Aspiring minister’s death ‘appears accidental:’ BCSO

A body discovered Monday afternoon, Feb. 5, in George’s Creek in Louisville has been positively identified as a local college student and aspiring minister — who reportedly was last known to have visited Admiral Farragut Park, near Pellissippi Parkway, Saturday, Feb. 3.

Blount County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 6, through a statement it released that initial autopsy reports indicated Blake Smith, 20, died of a combination of hypothermia and drowning.

His death “appears to be accidental,” the report further stated.

Smith, from Trussville, Alabama, was first reported missing on Sunday, Feb. 4, more than 12 hours after he had posted an Instagram picture that identified Admiral Farragut Park as his location.

Reportedly it was his last known communication.

Smith’s parents, who live in Alabama, were unable to contact him and notified authorities.

His 2014 Toyota Camry was located later Sunday, where it had crashed into a deck under construction at a home on Ballard’s Way, a dirt road just off of East Old Topside Road. It was roughly seven miles from the park.

The car was running, its doors reportedly were open and a cinder block was positioned on top of the gas pedal, reports stated.

Smith’s cell phone was discovered on the passenger seat, and some of his personal belongings were found outside the vehicle.

His body was found less than a mile away Monday with assistance from a BCSO drone.

Dr. Clarence Sexton, founder and president of The Crown College in Powell where Smith was a junior, described him as being “exemplary in every way,” during a nearly two-minute video on the school’s Facebook page.

“He was an outstanding student,” Sexton added. “And, he told his family the greatest days of his life were spent here on this campus.

“He was just a great young man.”

Smith was studying for the ministry, and several YouTube videos from Mountain View Baptist Church in Birmingham show Smith preaching from the pulpit — one as recently as New Year’s Eve.