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Tragedy has befallen a former contestant on the reality competition series Food Network Star, Cristie Schoen Codd, who, while pregnant, was murdered last week along with her husband J.T. Codd in Buncombe County, North Carolina. The family’s suspected killer, Robert Jason Owens, has been arrested and formally charged.
Family members reported the Leicester family missing on Sunday after neither of them showed up for out-of-state business trips over the weekend. This was followed by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office picking Owens up on Monday night and taking him in for questioning. He was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday, and according to North Carolina news station WLOS, the arrest warrants stated that he “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice afterthought kill and murder” both of the Codds and their unborn child. Owens was also charged with breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering. He reportedly also stole a laptop, a Glock handgun and some jewelry.
Owens, who lives near the Codds’ home, was said to be hired by the couple to work on their home as a contractor. His property is now the focus of the investigation, though the police are being skittish about sharing facts, unable to say whether or not this is where the bodies were found, or if any bodies were found at all. WLOS reports a neighbor claims there were unusual things occurring at Owens’ residence since Friday, but it’s unclear if this has anything to do with the couple. Owens, who also has reported ties to the 2000 disappearance of Asheville teenager Zeb Quinn, could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
Cristie Codd, born in New Orleans, was part of Season 8 of Food Network Star, where she was unfortunately eliminated in the first episode as part of Team Alton. She was also a well-known caterer within the film industry, and her husband worked as a grip on film sets. Cristie worked on the TV show Big Love, as well as recent films such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Focus and Terminator Genisys. The Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger reached out on Twitter to share his shock.
We at CinemaBlend also send our thoughts and condolences to the Codds’ family and friends during their time of grief.