Grainger fugitives arrested at Pigeon Forge hotel

Nov. 15, 2013 @ 11:08 PM

Two fugitives hiding out at a local hotel Wednesday after escaping the Grainger County Jail are now in custody after U.S. Marshals caught up to them at about 9 p.m. that evening.

Dennis Chad Rucker, 35, of Rutledge, and Shane Lee Farrow, 30, of Morristown, were found in the Royal Inn on the Parkway at about 9 p.m. Wednesday. They were unarmed and surrendered without further incident, and remained in the Sevier County Jail Thursday afternoon.

The two of them allegedly escaped from the Grainger County Jail Friday, along with a third inmate, David Valentine, who remains at large. The trio is believed to have climbed the wall of the jail’s recreation yard.

Their escape wasn’t announced until Sunday. In the wake of the incident, some jail personnel have been dismissed and Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel announced he had authorized Chief Deputy Charles Biddle to act in his stead.

District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn also ordered a lockdown of the Grainger County Justice Center while personnel from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office assisted in a search of the jail. Dunn is district attorney general for the Fourth Judicial District, which includes Grainger, Cocke, Jefferson and Sevier counties.

Dunn said he was thankful two of the three inmates had been caught. “We thank the U.S. Marshals, the Blount and Sevier County sheriff’s office and all the agencies involved in this investigation,” he said. “Our efforts will keep going until we apprehend the last escapee.”

It wasn’t clear Thursday how officials tracked Rucker and Farrow to Sevier County. John Sanchez, spokesman for the East Tennessee district of the Marshals Service, said he couldn’t go into details about the investigation. It involved the Smoky Mountain Fugitive Task Force, which features personnel from local and federal law enforcement.

Farrow’s brother, Daniel Farrow, was arrested Wednesday and charged with accessory after the fact and facilitation of escape chagres.

Officials said Thursday it wasn’t clear if Valentine is still in East Tennessee or has fled the area.

James Fowler, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee, credited all the agencies for working together to track down Rucker and Farrow. “Obviously, out job will not be done until the last escapee is arrested, but we are confident that he will be in custody soon,” Fowler said.

They urged anyone with information on Valentine’s whereabouts or the investigation to call the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department at 828-3613 or the Grainger County Dispatch Center at 828-3337.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com