Suspect in killing of Food Network finalist had remains in woodstove, police say

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By Faith Karimi and Joe Sutton

CNN

(CNN) — A North Carolina man facing murder charges in the death of a “Food Network Star” contestant had human remains in his woodstove, authorities say.

Robert Jason Owens is accused of killing former contestant Cristie Schoen Codd — who was pregnant at the time — and her husband, Joseph.

Owens worked as a contractor and had done odd jobs for the couple before, authorities said Friday.

Relatives reported the Codds missing Sunday after they failed to reach either of them.

When authorities went to their home, some things looked out of place, which prompted an investigation, according to Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan.

He did not elaborate on what was unusual, but authorities had said earlier that the couple’s cars and dogs were at home.

Suspicious activity

A day after they were reported missing, authorities received a call about suspicious activity around the suspect’s home in Leicester.

“They (caller) identified that someone had come out and very suspiciously had left things in a Dumpster,” Duncan said. “We responded and were able to locate items that we knew belonged to Cristie Schoen Codd.”

When investigators did an initial interview with Owens, he confessed to taking items from the victims’ home, authorities said.

Remains in woodstove

Duncan said they obtained a warrant to search Owens’ home and found human remains.

“Parts of those were recovered from a woodstove at that residence,” Duncan said.

Those remains, he said, are undergoing a forensic analysis to determine whether they belong to the Codds.

Confession to wife?

In addition to the remains, Owens’ wife told investigators that her husband confessed to killing Joseph Codd, according to the sheriff.

Duncan declined to provide details on the motive or whether the suspect confessed to killing Cristie Schoen Codd as well.

“From that point, there’s not really a whole lot of detail we can get into,” he said, citing an ongoing investigation.

Owens has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail. It’s unclear who his attorney is.

Cristie Codd was a finalist on season eight of “Food Network Star,” which airs on the Food Network.

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