08/19/05 — Man shoots himself; wife missing

View Archive

Man shoots himself; wife missing

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on August 19, 2005 2:02 PM

A man's body was found Thursday after he had reported that his wife was missing, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said today.

The man was identified as Robert Owens of 869 River Bend Road. His death was attributed to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Sheriff Carey Winders said a weapon was recovered near Owens' body.

The wife, Brenda Lee Owens, has not been found, detectives said.

Brenda Lee Owens

Brenda Owens

Winders asked any residents who might have seen Mrs. Owens to notify his office at 731-1481. He also asked for people to check their storage areas and ditches.

"This is a tragic thing," he said. "Many people in the community have been shocked."

The couple had been married for 30 years. Detectives said they had been having marital difficulties.

The case started early Thursday when Owens reported that his wife was missing. He said she had been gone since 1 a.m., but he did not report her disappearance until 6 a.m.

The investigation intensified at about 11:45 a.m., when detectives were informed by her family that there might be foul play.

Then Detective Sgt. Carl Lancaster and Capt. George Raecher interviewed Owens in an attempt to get more information.

Owens' body was found at 4:15 p.m. Thursday by the Sheriff's dog team behind his home. The body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.

Winders said an investigation into the death and disappearance was continuing today.

The Sheriff's dive team, search and rescue team, search dogs and handlers, and its helicopter are assisting in the investigation. The State Bureau of Investigation also is assisting at the crime scene.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 731-1481 or Goldsboro-Wayne County Crime Stoppers at 735-2255. Callers may remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward.