Watch CBS News

Remains found in search for Food Network contestant, husband

LEICESTER, N.C. -- The remains of two people have been discovered in the search for a missing former Food Network contestant and her husband, a medical examiner confirms to 48 Hours' Crimesider.

It's not clear whether the remains are those of Cristie Codd and her husband Joseph "JT" Codd, of Leicester, North Carolina. Dr. Sharon Sweede, a Buncombe County medical examiner, said the remains have not yet been identified.

"They haven't found anything that would easily ID them," Sweede told Crimesider. "We're not finished."

Sweede said she couldn't comment on what state the remains were in or where they were found. She said the cause of death wasn't finalized, though there are "pretty clear suspicions" about how the two died.

The remains would be sent to the state office of the chief medical examiner in Raleigh for further examination, she said.

Robert Jason Owens, 36, has been charged with killing Cristie Schoen Codd, 38 her husband Joseph "JT" Codd, 45, and Schoen Codd's unborn child. The couple was reported missing Sunday after family members couldn't get in contact with them, reports CBS affiliate WSPA.

Cristie Codd was pregnant, Natalie Bailey, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told 48 Hours' Crimesider Tuesday.

Owens is also the primary person of interest in a 2000 cold case disappearance of 18-year-old student Zebb Quinn, according to the Asheville Police Department.

Cristie Codd was a contestant on Season 8 of the "Food Network Star" and provides catering services on film sets, reports the station. JT Codd worked behind the scenes on TV and movie sets. Friends said they met when they spent four seasons working together on the television show, "Without a Trace," reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.

When investigators responded to their home in Leicester, about 15 miles west of Asheville, there was no sign of them. They reportedly found the couple's cars and two dogs.

Bailey said the couple had hired Owens, also of Leicester, to do some work on their home. The Citizen-Times reports he was a neighbor of the couple. Investigators were still searching the home and were trying to determine a possible motive, Bailey said.

Arrest warrants say police believe Owens killed the couple on Thursday. Then, on Sunday, they allege he broke into their home and stole a laptop, jewelry and a gun, reports WSPA.

According to the Citizen-Times, Owens was seen with 18-year-old Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College student Zebb Quinn before he vanished on Jan. 2, 2000. The disappearance is one of the region's most baffling cold cases, reports the paper.

According to the paper, Quinn worked with Owens, 21 at the time, at an Asheville Walmart. The two had plans to go see a car for sale together that night after work, reports the Citizen-Times.

Owens reportedly told police the two had gotten in a fender-bender and that Quinn promised to pay for the damages before saying he had to leave and driving away.

Two weeks later, investigators found Quinn's car abandoned in the parking lot of a restaurant.

A search warrant authorized investigators to draw hair, blood and saliva samples from Owens, but he was never charged in the case, reports the paper.

"Robert Jason Owens is our primary person of interest in the Zebb Quinn case," Sgt. Dave Romick, a spokesman for the Asheville Police Department, told Crimesider Wednesday. "The Zebb Quinn case is 15 years old - it was never closed, but it certainly went cold."

The department, which is handling the Quinn case, is continuing to follow up on leads, Romick said. He wouldn't comment as to whether Owens would be re-questioned.

"It's certainly a significant event that our primary person of interest has been arrested for two counts of first-degree murder and the murder of an unborn child," he said.

Owens could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole on the murder charges in the Codd case, reports the paper. Prosecutors said they still haven't determined whether they would pursue the death penalty.

Owens remains jailed without bond.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.