Death of teen girl whose body was found in Monteagle parking lot ruled a homicide

Staff file photo / The Marion County Justice Center, where the state leases office space for its probation department.
Staff file photo / The Marion County Justice Center, where the state leases office space for its probation department.

The death of a teen girl whose body was found in a Monteagle restaurant parking lot in October has been ruled a homicide by state investigators.

"The TBI has a lead investigator who has been running down a lot of leads, but they didn't have any suspects the last I'd talked to them," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said by phone.

Burnett said he hadn't spoken with the girl's family recently.

(READ MORE: 'Sexploitation' lands Monteagle man in jail on two counts alleging misconduct with minors)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified the girl as Nahomi Hernandez, 14, believed to have been living in a home not far from the restaurant where her body was found, authorities said at the beginning of the investigation in October. Initially, she was erroneously reported to be 16 years old.

Hernandez's body was found Oct. 8 in the parking lot of Mi Casa restaurant on West Main Street in Monteagle, authorities said.

The day following the girl's discovery, investigators said an off-duty Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy made the report after he spotted her lying on her back in the middle of the parking lot in the 1200 block of West Main Street on top of Monteagle Mountain. The restaurant is west of Interstate 24 where it bisects the mountaintop town that straddles the border of Marion, Franklin and Grundy counties.

(READ MORE: Cleveland man held on $500,000 bond after failing to appear in court ahead of murder trial)

TBI spokesperson Susan Niland said the state agency has classified the probe as a homicide investigation but could add little else.

"It remains active and ongoing at this time," she said in an email.

Contact Ben Benton at [email protected] or 423-757-6569.

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