"We've continued to try to contact (the phone) and we get hung up on, or they won't answer the phone or contact us," said Kingsport Police Det. Chris Tincher. "At this point we're just wanting to verify the child is OK, or even if there was a child."
On December 20th Kingsport police issued a press release seeking information on the incident. The previous night a pedestrian on Lynn Garden Drive reported being stopped by a "hysterical" female driver of a Honda Accord, who asked if they had seen a child. Before driving away the female allegedly stated her toddler son was dead somewhere in the area.
Soon after the initial call from the pedestrian central dispatch was contacted by another female, who police suspect to be the panicked driver of the Honda. She reportedly asked if EMS had transported a small boy to the hospital, which they had not, and police searched the area of Lynn Garden Drive. No child was located.
Det. Tincher says an officer called the phone that had contacted 911 about EMS transport, speaking with the same female. She identified herself as Stephanie Salyers—now believed by investigators to be a fake name—and claimed to live in the Orebank area.
During this brief conversation she allegedly stated a neighbor had asked her to contact central dispatch the first time. Police report she then said she was going to the Hog Wild Saloon and abruptly disconnected the call.
Immediately following the exchange police visited the bar on West Stone Drive, but were unable to locate anyone believed to have placed the call. As of Wednesday afternoon no endangered child had been located and police have been unable to interview the woman. Both her motives and state of mind at the time of the initial incident are in question.
Anyone with information is urged to call central dispatch, (423) 246-9111, or the KPD criminal investigation division, (423) 229-9429.
According to the pedestrian who initially contacted police, the woman's vehicle was a maroon Honda Accord with the left taillight broken, covered in tape. She was reportedly 5 feet 7 inches tall, between 140 and 145 pounds with long dark hair.