On September 11, 1985, Fred Myers called authorities to his house in the Island Home neighborhood. The 85-year-old had found the body of a man, tangled in a parachute.
Three months after Thornton plunged to his death, a black bear was found in the north Georgia wilderness, apparently overdosed on cocaine dropped by Thornton.
This WBIR Our Stories episode brought back some memories.
First of all, I knew the Fred Myers mentioned in the story. His wife was a customer of my Mom's beauty shop, which is how our family knew them. I especially remember her (I believe her name was Agnes but I mainly remember her as "Miz Myers") because she was a school teacher who, while sitting under the hair dryer at my Mom's beauty shop, helped teach me to read and write before I went to kindergarten. Later she helped me with my lessons when I went to first grade. They were very nice folks and always drove a nice new Buick.
I recall that in 1960 they were very Republican. She asked me who I liked for President (I was six years old). I told her I liked that nice Mr. Kennedy. She was quite disappointed, but didn't give up on me.
Fast forward several years later, when we bought our first house in Island Home not far from where they lived. Fast forward a few more years when we were living in Florida and I saw this wire story in the Orlando paper. Needless to say it was very weird.
And what's even weirder is that this guy ended up in their back yard, because there were dozens of nearby South Knoxville back yards he could have landed in where the "34 kilograms of uncut cocaine, valued around $15 million" would never have been, uh, recovered.
And here's some interesting background on the guy who landed in their back yard.
Anyway, all this just goes to show you: South Knoxville is a vector for some weird and fascinating stories.
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