Local News

Wayne County Woman Found Dead In Neuse River

Posted August 20, 2005

— Investigators have ended their search for a missing Wayne County woman whose husband reported her missing just hours before they say killed himself. They have determined the case to be a murder-suicide.

At about 4 p.m. Friday, a diving crew found the body of 48-year-old Brenda Lee Owens in the Neuse River about six miles from the couple's home at

869 Riverbend Road


Sheriff's deputies would not say how Brenda Owens died or where she was killed. In a written statement released Friday afternoon, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said that it appeared that she was thrown into the river and floated down the river before her body was discovered. The body has been sent to the chief medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

According to a report filed at about 6 a.m. Thursday, Brenda Owens was discovered missing at about 1 a.m. Thursday. Authorities later received information from Brenda Owens' family that foul play may have been involved in her disappearance, according to officials.

Authorities said the couple had been having problems and may have been planning to divorce.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. Thursday, deputies found Robert Owens' body behind his residence with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The body has also been sent to the chief medical examiner's office.

Authorities then intensified the search for Brenda Owens with deputies and North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers canvassing a 10-mile radius around the couple's home. The Owens' 14-year-old son also tried to help investigators find his mother.

"They were good people," said Mary Martinez, a neighbor who watched the search unfold Friday. "So, I thought something bad had happened to one of them or both of them, or something. And it's tragic."

Brenda Owens' manager at McCall's Bar-B-Que & Seafood, David Glover, said he had spoken to Robert Owens just a few hours before authorities found his body.

"He called me yesterday morning to let me know that she probably wouldn't be into work because she was missing from home," Glover said.


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