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Knox County sheriff’s deputies arrest son suspected in mother’s beating death in Farragut

Knox County sheriff’s deputies nabbed the alleged killer of an elderly Farragut woman after a daylong manhunt.

Gordon Evren Ellis, 34, was apprehended by sheriff’s deputies at another residence late Sunday, April 4. He was transported downtown for questioning where he confessed to killing the victim, his mother, Sheriff TimHutchison said.

Hutchison added that the case began when Knox County Sheriff’s Department deputies received a call Sunday from a Georgia woman who had expressed concern over the welfare of her mother, 72-year-old Yurdanur Akozali of Parkgate Drive in Farragut. The woman stated that she had attempted to contact her mother and “had not heard from her for several days.”

Hutchinson said that deputies went to the Farragut address and the woman was not there, though her car was there.

Hutchison added that at “about the same time, we got a call from Putnam County, Baxter, Tenn., from the sheriff in Putnam County, and he tells us that Friday afternoon they found a body in their county. The body had been beaten and burned and they think that maybe it was someone from here.”

The Putnam County sheriff said that his deputies began looking closely at the victim and believed that it was the same woman that Knox County was looking for.

Hutchison said there wasn’t a positive identification at the time because an autopsy had not yet been completed. He added that at the time there were some similarities between the Putnam County victim and the woman Knox County sought.

“At that point,” Hutchison said, “we took criminalistics out west and started looking around, actually looking at the residence and looking at the car, and we found a considerable amount of blood throughout the house … blood spatter throughout the house and what appeared to be, what looked like, where someone had drug a body through the house and out to the garage area.”

The sheriff added that an area was found that looked like where someone had cleaned out the trunk of a vehicle.

The woman also had another residence located in Oak Ridge.

The sheriff said that witnesses in Oak Ridge saw the woman’s car in Oak Ridge Saturday, the day after the woman’s body was found.

“As it turns out,” Hutchison said, “the daughter in Georgia had told officers that: “You need to be looking for my brother. He has problems and he hasn’t been taking his medication for a long time.” The sheriff added that the daughter said her mother was afraid of her brother.

She also told officers that the brother was supposed to be moving back to the area from Cookeville into the Farragut residence, which the victim had purchased for Ellis to live in. The daughter added that her brother wanted to live in Oak Ridge and not West Knox County.

The sheriff said that based on the information, Knox County deputies began a search for the brother. He was apprehended at approximately midnight.

Sheriff’s deputies recovered the alleged murder weapon, a fire extinguisher. Ellis allegedly beat his mother to death, drug her to her car and transported her to an Austin Bottom Road site in Baxter, whereupon he dumped the body and set it on fire.

The family had at one time lived in the Baxter area.

Ellis has been charged with second-degree murder and placed under a $500,000 bond. He is currently housed in the Knox County jail.


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