Police Search For Killer after Loudon Co. Man Found Murdered

Stephen Michael Booth, 18, found dead in Loudon County. Police say he was murdered
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Loudon County (WVLT) -- A killer is on the loose tonight after an early morning fatal beating in Loudon County.

Sheriff's deputies are investigating the murder at Yarberry Peninsula Recreation Area and say it's the first murder in Loudon County in three years.

According to investigators, the victim was Stephen Michael Booth, 18.

They say the Lenoir City teen was beaten to death by someone who may have known him.

By Wednesday afternoon, the only way of your would know their had been an early morning homicide were the blood stains on the pavement of the camp grounds parking lot.

"He did have signs of blunt trauma to the back of the head," said Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider.

Officials say a camper was passing by the parking lot around 8:00 A.M. when he found Booth unconscious on the ground by a car.

"He wasn't moving, so he came back and it was obvious he was deceased," Sheriff Guider said.

The sheriff says their investigation is on going, but they have several persons of interest.

Investigators don't think it was a random act and according to some frequent visitors, this wasn't Booth's first time at the campground.

"I saw him and his family members, he's a big kid, playing with other kids," said Shirley Spoon.

The park is owned by Tennessee Valley Authority and has campers who stay there year round.

Officials say one camper heard a vehicle leave at a high rate of speed around 3:00 A.M.

Other park visitors are disturbed by the news of today's murder.

"I come here by myself sometimes and if something like that can happen it's kinda scary," said Gene Efu.

Booth had a criminal record that stretched from Loudon to Knox County.

He had been arrested 4 times for charges including simple possession, prohibited weapon, and failure to appear.

Officials say drugs and alcohol may have played a factor in the murder.

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