Marshals Service joins search for alleged rapist

William Madison Swafford

The U.S. Marshals Service has joined the manhunt for accused rapist and kidnapper William Madison Swafford, a 41-year-old Cocke County man who jumped a $350,000 bond and failed to appear in Hamblen County General Sessions Court on Nov. 14, authorities say.

Detective Sgt. David Stapleton with the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department says investigators have received unconfirmed reports that Swafford may have left the state.

On Nov. 2, Swafford allegedly raped a 27-year-old woman he met at a sports bar in South Hamblen County. Following the alleged sexual assault in southeast Hamblen County, the woman escaped from Swafford’s vehicle, and at one point jumped into the Nolichucky River to elude the defendant.

Swafford denied raping the woman and keeping her against her will, according to HCSD Detective Jim Brooks, who reported the woman had bruises on her body, along with cuts on her face and head that apparently were caused by blunt-force trauma.

Those with information about Swafford’s location are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s department at 423-586-3781, or the nonemergency dispatch number 423-585-2701.