Tennessee mom looks for answers in son’s cold case: ‘I just want to bury my son’

Oct 20, 2023, 5:14 PM | Updated: 5:15 pm

A step inside Tracy City’s Dutch Maid Bakery is a step back in time. But for owner Cindy Day, a m...

A step inside Tracy City’s Dutch Maid Bakery is a step back in time. But for owner Cindy Day, a memorial at the front of the store is the memento that means the most. It’s for her son, Josh Day. (WSMV)


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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — For three years, parents of a Grundy County man have wondered what happened the day their son went off to ride ATVs with friends and never returned. It’s questions the TBI has as well.

A step inside Tracy City’s Dutch Maid Bakery is a step back in time. But for owner Cindy Day, a memorial at the front of the store is the memento that means the most. It’s for her son, Josh Day.

In July 2020, a last-minute change in plans would become the final time she spoke to him.

“I said, ‘Josh, your daddy is going to be so disappointed, he wanted you to go camping with him.’” Cindy recalls. “He said, ‘I know mom, I have this one thing I have to do, and I can’t get out of it.’”

“Did you have any idea what that one thing was?” asked WSMV4′s Marissa Sulek.

“No,” said Cindy. “If we only knew what that one thing was, that would have changed the course of our history to say the least.”

Josh Day ended up riding ATVs with two other friends near the Fiery Gizzard Trail. That night, Cindy said those friends called her husband saying her 32-year-old son was nowhere to be found.

“And my heart just sank,” said Cindy. “And as a parent it’s like you can feel when something is wrong with your kids. And at that moment my heart, whole chest felt like it had an elephant sitting on it and I knew something was really really really wrong.”

Wrong enough to call law enforcement and volunteers who walked the woods trying to find Josh.

“They ended up locating his four-wheeler and they located what looks like a makeshift firepit that had some rocks around it,” said Gerrit Graves, Special Agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.

He’s the agent on Josh’s case. Three years after he disappeared, they still can’t find his body or any evidence of what might have happened.

“Have you found anything to ensure that this is criminal?” asked Sulek.

“Neither way,” said Graves. “Neither him just walking off or criminal at this point.”

“What is unique about this case than any other case?” Sulek asked.

“That there is no sign of him at all,” Graves answered.

At this point, Josh’s disappearance is a missing person case.

As for the two friends who went riding ATVs with him, they’ve been questioned.

“I believe everyone is a person of interest until we find Josh,” said Graves. “But they have been interviewed and they have been polygraphed.”

Cindy believes they still have something to do with it.

“The two people that he was with – do you know them?” asked Sulek.

“I do,” replied Cindy. “It is a small town. When I go into the dollar store, sometimes they are there, and it’s very very hard for me. I try my very best not to hold a grudge, not to be angry and bitter and all those things. But sometimes, I’m sorry, it’s hard to look at them and see them. So, sometimes I have to turn around and walk away. I can’t do it.”

Cindy thinks Josh’s body is lying somewhere along the Fiery Gizzard Trail.

“Is there any part of you who things he might still be alive?” asked Sulek.

“Not an inch,” said Cindy.

She has just one hope, for closure.

“I just want to bury by son, that’s all I want,” Cindy said.

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Tennessee mom looks for answers in son’s cold case: ‘I just want to bury my son’