One year later: No charges in dog attack case as investigation continues

Two people in Cocke County died within months of each other in animal attacks. A year after the second one, questions remain.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:19 PM EDT
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COCKE CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - It has been a year since a woman was killed in a Cocke County animal attack, sparking questions yet to be answered. A Cocke County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said the investigation continues while they wait on additional evidence.

It was July 12, 2021, when Amber Miller, 29, was killed in a dog attack along Jimtown Road, a report stated. Witnesses told officials that Miller was found at 522 Jimtown Road asking for help. The report noted three dogs were spotted around Miller licking the wounds where she had been attacked.

Witnesses were able to take Miller to the hospital, where medical staff described her injuries as severe, noting her calf was “ripped off,” and her arms were “barely attached to her body,” the report shared.

However, Miller wasn’t the first to die from an animal attack on the same stretch of road. According to a report, Tony Ahrens’ body was found with lacerations on his entire body and flesh missing on his arm on April 1, 2021. An autopsy was performed to determine what animal may have been responsible for Ahrens’ death.

During an investigation, Cocke County officials named Charles Owensby as a person of interest. After Ahrens’ body was found near his property, Owensby was listed as the original complainant on a sheriff’s office incident report.

On July 28, 2021, SWAT officers executed a search warrant on Owensby, 69, according to officers with the CCSO. Officers said, “an aggressive dog was taken into custody.” As of almost a year later, it remains in custody.

Officers also said ���an aggressive dog was taken into custody.��� DNA was also collected from...
Officers also said ���an aggressive dog was taken into custody.��� DNA was also collected from two other dogs.(Cocke Co. Sheriff's Office)

DNA was collected from two other dogs that were not Owensby’s but resided on the property. Officers also located a shallow grave at the property containing a deceased dog which they collected more DNA.

As of the latest development in the investigation, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab completed testing on forensic evidence in April. The sheriff’s office now said they’re waiting for additional bite mark evidence to be processed by a private company. After that evidence is collected, the District Attorney’s Office will determine if they have a case.

Regina Jozefek, Miller’s aunt, told WVLT News she is still hoping to learn more about her niece’s death.

“It’s hard to feel complete when you don’t know; you just don’t know; that’s the hard part, not knowing,” said Jozefek. “I know she had her issues and stuff but that was just a horrific way to die; the thoughts and feelings she had going through this, trying to fight, fight for her life.”

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