Unicoi County sheriff: Wanted man may now have gun, manhunt continues

Christopher Saults

ERWIN — A manhunt continued Friday as deputies searched for a man wanted on numerous felony warrants and believed to be in possession of a firearm. 

Christopher L. Saults — wanted in Unicoi County for evading sheriff’s deputies during a brief pursuit Wednesday — allegedly broke into a camper in Yancey County, North Carolina, and was believed Friday to be in possession of a firearm and one or more knives, according to authorities here and in North Carolina.

Saults was also believed to be wearing camouflage clothing he allegedly took from the camper, but may have changed. 

On Wednesday night, Unicoi County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull over a vehicle traveling more than 100 miles per hour driven by Saults of Carter County. 

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, a deputy monitoring traffic on Temple Hill Road spotted Saults and attempted to pull him over, but lost him during the pursuit after he fled going the wrong way on I-26. 

Later that night, a witness flagged down deputies and alerted them that Saults may have fled up Spivey Mountain Road near the Tennessee/North Carolina border, where they found Saults’ vehicle abandoned off Edwards Cemetery Road.

Police also found a woman who said she had been in the vehicle with Saults. The woman’s identity hasn’t been released, but she was transported to a hospital after reportedly telling officers the two had been using drugs.

As police in Yancey County searched for him Thursday night, Saults made a phone call from a home off of 19W in Yancey County after approaching the home of two women who said they did not know Saults was wanted by police.

After being told he was wanted by a friend, the two women called 911, which led to the discovery of a camper that had evidently been broken into. Inside the camper was a .38 snub-nose revolver that is now missing, with deputies believing Saults is in possession of it. The handgun’s disappearance is still under investigation, according to Yancey County’s Chief Deputy Shane Hilliard. 

Hensley said it’s believed Saults has returned to Tennessee, and Hilliard said his deputies were told Saults said he was “going home.”

Saults has a lengthy record in Tennessee, with at least 13 arrests in Washington County and several more in Carter County. Hensley said Saults was wanted on several felony warrants. Yancey County did not yet have charges pending. 

Anyone who spots Saults or knows of his whereabouts is urged to call 911, as he is considered “armed and dangerous.” 


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