The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office has set up a command post in Sugar Grove, Virginia to search for missing Surgoinsville teenager, Hayleigh Wilson.
Monday will mark one week since the 14-year-old disappeared. Investigators believe, after meeting the teen in a chat room, 41-year-old convicted sex offender Benjamin Shook lured Hayleigh out of her home.
Lieutenant Bill Eller with the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office said, since Thursday night, multiple volunteer agencies have been searching the Jefferson National Forest, East of Virginia State Route 16 towards Troutdale.
“It is a very large combined effort in the search. It’s taxing on a small department, that’s why we’ve got all these other resources that have come in and they’ve been a great help,” Eller said.
Since the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation got involved, the tip line has been ringing off the hook.
But all of those tips have turned into dead ends.
“We’ve not been able to confirm any of the tips that have come in,” Eller said.
Hayleigh and Shook were last seen on Wednesday at an Exxon gas station in Sugar Grove.
“Without new information, we have to continue with the search in that area,” Eller said.
Search teams are working around the clock, with some groups of rescue volunteers working 14 hour shifts.
“We have searched the majority of the forest in the search radius and we’re going to be starting to go back through that area again just to make sure we haven’t missed anything,” Eller said.
And although hope often runs thin as time rolls on, Lt. Eller said search crews are staying strong, and are determined to bring Hayleigh home.
“We have no reason to think at this point that any harm has come to her other than weather conditions. We are still actively searching to rescue her from this child predator,” Eller said.
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