Etowah community remembers teen as investigation into her death continues

The body of 18-year-old Kelsey N. Burnette was found on Charles Street in Etowah on Tuesday.

MCMINN COUNTY - UPDATE: A preliminary report from the TBI Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed that a body found in Etowah on Tuesday was an 18-year-old woman that disappeared on July 1.

The body of 18-year-old Kelsey N. Burnette was found on Charles Street in Etowah on Tuesday. 

Officials say Burnette went missing around 5 a.m. Saturday.

A missing persons flier of Burnette remains stapled to a pole on Athens Pike.

It's across the street from Shannon Spain's home. 

Spain says Burnette often stayed in the house next door. She says the last time she saw Burnette was on Friday. The next day she says Burnette's mother came by with missing person fliers, searching for her daughter. 

"She was worried. She didn't know where her kid was. She said she never did anything like this before. She was just praying that they would find her," said Spain. "I was just thinking about the family and what they were going through. I was glad to hear they found the body. Now if they can find who did it they can get justice." 

Investigators have not said how the home on Athens Pike connects to Burnette's death, but on Wednesday, crime scene tape stretched around the home as investigators searched in and around it. They say Burnette's body was found on Charles street, which is a half block away. 

McDonald's manager Jacob Beasley and employee Austin Linander say the restaurant hasn't been the same since Burnette's body was found. They say Burnette worked there for about the past six months. The restaurant is located about a mile away from Charles Street.

"It's been very sad you know people keep talking about it. It's not really not a good thing you know how she died. It's very sad," said Linander. 

"She would always come in with a smile you know always happy. She was a good worker. Just all around good person," said Beasley. 

Burnette was a recent graduate of McMinn Central High School. McMinn County Director of Schools Mickey Blevins said there's been an outpouring of support for Burnette's family.

"For a small community like this, for something like this to happen, it impacts everyone. Everybody is greatly saddened," Blevins said. 

He described Burnette as a "fine young lady." 

"Everybody that knew her talked about how sweet she was and what a bubbly personality," Blevins said.

As the investigation continues, many are hoping this loss will bring the community together. 

"We're all going to have to pull together in this community or this whole town you know keep an eye on everybody," said Spain. 

The TBI says they're waiting for further results from the Medical Examiners Office that will provide more information on Burnette's death. 

ORIGINAL STORY: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says their agents are investigating the discovery of a deceased female on Charles Street in Etowah on Tuesday.

Officials say the woman has not been positively identified at this time by medical examiners, but TBI said in a release it is likely the body of an 18-year-old Etowah woman that disappeared on July 1.

TBI's spokesperson says the investigation is active and ongoing.

WRCB


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