By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Human remains were found Friday morning near where a pickup truck belonging to a local man missing since 2010 was found submerged in the water.
KPD officers were called to the 1400 block of Island Home Avenue in South Knoxville Thursday afternoon. The caller indicated he saw the wheels of an upside down vehicle protruding from the water.
Officers said no one was in the vehicle and that it had been in the water for an extended period of time.
Police determined the vehicle, a 1996 Ford Ranger pickup, was the same vehicle last seen being driven by Derek Funk who was reported missing in 2010.
"It was a shock. I know it's almost four years. We've been hoping for something and it didn't hit me until later," said Tricia Funk, Derek's mother.
Derek Funk, 19 at the time, left a friend's house the night of May 12 and never made it home.
A dive team with the Knoxville Rescue Squad located human remains in the water Friday morning, but it is not yet known if the remains are Funk's. Officials say it will be sometime next week before the remains can be positively identified.
KPD is processing the vehicle for additional information. KPD says it is working with additional law enforcement agencies to determine if the person whose remains were found died as a result of homicide.
"You always want him to come home alive but if not you want at least their body so you can feel like you've got your son back," said Kevin Funk, Derek's father.
Kevin Funk was in Nashville earlier this week pushing for the passing of legislation allowing victim's photos to be entered into evidence during murder trials. The bill was pushed to a summer study session.
"You always want him to come home alive but if not you want at least their body so you can feel like you've got your son back," he said.
Funk's family held a remembrance ceremony last year so that their son's case wouldn't go cold.
"You take things for granted. You see your son everyday and then all of a sudden, you may never see him again," said Kevin Funk.
Almost four years later, the Funks are hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.
"It's sad, but again, God has answered our prayers, and how can you argue with that?"
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