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Man Arrested, Charged With Murder In Fayette Co. Missing Woman Case

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Police have arrested a man and charged him with murder in the case of a missing Fayette County woman.

According to police, 32-year-old Thomas Teets has been charged in the murder of 31-year-old Leah Marie Owens, a mother of two.

Owens was reported missing on Sept. 17. After an extensive search, her vehicle was found on Sept. 25, in a secluded area of Fairview Road in Springfield Township. Police found blood inside the vehicle during a search, along with a broken folding knife.

(Source: Pennsylvania State Police)

On Oct. 24, test results confirmed Owens' blood was present on the knife and inside the vehicle. The tests also confirmed Teets' blood was also present on the knife and interior of the vehicle.

Owens' body was located Thursday evening. That's when police converged on a rural road above West Leisenring, Fayette County. Sources say Teets agreed to show investigators where the victim was buried.

The site was later secured for the night, with officials expected to return to the rural area Friday morning to continue the investigation.

On Facebook, Owens' sister posted a message saying, "The truth always comes out. She did not deserve this. My heart is forever broken."

KDKA's Ross Guidotti Reports --

Her family also released an official statement. It reads in part:

"We wish to thank everyone in the community for their love, support, and assistance in helping us to bring Leah home. Today we finally received the information we have been longing for, after 41 excruciating days. Leah's body has been recovered and we can now begin the process of healing. We are comforted by the amazing, hysterical, and loving memories that we have of her. No one can take those from us. We are committed to keeping her memory alive through her two beautiful children."

Teets was the last one seen with Owens before she disappeared. He was seen driving her truck outside of a Walmart after she had picked up money, which was transferred to her. That money was then used to buy drugs.

While Teets maintains Owens dropped him off and she drove away, his ex-girlfriend's father told police Teets later showed up asking for a shovel and a rake. He said Teets also appeared anxious and worked up.

Teets' stepdad told police his stepson returned home covered in blood.

Teets said he had cut his hand. But according to police papers, Teets later told an acquaintance that he lost his mind and kept stabbing Owens. His mother told police that he admitted to killing Owens in self-defense.

Teets is facing a list of charges including criminal homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, theft, abuse of a corps and tampering with evidence. He was taken back to the Fayette County Prison on Thursday night.

He has an extensive criminal history, which includes felony drug charges and two DUIs.

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