Media Release Cocke County Sheriff’s Office
Press Release: On April 1, 2021 the Cocke County Sheriffs Office received an e911 call concerning a male individual lying unresponsive on Jim Town Road who had possibly been hit by a car. Upon arrival Tony Ahrens was found unresponsive with several injuries which Investigators were not able to determine the cause of the injuries. There was no information and no apparent evidence of dogs being involved at the time. Investigators did see injuries that could have been consistent with some sort of animal in the Ahrens case, but rely on forensics and other special investigators to determine what caused the injuries. This investigation began with very little evidence and no witnesses. The E911 caller was identified as Charles Owensby who resided on Jim Town Road. Neighbors and other persons who lived near the scene were interviewed. Forensic evidence was gathered at the scene and an autopsy was requested by the sheriffs office. ON July 12, 2021 The Newport Medical Center contacted the CCSO concerning an injured female that arrived at the hospital with significant injuries. Investigators were called to the hospital and began an investigation. The victim Amber Miller was uncooperative with investigators. Investigators once again had little evidence to act upon, but eventually was able to determine Miller sustained injuries on or near the property of Charles Owensby. Unfortunately Miller passed away and an autopsy was requested to determine the cause of death. We are currently waiting on a forensic report and specialist to determine what caused the injuries. As we continued the investigation in both cases we do have evidence that, at the time of the death of Tony Ahrens the use of Methamphetamine was a contributing factor in this case. The location of Ahrens incident likely occurred next to the roadway a short distance from Charles Owensby’s residence. And we are still working to determine what caused the injuries to Tony Ahrens. We will release the cause of death at a later date upon completion of the ongoing investigation. On 7-19-2021 A search warrant was served on the property of Charles Owensby and a forensic team from the TBI collected and gathered evidence from the residence and property. After locating Charles Owensby a few days later he was interviewed, along with several other persons and a witness in which the CCSD was able to locate. Once again several persons were interviewed in hopes to gather more evidence. On July 28, 2021 at 6:00 am Officers with the CCSD utilized the Swat Team to execute a search warrant at the residence of Charles Owensby’s ex wife Cecilia McCarter in the Edwina community. Owensby was arrested at the scene for possession of Marijuana Schedule 6 and an aggressive dog was taken into custody. Investigators collected DNA from two other dogs at the location that belonged to other persons in two separate residences on the property. All animal seizures was done in accordance of probable cause, and Tennessee laws. Officers located a shallow grave at the property containing a deceased dog and DNA was collected. Officers also took possession of a vehicle owned by Owensby to be forensically processed. AT THIS TIME this case heavily relies on forensic science. AT THIS TIME we do not have any evidence that indicates that there is a wild animal, domestic animal, or pack of animals that is frequenting the Jim Town area attacking people. WE HOWEVER are asking people to be cautious in the area as we wait on forensic reports that take a month or so. WE ARE ASKING PEOPLE to please contact us with any information concerning either of theses cases or if they have had any incidents involving dogs owned by Owensby that have not been reported. Once we conclude a thorough, investigation, have all evidence, all witnesses, and anything that pertains to these cases we will present the FACTS to a grand jury for criminal indictments against any person involved in this case. Prematurely charging any individual with out all facts may result in a dismissal of the case and justice for these victims will not be served. Our department has worked numerous hours on these cases, processed evidence, requested the assistance of outside agencies, executed two search warrants, performed surveillance and has worked to protect the integrity of all evidence. We have also worked hard to keep potential suspects from knowing what we know that is why we are not able to release specific details to the family, community, and media. I am very proud of the work all members of our Criminal Investigation Division, Patrol Division, Narcotic Division, and Administration who has assisted in two extremely difficult cases. There will be no more information released in these case until a criminal indictment is acquired and served.
I will not be doing an interview or answering any more questions at this time. Thank you.
— Sheriff Armando Fontes
Cocke County Sheriff’s Office
111 Court Avenue
Newport, TN 37821 423-623-6004