KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Police confirmed that a body found in a lake near Knoxville was that of an Alabama woman last seen at a local motel more than a week ago and said the case was being investigated as a homicide.
The body discovered by a fisherman in Melton Hill Lake on Saturday was that of 21-year-old Jennifer Lee Hampton, Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Monday.
"The cause of death can not be released at this time due to the ongoing investigation," DeBusk said. "The death of Ms. Hampton is being investigated as a homicide."
Separately, WNOX reported police had arrested two illegal immigrants during the search for Hampton, but wouldn't say if they believe the two men were linked to the case.
Family attorney Eddie Daniel told a news conference earlier that Hampton's relatives believed the body was hers based on the description.
"I wish we'd had a better outcome, but we just don't think that's going to happen," Daniel said.
Hampton, a former homecoming queen from Waterloo, Ala., disappeared Sept. 19 from a Knoxville motel during a business trip here to train staff for a new restaurant.
Fisherman David Goode told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he found the victim's nude body floating about 10 feet from the bank of the lake, less than 10 miles from the motel.
Hampton's family planned to return to Alabama to arrange services for "Jenny." Her twin sister, Michelle, has been in Knoxville since Saturday. Daniel said Hampton's ambition was to become a nurse, to help others.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)