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Sheriff's Office: Man who reported first Cocke County animal attack facing marijuana charge

Charles Everett Owensby, 69, is listed as reporting the first of two animal attacks in April off Jimtown Road to the Cocke County Sheriff's Office.

COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. — UPDATE JULY 28: The man who reported the first of two violent Cocke County animal attacks is now facing a marijuana charge, according to the Cocke County Sheriff's Office.

Chief Josh Hartsell, the county jail administrator, said the marijuana charge was the only charge he knew of for Charles Everett Owensby, 69.

The CCSO said a SWAT team executed a search warrant at the property of Owensby's ex-wife Cecilia McCarter in the Edwina community. Owensby was located at the scene and arrested for possession of marijuana, and an aggressive dog was taken into custody, Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said.

Investigators collected DNA from two other dogs at the location that belonged to other people in two separate homes on the property. Fontes said deputies had probable cause to seize the animals. 

While searching the scene, officers located a shallow grave at the property containing a dead dog. Investigators collected DNA from it and seized a vehicle owned by Owensby to undergo forensic processing.

RELATED: Aggressive dog taken into custody after Cocke Co. SWAT team executes search in deadly animal attacks investigation

In April, Owensby reported finding 52-year-old Tony Ahrens, who had wounds across his body.

Ahrens was lying at the intersection of Carnation Way and Jimtown Road with torn and bloody clothing, according to an incident report. That's where Owensby lives.

Three and a half months later, 29-year-old Amber Miller was found in the same spot. A witness told deputies that Miller was "screaming for help and saying 'Please don't let me die.'"

She was found at the same intersection in the yard of 522 Jimtown Road, with "three dogs standing around [her] and 'licking' the wounds where she had been attacked."

Miller later died.

Autopsies were pending to determine the exact cause of death in both cases.

UPDATE JULY 26: A person of interest has been identified in connection with two deaths involving animals in Cocke County, according to the sheriff.

Sheriff Armando Fontes told 10News that his office would not release the name at this time as the investigation continues. He said a search warrant was executed in relation to the deaths and they are "making some strides."

Autopsies are pending to determine the exact cause of death in both cases.

Original story

On April 1, the Cocke County Sheriff's Office found 52-year-old Tony Ahrens unresponsive with cuts across his entire body and flesh missing from his left arm.

He was lying on the ground at the intersection of Carnation Way and Jimtown Road with torn and bloody clothing, according to the incident report.

"It was just astonishing," said Terry Kirkpatrick, who lives off Jimtown Road and was friends with Tony Ahren. "I see him every day, talk to him every day, we hang out every day."

Three and a half months later, 29-year-old Amber Miller was found in the same spot. A witness told deputies that Miller was "screaming for help and saying 'please don't let me die.'"

She was found at the same intersection in the yard of 522 Jimtown Road, with "three dogs standing around [her] and 'licking' the wounds where she had been attacked."

"It's pretty dangerous just to walk through where I live," Kirkpatrick said. "I don't want anybody else getting hurt."

Credit: WBIR

RELATED: 2 deadly animal attacks under 'strong investigation' in Cocke County, deputies say

Documents obtained by 10News show the address of the attack belongs to Charles Everett Owensby, who reported the first attack.

Owensby, 69, has a history of criminal charges, although many of them have been dismissed.

In 2014, court affidavits show his "dog was on the front porch and became aggressive with [Newport] police." The documents said Owensby ran out the back door after police identified themselves.

At the time, they were serving a warrant for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, reckless endangerment with a weapon, aggravated assault and violating an order of protection.

The charges stemmed from a 2014 gas station brawl in which Charles Olden told Newport Police that Owensby approached him with a gun, pointed it in his face and screamed "we're going to end this today."

Credit: WBIR

Olden said Owensby then struck him in the face with the hand gun, told his dog to attack Olden and then attempted to run Olden over.

Most of those counts were dismissed, although he was found guilty and fined for evading arrest and attempted assault.

Charges are still pending against him in a 2018 aggravated domestic assault case, according to the Cocke County Circuit Court.

There are numerous other assault and battery charges listed on Owensby's record, including ones from Georgia and Florida. 

10News is continuing to search for answers in the deaths of Amber Miller and Tony Ahrens. 

We asked whether any action has been taken against animals in the area and whether they were owned by Owensby.

Cocke County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy C.J. Ball told 10News those questions are "still part of the ongoing investigation and cannot be answered at this time."