Search crews were able to locate Dustin Williams. Rope and rescue teams are in the process of making the recovery due to the extreme terrain.
A dog hiking with a missing hiker was found alive on Thursday afternoon, but the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department said that as of press time Friday, the man, who went missing in Pocket Wilderness has yet to be found.
Curtis Dustin Williams, of North Carolina began his hike with the dog on Monday morning, officials said, and had shared part of the hike in posts on Facebook but has not been seen or heard from since late on Monday.
Rhea County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Rocky Potter said that finding the dog will allow search and rescue crews to focus their search on the area where the dog was found and the surrounding vicinity. Potter said Williams was dog-sitting, and the dog has since been returned to its owner.
Crews have been searching Pocket Wilderness all week, and the entrance to the state natural area has been closed to the public.
When initial reports that Williams might be missing, law enforcement officials said that they began their search in the area where Williams had last broadcast from Facebook Live. His cell phone was later “pinged” to a different area of Pocket Wilderness.
Since then, Potter said that both state and seven other counties have joined in the search, utilizing search and rescue K9s, helicopters, cliff rappelling teams and even drones to search the area. Potter said that a search and rescue team from North Carolina has also joined the search.
Williams was last seen wearing a maroon T-shirt, a hat featuring the University of North Carolina logo and shorts. If anyone sees Williams, they are urged to contact the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department at (423) 775-7837.