Escaped child sex crimes suspect believed to be in North Carolina, TBI says

According to GCSO, Sean Williams, 52, escaped while being transported to Greeneville, Tennessee from Laurel County, Kentucky.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 11:53 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 3:05 PM EST
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GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The U.S. Marshals, along with several East Tennessee agencies, are on the lookout for an escaped suspect who has been charged with child sex crimes, including rape. In a Friday update, TBI officials said they believe the suspect, Sean Williams, 52, is in Sylva, North Carolina.

According to the Grainger County Sheriff’s Office, Williams, escaped while being transported to Greeneville, Tennessee from Laurel County, Kentucky. That route went along US Highway 25 East through Claiborne, Grainger and Hamblen County.

Green County Sheriff’s Department officials said at the time that Williams was wearing “jail type” clothes, adding that Williams “is desperate to escape custody and has attempted previously.”

Williams has three tattoos, all on his left arm and hand, according to officials.

He was spotted after the initial escape but the person didn’t realize who he was and didn’t contact authorities until later that day.

“The times they recalled seeing him were before noon that day,” U.S. Marshal David Jolley said. “No confirmed sightings since. He was still wearing jail clothing when they saw him. Tan in color.”

Jolley said the ground search was scaled back but the investigation remained ongoing with investigators working around the clock. Investigating agencies have also placed billboards in Tennessee and other states advertising the need for information on Williams.

“We have not had any confirmed sightings in many hours, thus scaled down the numbers of physical searchers but have plenty of personnel ready to respond to any sighting or tip,” Jolley said. “We are now focusing more on investigation more than physical ground search unless new info comes in.”

Anyone with information on Williams is asked to call the GCSO at 423-798-1800 or the U.S. Marshals at, 423-638-3391, or 865-824-3801. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation offered a $8,500 reward for information leading to his arrest.

The USMS then added an additional $5,000 to the reward, bringing the total up to $7,500.