead is that someone may have picked them up and dropped them off in the Jonesborough area. They say they are fairly certain the pair is no longer in the area they were searching and could be anywhere.


GREENEVILLE (WATE) – Several law enforcement agencies are searching the Paint Creek area of southern Greene County for a missing girl from Missouri and the man believed to have kidnapped her.

An East Tennessee Endangered Child Alert has been issued for Harley Hopper, 13. Kenneth Dylan Whitehead, 22, is wanted for her kidnapping.

Hopper was reported missing on September 22 in the Salem, Missouri, area. Witnesses told local media she left her home around 1 a.m.with a backpack, entered Whitehead’s vehicle and have not been seen since.

They are now believed to be in Greene County, Tennessee, in the Paint Creek, South Greene and Houston Valley areas. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, TBI and United States Forestry Service are searching for them.

Greene County officials say a deputy found a vehicle in a remote area of the county with two people inside. As the deputy left to call for help, the two people abandoned the car. They were later discovered to have been Hopper and Whitehead. They are believed to be on foot inside the Cherokee National Forest.

Whitehead is described as around 5’4″ with brown hair and green eyes. He weighs around 187 pounds. He was last seen wearing a light colored khaki shirt and is known to have a knife. A felony warrant for kidnapping has been issued for his arrest.

Hopper is 5’3″ and weighs around 200 pounds. Her hair is naturally dark but may be red now. She has blue eyes and was last seen wearing a red and black flannel shirt with long sleeves and dark pajama pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Greene County Sheriff’s Department at (423) 798-1800 or your nearest law enforcement agency.

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