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Food Network reality star, husband missing; neighbor charged with murder

Deputies in Buncombe County, North Carolina said the search for a missing Leicester couple ended with a murder arrest. The man charged was once the suspect in a missing person’s case from 2000 that remains unsolved, deputies said.

Cristie Schoen Codd, 38, and her husband Joseph “JT” Codd, 45 were reported missing by family members on Sunday, March 15, according to the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.

The couple’s vehicles were found at their residence along with their two dogs.

On Monday night, a neighbor’s home was seen taped off and flood lights were pointing on the yard. Detectives were seen taking pictures of the property and going in and out of the home. The home is about a half mile from the Codd’s residence.

The neighbor’s truck was also towed from the home.

A witness told FOX Carolina the neighbor was taken into custody.

On Tuesday morning, deputies confirmed that Robert Jason Owens had been charged with two counts of first degree murder, one count of murder of an unborn child, breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering.

Arrest warrants state that Owens “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice afterthought kill and murder” Cristie and JT Codd and their unborn child on March 12.

Warrants also state that Owens broke into the Codds’ home on Sunday and stole a laptop computer, jewelry and a Glock handgun.

Deputies have not yet released information about a motive in the case.

Deputies said Owens was also a suspect in the January 2000 disappearance of Asheville teenager Zeb Quinn. That case remains unsolved. Read more about the Quinn case here.

Only FOX Carolina’s cameras were present when Owens made his first appearance in court Tuesday morning (Watch the exclusive raw video here). A judge read the charges against Owens and apprised him of the penalties he could face if convicted. The judge stated that the maximum penalty Owens could face for each murder charge is death or life in prison without parole. Owens requested a court-appointed attorney and a follow up court date was scheduled for April.

Cristie Codd was a competitor on season 8 of Food Network Star on the Food Network. Cristie Codd posted a photo of herself with her teammates from “Team Alton” on her Facebook page.

Family members said the couple was expecting a child later this year. Cristie Codd was five months pregnant, according to a friend near the search site.

A friend of the Codds said that JT worked as a key grip on Hollywood films and that Cristie provided catering services on film sets. The friend said the couple was sometimes away for months at a time.

A family member posted on Facebook that both Cristie and JT were scheduled to begin working on new movies on Sunday but neither made it to their destinations. The post stated that JT was scheduled to begin work in Los Angeles and that Cristie was due to begin work in Biloxi, MS.

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