Sister of escaped inmate contacted by cartel for money in exchange for brother’s body, according to sheriff

A video of Charles Kennedy’s deceased body was sent to his sister, according to the Roane County Sheriff.
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 2:14 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - An escaped Fentress County inmate’s death in Mexico may have been tied to a cartel, according to Roane County News.

Charles Kennedy and Casey Ridenour escaped from the Fentress County Jail on July 19, 2021. The Fentress County Sheriff’s Office said they stole a correctional officer’s vehicle during their escape. Ridenour was found the same day, but police never found Kennedy. According to officials with the TBI, he was wanted on several charges, including drugs, firearms and felony escape.

The TBI announced they located Kennedy’s body in Mexico in January.

Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton was later contacted by Kennedy’s sister who told officers she was contacted by someone from Mexico who wanted money in exchange for her brother’s body, according to the news outlet.

“We believe it was the cartel,” Stockton said to the news outlet on Monday. “They sent a video showing that he was deceased and they wanted money to get his body back.”

Stockton said they told Kennedy’s sister to not send any money to people who contacted her, according to Roane County News. Deputies said they are now working with U.S. Marshals and Mexican authorities to return his body.

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