A search for Nate Johnson was called off Saturday morning as the young Dade man's body was found just across the state line near the Tennessee Welcome Center.
Trenton Police Chief Christy Smith confirmed Monday that Johnson, 27, had been found dead early Saturday. She said Chattanooga police were investigating the matter and that she could not release anything further. Detective Darly Slaughter of the Chattanooga Police Department's Major Crime Division said Johnson's death was being treated as a "DOA undetermined," meaning that until the medical examiner pronounces how Johnson died, the department is not releasing much more information.
But Slaughter also said if the PD suspected Johnson had been killed by a murderer who was still at large, that was information that would be broadcast to the public right away. That not being the case, Slaughter said he would probably not have anything else to release on Johnson for the three to four weeks it takes for the medical examiner's report to be submitted.
Slaughter also said toxicology analysis was also being performed on the body.
Emma Scott of Sand Mountain, who identified herself as Johnson's unofficial adoptive grandmother, confirmed Johnson's body had been found in the woods near the Tennessee Welcome Center on I-24 at the state line. She said the remains had been sent for autopsy and that until the results come back she had no idea how the young man had died.
Ms. Scott said she did not know why Johnson had left home. She said he had three little daughters and had never done anything like this before.
Family members had posted missing person notices (reproduced above) on social media beginning Jan. 14, saying they had not seen Johnson since Jan. 10, when he was observed walking on the railroad tracks at Wildwood.
Dade County Sheriff's Information Officer Sgt. Chad Payne said Dade deputies had been involved in the search and body recovery, but also had no information to release.