Blount County, Tenn. – The Blount County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has escalated efforts to capture Kenneth DeHart, the suspect wanted in connection with the murder of a deputy and the injury of another. In a press conference today, Chief Deputy Jeff French announced that the reward for information leading to DeHart’s arrest has been raised to $100,000.

Since the incident, which shocked the community, law enforcement agencies have mobilized a massive search operation involving nearly 150 officers and federal agents from various departments across East Tennessee. The search has focused on dense, wooded areas, with authorities executing search warrants and pursuing every lead received.

“We’ve continued the manhunt for Kenneth DeHart for his senseless murder of our deputy and injuring Deputy Eggers,” stated Chief Deputy French. “We’ve had multiple law enforcement agencies, state, local, federal, over 150 personnel probably searching dense areas, wooded areas. We’ve done search warrants and we’ve followed up on every tip that we’ve gotten. No tip’s too big, too small.”

The Wildwood area has been a significant focus of the search effort after DeHart’s vehicle was discovered abandoned there on Friday. Despite the extensive search operations, DeHart remains at large, prompting BCSO to emphasize the seriousness of the situation.

“I want to stress the gravity of this situation, Kenneth DeHart is considered armed and extremely dangerous,” warned BCSO. “We cannot allow him to roam freely, posing a threat to our community.”

In an appeal to the public, officials urged individuals to come forward with any information they may have, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

“That’s why we’ve decided to increase the reward for information leading to DeHart’s arrest to up to $100,000,” BCSO emphasized. “We’re counting on your help, your vigilance, to bring this fugitive to justice.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND or BCSO at 865-981-7125. Authorities have reassured the public that all tips will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

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