Published: September 19, 2013
Fran Hall's search for her son, Marty Weller, ended tragically Wednesday evening.
Weller, a 47-year-old Colorado Springs truck driver who went missing over Labor Day weekend, was found dead in the cab of his rig at a truck stop near Knoxville, Tenn. An autopsy is pending, but officials do not suspect foul play and believe Weller died of natural causes.
Hall got the news shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday after another truck driver spotted her son's Freightliner at the Petro truck stop on Watt Road near Interstate 40. She said the Knox County medical examiner confirmed her son's death early Thursday.
"I wish this could have happened here, because he wouldn't have been alone," said Hall in a phone interview Thursday, overwhelmed with emotion.
Hall and her son's fianc?last heard from Weller at about 10 a.m. on Sept. 1 when he called, using his cellphone. Hall said she repeatedly called Weller over the next couple of days, but he didn't answer.
After getting his truck's alternator fixed near Hurricane Mills, Tenn., Weller apparently drove about 250 miles east on his way to drop off a load of beer in North Carolina. That's when he apparently stopped at the truck stop to rest.
A driver for Wolfsden Enterprises of Salisbury, N.C., took a break at the truck stop on Wednesday and recognized Weller's rig from a description and photo posted on The Missing Truck Driver Alert Network.
Gary Lang, the owner of Wolfsden, said he saw the post and alerted his drivers at the beginning of September to be on the lookout for Weller.
"Something about his story struck me and I couldn't let go of it," Lang said.
By the time Lang's employee reported seeing Weller's truck, emergency responders had already arrived at the truck stop near Knoxville.
Hall said she talked with officials from the Knox County Sheriff's Office who explained that her son was found in the truck with the doors locked.
The truck's ignition was turned to the "on" position and the rig was out of gas. Weller's cellphone was near him in the truck, officials told Hall.
Hall said nothing was missing from the rig.
Authorities assume from their investigation that Weller parked the truck and decided to sleep for a while before continuing on to North Carolina.
According to Hall, the coroner's office did not know how long Weller had been at the truck stop, but noted he was severely decomposed.
The coroner's office asked Hall for identifying marks before performing an autopsy Thursday. Results from the autopsy were not yet available.
Hall said her son was "under a lot of stress" and had diabetes and high blood pressure.
She said even though Weller is dead, simply knowing where he is brings some closure.
"Not knowing was horrific," Hall said. "My mind kept going back to: 'If he's out there, if he's laying in a ditch, would we ever know where he is?'"