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Former officer charged with sex crimes turns self in

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By Beth Braden

Former LaFollette Police Department officer Michael Shane Baker is behind bars. He turned himself into Claiborne County Deputies early Monday morning. He was the target of a multi-agency, two-month manhunt that landed him on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 10 most-wanted list.

Baker,39, of 802 W. Jacksboro Road in New Tazewell, contacted a captain at the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department to say he was tired of running, according to Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray.

On July 11, a Campbell County Grand Jury indicted Baker on 22 counts of especially aggravated exploitation of a minor and 21 counts of solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor after he allegedly had  “inappropriate contact with an underage female via the Internet and texts.” The victim is a Georgia resident.

After the indictment was issued, members of the LaFollette Police Department and the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department began searching for Baker.

“Evidently he just kind of divorced himself from society,” Ray said. Baker had been living in the woods and along Norris Lake in Claiborne County.

It was just after midnight Monday morning when Baker called to tell Honeycutt he was ready to surrender.

“Honeycutt has been to his [Baker’s] mother’s home numerous times and I guess he’s kindly been aggravated with us coming to his mother’s house at all odd hours of the night and so on, and he decided he’d had enough. He’d lost several pounds staying out in the woods and along the lake, I suppose,” Ray said.

Baker was arrested without incident just after 2 a.m. Monday morning.

Baker’s former supervisor, LaFollette Police Chief Jimmy Jeffries, is thankful Baker was arrested without incident.

“We were worried it would be bad,” he said.

In photos released to the public during the summer, Baker was clean-shaven and bald. When deputies arrested him, he had grown out his hair and beard, and had lost approximately 40 pounds, Ray said.

On Tuesday morning, Baker was transported to the Campbell County Jail Tuesday morning for processing.

“We have notified the victim and the family. They were happy, they were extremely concerned,” said Lt. Monty Miller with the LaFollette Police Department.

Baker will be arraigned in Campbell County Criminal Court on Oct. 29. His bail is currently set at $100,000. He remains in the Claiborne County Jail.