The Pigeon Forge Police Department confirmed Monday a young woman who was stabbed to death in that city Jan. 8 was a resident of Newport. The department had not previously released the hometown of the victim.
Pigeon Forge Chief Detective Matt Pendelton said Savannah Burford, 19, and her family moved to Cocke County from Michigan in November 2019.
Burford was employed at the Sunliner Diner, a 1950s-themed diner, as a waitress. As she left work, she was approached by a fellow employee, Gabriel Enrique Turcios, 18, of Sevierville. Turcios was talking to Burford in the parking lot when he allegedly stabbed the victim.
Burford’s mother, Julia Cutter, witnessed the fatal stabbing.
The mother told police, “When I got there, she couldn’t even scream when that guy was stabbing her. That’s how fast he did it. She didn’t even scream.”
Bond has been set at $1 million for the defendant, who is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Turcios will be represented by a public defender at his preliminary hearing which is scheduled for March 6 in Sevier County General Sessions Court.
The defendant allegedly admitted to stabbing Burford, and told police he had been thinking about stabbing her for days. Police say the attack was captured on security cameras at the diner.