Woman’s body found in Hawkins County septic overflow identified

Donna M. Young (Hawkins County Sheriff's Office)

ROGERSVILLE (WATE/WJHL) – The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a woman’s body was found Wednesday afternoon in a septic tank overflow pond.

The sheriff’s office identified the woman as Donna Mare Young, 38. Her last known address was 2050 Pressman’s Home Road in Rogersville.

Young’s body was taken to Quillen College of Medicine for an autopsy, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators said preliminary autopsy results show no blunt trauma or visible signs of injury to her body. Her actual cause of death is undetermined at this time.


Deputies were called to 200 Meadowview Road around 4 p.m. Wednesday. Residents first thought someone had thrown a dummy into the sewage pond, but called police anyway.

After arriving, deputies found Young’s body. Investigators said it appeared she had been in the pond for two or three days. She was wearing what looked like a tank top, hoodie and blue jeans. She was not wearing any shoes or carrying any identification, but officers say she had a tattoo on her stomach.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (423) 272-4848 or (423) 272-6514.

Discovery prompts TDEC investigation

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation was called in to investigate a separate matter related to the sewage pond. Hawkins County Emergency Management Director Gary Murrell says any sewage above the ground is illegal.

“Running on the ground is illegal. Especially having an open pit such as that in a trailer park is just not safe at all,” Murrell said.

The trailer park is on Meadowview Road in Rogersville. Murrell says the exposed sewer was approximately three feet deep and it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure something is done about it.

“Sewer running on top of the ground is not normal. It’s not healthy, it’s not safe and something needs to be done about it.” said Murrell.

Murrell said the landlord is trying to get the problem fixed.

“I talked with the landlord he was very receptive about trying to get the problem fixed, you know, he said just whatever we need to do to solve the problem and you know he’s trying. He was going to meet with TDEC when I came down and trying to see what they needed to do to solve this problem,” Murrell said.

TDEC said the Rogersville Water Department took samples at the department’s filter plant and at storage tanks as a precaution and all of the samples met safe drinking water standards required by the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said the investigation is ongoing and state action is pending.

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