Family hopes others learn from hunter's death - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Family hopes others learn from hunter's death

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SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)  --  Janice Franklin wonders if there was anything she could have done to help save her 51-year-old fiance David Layne.

He was found dead days after first calling for help while on a hunting trip. Judging by the evidence at the scene, deputies believe Layne died a couple hours after his ATV flipped while riding along a steep ravine.

"I really didn't know, hey call 911 and this may pinpoint where you're at. I didn't know it and I hope everybody learns that," Franklin said.  

They were engaged for four years. He proposed six months after they met.

"We just had never done it yet, ya know," said Franklin. 

On Thursday afternoon, Franklin got a call from Layne after he had spent the day hunting on Daus Mountain. He said he was badly hurt.

"That's when I called my son and we tried to find him," Franklin said.

The Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department says they got the call to join the search later that night.

"We got all the four wheelers we could out there. That's about the only way you're going to do a search in that mountain area," said Chief Deputy Randall Lockheart.

One day passed, then another. But still no sign of Layne.

"That mountain terrain, its hard to find anybody when you're on foot," Lockheart added.

"Not finding him was very hard. Very, very, very hard. (It's) one of the worst things I ever went through in my life," Franklin said.

Late Sunday afternoon, Franklin learned what she had been dreading. Her fiance was dead.

 "So this should be, show people that it can happen. No matter what, it can happen."

She says Layne wasn't supposed to be alone that day. The man who had planned on going with him couldn't go. She even voiced her concerns to Layne before he left that morning.

"He said, 'I'm a big boy I can take care of myself.' I never dreamed something like this was going to happen," Franklin explained.

Now she's hoping this tragedy will serve as a warning to others.

"Never, never go by yourself, never," said Franklin. "I'm just glad I had him for the time I had him."  

Layne's body was taken to Nashville for an autopsy.


David Layne's family tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that funeral arrangements have been moved up.  Visitation will now be held at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, October 12th at Lane Funeral Home in Palmer.  The funeral will be held there Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 PM. 

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