20-month-old boy found in river grandson of local residents

From Staff Reports

   The body of a 20-month-old boy found in the Tennessee River on Saturday is the grandson of an Elizabethton couple.
   Larry and Linda Blalock are the parents of Kristie Blalock Brown, the mother of William Joseph Brown, who was killed in what Knoxville police are treating as a homicide-missing person case while they search for the boy's father.
   According to the Knoxville Police Department, the baby's body was found floating near the shore down river from the South Knoxville Bridge, where William "Joe" Brown's Chevrolet Impala was discovered Dec. 25 with a suicide note inside. Police continued to search for Brown in the river near Louden Lake Monday.
   "We are still treating the case as a homicide-missing person because, at this point, we can't verify if Mr. Brown actually jumped off the bridge," said Jim Murray, a Knoxville Police Department investigator.
   Larry Blalock is president of the Watauga Historical Association, and the couple are active in "The Wataugans."
   According to e-mail correspondence from Blalock to friends in Elizabethton, the child's father came to his estranged wife's house on Christmas Day to visit their two sons and open Christmas presents. He asked to take the boy back to his house to feed his pets.
   No one has reported seeing Brown since Christmas day.
   The boy was also survived by a brother, Bradley Andrew Morgan, and other relatives, including an aunt, Patti Sharpi, also of Elizabethton.
   Funeral services are scheduled tonight in Knoxville, and graveside services will be held Wednesday at the Sherwood Memorial Gardens cemetery in Knoxville.
   The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Knoxville Rescue Squad, 512 Chilhowee Drive, Knoxville, TN 37914 for the purchase of sonar equipment.
   In his e-mail to Jim Bishop, a member of "The Wataugans" cast and the Watauga Historical Association, Blalock asked for prayer, saying "this is the worst day and week of our lives."