Third Grainger fugitive caught

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

After more than a week of searching, a random encounter at a gas station ended the search for the last of three fugitives who escaped from the Grainger County Jail

U.S. Marshals and other members of the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force were returning from an attempt to interview one of 33-year-old David Valentine's relatives in the area when one of them spotted Valentine as he walked out of a gas station and got into a car. They stopped the car in the parking lot of the Food City on Chapman Highway, and took him into custody without further incident.

“They were in that vicinity when just by happenstance they saw Mr. Valentine,” said John Sanchez, spokesman for the Knoxville office of the Marshals Service. “We’re extremely happy the search is done now.”

Authorities arrested two other people who were caught in Valentine’s company. Tiffany Dawn Reno, 25, of Jefferson City, was charged with violation of probation and Brandon C. Martens, 25, of New Market, had an outstanding warrant from 2007 fishing without a license.

Valentine was being held at the Grainger County Jail while facing several charges, including burglary and theft over $10,000. Authorities believe he escaped from the jail on Nov. 8, along with two other inmates. Grainger County Sheriff’s personnel reportedly did not disclose the escape to the public until Nov.10.

Authorities apprehended the other two escapees, Dennis Rucker and Shane Farrow, Nov. 13 in a Pigeon Forge hotel.

All three are still being held in the Sevier County Jail.

“I am excited that Valentine is back in custody,” said Jimmy Dunn, district attorney general for the Fourth Judicial District. That district includes Grainger and Sevier counties, as well as Jefferson and Cocke counties.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com