Tennessee authorities capture fugitive wanted in multiple murders
Accused killer Kirby Wallace has been arrested, according to law enforcement, TV station WSMV reports.
This was the seventh day of the manhunt. Hundreds of law enforcement officers had been working to find 53-year-old Wallace, who was on the TBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
Wallace was reportedly apprehended by Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew and Henry County Cpl. Stacey Bostwick along Wildcat Creek Road in Stewart County.
Earlier Friday morning, the search area had been moved to the Hayes Ridge Road and Wildcat Creek Road area after someone reported seeing Wallace earlier today.
On Thursday, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office announced that the reward for Wallace’s capture had been increased to $20,000. The U.S. Marshals Service, Gov. Bill Haslam and the TBI have contributed to the fund.
As of Thursday, the Montgomery County 911 center had received at least 400 tips with information on the whereabouts of Wallace.
Search teams had to navigate difficult terrain and extreme heat. Several officers received treatment for dehydration. At least one person had to be transported to the hospital for heat-related ailments. One other officer injured his or her ankle.
The GIS Center helped crews with the difficult circumstances by providing topographical maps to assist their search.
After seven days, neighbors in the area were anxious for life to return to normal.
One neighbor told News4 that he hasn’t had any sleep for three or four days.
“Everybody wants him caught. I want to be able to do my dishes without worrying someone will bust down my door,” the neighbor said.
On Wednesday, there were several reported sightings of Wallace, but none of them panned out.
Around 12:40 a.m. Wednesday, a resident in the 4000 block of Poplar Springs Road in Montgomery County reported that a man tried to enter his porch and then ran off into the woods. He said the man was armed.
Shortly after this, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received another call at 12:49 a.m. about suspicious activity in the area, which is when they established a second search perimeter.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, police said they thought they saw Wallace from a helicopter heading east.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, officers thought they spotted Wallace in the woods, but it was a Dickson County officer who was involved in the search.
Police have been actively looking for Wallace since Sept. 22 when they believe he tied up and assaulted a couple in Indian Mound after they walked in on him burglarizing their home. He also allegedly set fire to the home and fled in the couple’s car. The female victim, Brenda Smith, did not survive.
The Montgomery County sheriff said evidence and witness statements lead them to believe that Wallace was involved in the shooting death and theft that happened near the intersection of Poplar Springs and Welker roads on Monday morning. The name of the victim has not yet been released.
Sheriff John Fuson said the sheriff’s office received a 911 call from a juvenile at 9:24 a.m. on Welker Road. The juvenile said he saw someone walking wearing camo and carrying a pistol.
At 9:25 a.m., there was a report of gunshots in the area, and at 9:26 a.m., a witness saw a car leave the area driving the vehicle of the man at the Welker Road address.
Fuson said the F-350 truck was found crashed out at 10:03 a.m. in the area of Cumberland City and Frankie roads. It is believed that Wallace left the area on foot.
TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said the terrain was extremely challenging, including thick underbrush, hills and valleys. It didn’t help that Wallace was already familiar with the area.
The TBI had a dozen agents on the ground and was using a plane to assist with the search. They flew the aircraft at night and during the day, along with heat-seeking technology. Agents are also working on the search from TBI headquarters.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol had 50 troopers join the search and were using two helicopters in rotating shifts