Claire Cooney kept hidden for a week in a Forest Service campground behind the Coker Creek Welcome Center
Brian Cooney hadn't seen his daughter Claire for over a month. On Sunday her non-custodial mother, along with her "wanted fugitive" traveling companion, and 6 yr. old Claire were spotted walking on Hwy 68 by an alert store owner. It's now presumed they were walking because there was a "BOLO" (be on the lookout) for their vehicle bearing a Minnesota license plate, or had car trouble with their vehicle--regardless, it's likely they were on a typical Sunday walk, and had planned to return to their campsite.
About 3 years ago, a drifter from Alabama made the same secluded campground area near the Welcome Center his base of operations, see Peeping Tom Arrested.
The trio likely (did) visit-as told by P.I. Renee Brewer, the Coker Creek Welcome Center, but did not raise any suspicion--this facility, founded by Don Charest (made up of almost 100% recent Northern move-ins), welcomes newcomers--especially white couples with a school age child... Did the staff ignore the missing child posters?...In 2005, during time of the disappearance/search for Franny Graham, who lived just across the road, no missing person's posters were seen in or around the Welcome Center--in fact, the newly hired contract facility postal worker at the time (Barbara Coleman), said she wasn't told about Franny's disappearance, even 6 months after she started...How could this be?...Well you see, bad publicity is "bad for tourism and land sales."
While the trio traveled through middle TN, they attracted the attention of an alert store owner,--when they arrived in Monroe county, another alert store owner from (Williams Mountain Market) recognized the group from a missing person flyer.