GILES COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – He’s been missing for 17 years, and on Tuesday, the Giles County Sheriff’s Department classified the case of David Gene Dugger as a homicide.
He was 44 years old when his family last heard from him. His brother and sister made an emotional plea Tuesday for help in finding their big brother.
Gene disappeared without a trace on March 15, 1999. The oldest of three children, he was a construction worker who loved the outdoors.
“We just kind of suspected foul play at the time. If it was foul play, we would like to get his remains so we could go and visit him,” Bobo Dugger told News 2.
“We want closure,” his sister Cindy Arnett added.
According to the siblings, Gene loved Elvis and always carried a picture of his deceased mother with him.
When that picture and his Elvis collection were found haphazardly discarded in a field, family members knew something terrible had happened.
“He took pictures of our mom everywhere he went, and these were found thrown down like trash, and that would not have happened,” Cindy said.
Gene’s father passed away in 2002. Sheriff Kyle Helton promised him he’d solver the mystery of his missing son.
“We are not giving up. We never will,” the sheriff told News 2.
On Tuesday, Helton announced the case is now an active homicide investigation.
He wouldn’t say exactly what evidence came to light, but the longtime law man did show News 2 a cold case file that is 6 inches thick.
Detectives have been working on the case for years, and Sheriff Helton says, “We are coming after you.”
“We love you and we are going to find you and bring you home,” Cindy added.
Investigators say that in 17 years, there is not one single financial trace of Gene Dugger—not a social security hit, not a bank transaction, not a credit card.
Anyone with information should call the Giles County Sheriff’s Office at 931-363-3505. Ask for Det. Mike Sands Det. George Barturen.