KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee Most Wanted List fugitive who had been on the run since July 2021 after escaping from an East Tennessee jail has been found dead in Mexico, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Monday.

Charles Kennedy, 35, who was found dead in Mexico, had been wanted out of Fentress County for his escape with inmate Casey Ridenour on Monday, July 19, 2021. The two inmates were seen on Tinchtown Road near the Highland Manor Winery after escaping from the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department. Officials said Kennedy and Ridenour took a correctional officer’s car, reaching speeds of 130 miles per hour and stopped at the end of Delk Street in Jamestown before continuing on foot. Riddenour was captured the next day, while Kennedy remained at large.

Kennedy was then added to the TBI’s Tennessee Top 10 Most Wanted list. The criteria needed for a fugitive to be added to the TBI Most Wanted list includes the following:

  • The crime must have been committed in Tennessee and the crime committed must be a “violent felony” and/or major drug trafficking crime (Class A felony); and
  • The perpetrator must have been identified, and a warrant must be on file for the perpetrator’s arrest; or
  • The perpetrator has escaped from a Tennessee jail or detention facility; or
  • The perpetrator must have escaped from the Tennessee Department of Correction.
  • The Director or his designee must approve the addition of the fugitive to the “Top Ten Most Wanted” list.

It was unknown as of Monday in which part of Mexico Kennedy was found or the circumstances leading to his body being found. Check back for updates.