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‘Person of interest’ identified in Cocke Co. animal attack case

According to Sheriff Fontes, a search warrant has been executed but officials are not identifying the person of interest to, “preserve the integrity of the investigation.”
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 2:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 3:12 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes confirmed investigators have identified a person of interest in the investigation into two separate animal attacks along Jimtown Road.

Sam Luther has asked The Cocke Co. Sheriff's Office for details on the Newport attacks. More: https://bit.ly/3BSFGIf

Posted by WVLT on Monday, July 26, 2021

According to Sheriff Fontes, a search warrant has been executed but officials are not releasing the identity of the person of interest to, “preserve the integrity of the investigation.”

Fontes said no animals have been confiscated or taken by law enforcement at this point. Standard protocol for the sheriff’s office calls for the animal to be taken when an arrest is made.

Due to the ongoing investigation, officials said they could not confirm what animals were involved in the attack or whether both attacks were done by the same animals.

WVLT obtained records that revealed the man who reported the first of the two animal attacks, Charles Owensby, was previously accused of ordering his dogs to attack a man, prompting an aggravated assault and an evading police charge. To protect the investigation, Sheriff Fontes said he could not answer as to whether Owensby is a suspect.

Owensby is listed as the original complainant on a Cocke County Sheriff’s Office incident report after the body of Tony Ahrens was found near his property on Jimtown Road on April 1. The report described Ahrens as having lacerations on his entire body and flesh missing on his left arm. An autopsy was performed to determine what type of animal may have been responsible for Ahren’s death.

The second victim, 29-year-old Amber Miller, was attacked in the same area on July 12. According to the report, officials were told by witnesses that Miller was found at 522 Jimtown Road asking for help. Three dogs were spotted around Miller licking the wounds where she had been attacked, the report said.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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