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Arrest made in case of missing Tennessee teen Savannah Pruitt

MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) - The Monroe County Sheriff's Office confirms there has been an arrest related to the disappearance of 14-year-old Savannah Pruitt.

The girl's adoptive father, Randall Pruitt, was booked into the Monroe County jail this afternoon. He's charged with rape and is being held without bond. 

It is not clear how this may be connected to the teen's disappearance. 

The sheriff's office is not providing any other details, including the circumstance of the arrest or whether Pruitt's daughter has been found.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it is assisting.

The missing East Tennessee teen was last seen at her home over two weeks ago.

With local experts coming in from all over the country, plus four states now involved in the search for 14-year-old Savannah Leigh Pruitt, has put the family in the spotlight as they hope their daughter, sister, "farm girl" - is brought back home safe. 

Savannah Leigh Pruitt was last seen at her Madisonville residence on January 13, 2019.

Investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said her phones were last pinged just over the state line in Corbin, Ky. the following day.

We now know she was last seen heading to bed around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13. Her siblings found her bedroom window open the next morning and said some of her clothes and bed sheets were missing.

Savannah's parents and three other siblings are still reeling from the tragedy of Savannah’s mysterious disappearance... while combatting negative speculation now that her story has been seen nationwide.

WATE 6 On Your Side's Gabriella Pagán visited the distraught family at their farmhouse in Madisonville on Wednesday, Jan. 30. 

While there, Monroe County Sheriff's Office officials were actively investigating Savannah's bedroom, taking her hair brush for DNA analysis and searching the family's 20-plus acres on foot for any kind of trace.

Their main focus was her bedroom. On her wall, a handwritten chore-list for her working the family's farm, which has horses, pigs, ducks and dogs. Savannah took care of the animals she loved. Her laptop has since been returned to its place in her bedroom following an analysis by investigators. Her calendar had plans for the following weekend, before her disappearance that Sunday night. 

The Pruitt's driveway alone was nearly a mile up the mountain. Cell service was near-nonexistent and the house itself is situated on an isolated mountain road. 

Randall and Christina Pruitt say they have been overwhelmed with the response - and criticism - received since their daughter vanished without a trace earlier this month. 

“I’ve seen a lot of attacks like 'how do you not know where your daughter is sleeping,' 'how do you not know if something went wrong' - you go to bed do you think everything is fine, you wake up and it’s all changed and at times it is more than you can bear," says Randall Pruitt. 

Savannah’s mother Christina mentioned in Friday’s news conference that she "'had' her sunshine taken away".... using the past tense of the word, but not meaning to indicate anything other than her grief. 

“If I knew where she was I would go find — I would go get her, I want her back, I’m not saying anything in past tense,” Christina Pruitt said Wednesday. “I’ve never done this before. I’m just as simple as anybody else, I mean I am just a typical nobody, just like everybody else.”

A mother's worry - put out for all the world to see. And, according to the Pruitts, assert critical opinions.  

“But everything that they are saying, do they not understand that we are already there? Like, we have already been there - we are wondering is she OK? Does she have food? Is she clothed? Does she have a roof over her head? Is she in harms way? I mean, we — ask this to ourselves. But everything that they are saying, do they not understand that we are already there?"

Savannah is 5'3", 110 lbs with blonde hair and blue eyes. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have joined the search.

Anyone who has any information on where Savannah might be is asked to call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-Find. You can also call the Monroe County Sheriff's Office at 423-442-3911. 


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