WLOS: Crew with shovels, sniffer dogs on Leicester property of murder suspect


The Hookers Gap Road property where Jason Owens lived in Candler. Photo by Jason Sandford

WLOS reports this afternoon that a search crew with shovels and sniffer dogs is on the Leicester property of a homicide suspect charged with first-degree murder two weeks ago.

Buncombe County deputies were on site, as well, according to WLOS, which is reporting that the search crew is combing the property of Robert Jason Owens of Owens Cove Road, just off Hookers Gap Road. He is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 38-year-old Cristie Codd and her husband, 45-year-old J.T. Codd, who also lived just of Hookers Gap Road nearby. Deputies also charged Owens with the murder of an unborn child. Cristie Codd was reportedly five-months pregnant.

Cristie Codd was a contestant on season eight of the Food Network show. She worked as a caterer on film sets, and her husband worked in the film industry as well, as a camera crew member.

The case has garnered national media coverage.

Owens knew the Codds well, according to reports and to Sheriff Van Duncan, who briefed media about the case about a week ago in a rare press conference. Duncan said investigators found what they believe to be human remains in a wood stove in a trailer on the property – a structure that mysteriously went up in flames four days after Owens’ arrest. Duncan said the fire is suspicious, and it is being investigated.

Owens was identified as a person of interest in the case of Zebb Quinn, who disappeared in January 2000. Owens was one of he last people seen with Quinn before his disappearance. Police gathered DNA evidence from Owens during their investigation, which went cold. The body of the then 18-year-old Quinn has never been found.