Body found in Unicoi positively identified as that of Lucas "Luc" Vance

Johnson City Press • Dec 18, 2019 at 4:08 PM

UNICOI — A body found in the woods off Little Mountain Road in Unicoi Monday night has been positively identified as that of Lucas “Luc” Vance, a popular Unicoi restaurant owner missing since late October.

On Wednesday, the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department announced that forensics testing has positively identified Vance’s body. Authorities were already working under the assumption it was Vance’s body they recovered on Monday, but were waiting for forensics testing to confirm it.

“We do believe it is the body of Lucas Vance, but there has to be a positive confirmation from the coroner’s office” Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley told the Johnson City Press Monday night.

The discovery was first made around 3 p.m. on Monday after a private investigator working on behalf of the family discovered a backpack with Vance’s belongings in it before discovering the body near by.

A cause of death has not been determined, but foul play is not suspected.

Vance, owner of the Maple Grove Restaurant in Unicoi, had been reported missing on Oct. 30, and he had not been seen since a surveillance camera showed him entering his home on Oct. 29. Authorities believe Vance’s body had been there since they began their searches.

The ground search for Vance was officially called off on Nov. 3, but auxiliary sheriff’s deputy and member of the Unaka Mountain Search and Rescue Squad Bart Ray said they were “on both sides” of where Vance was found and that they were off by “maybe 100 yards either way.”

On Facebook, the family also confirmed that it was, indeed, Vance’s body that had been recovered Monday.

“As you know by now Luc's body has been recovered and it was not the outcome that we had all prayed so hard for,” the family wrote on the “Bring Luc Vance Home” page.”Luc you are and will always remain a well loved man. You will always be greatly missed and the void that has been left in our hearts will never heal. R.I.P. Lucas Vance.”

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