Other Victim Is Son
Of Retired Newport
Police Dept. Capt.
BY KEN LITTLE
AND NELSON MORAIS
NEWPORT PLAIN TALK
The focus of the investigation into the murders of 21-year-old Terrence Logan Stewart and 20-year-old Cortney Amber Thompson appears to be shifting to Cocke County.
The bodies of the couple, who had just moved to a Newport apartment last week from Thompson's parents' home in Dandridge, were found about 7 a.m. Sunday under the Newport Highway bridge (U.S. 321) spanning the Nolichucky River.
Both died of apparent gunshot wounds, Greene County Sheriff Steve Burns said.
On Monday morning, Thompson's BMW was found parked at the Blue Ridge Apartments in Newport by law enforcement officials.
Investigators were still searching for Stewart's blue 2000 Honda Accord.
Stewart is the son of Capt. Terry Stewart, a long-time officer with the Newport Police Department, who retired in 2008, according to a departmental spokesperson.
Cortney Thompson and Stewart had been a couple since they were students at Jefferson County High School and had lived with Cortney's parents for the last five months.
They moved to the Uptown Rentals apartments, at 401 West Broadway, in Newport, last week.
Apartment 13, which did not have a number on its door, and Apartment 14, whose door was right next to it, were cordoned off with police tape on Monday.
With investigators on the scene, an employee in the manager's office on Monday afternoon said law enforcement had asked him to not release any information to the public about the couple.
Johnny Thompson, father of Cortney, said Monday that the last time he saw his daughter and Stewart was Friday, when they picked up some possessions to take to their apartment.
COCKE CO. INVESTIGATION
Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said anyone with information about the case, or a tip, can leave it anonymously on the Sheriff's Department website, at http://www.cockecountysd.com
"Homicide investigations are very sensitive to work with, especially early on. We're trying to protect the integrity of the case," Fontes said Monday, in explaining why he could only divulge limited information to the media.
Fontes said he worked on the case with Greene County investigators from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday in an attempt to solve the murders.
"There is foul play in this," he said. "It is a homicide investigation."
Peering into the BMW at the Blue Ridge Apartments about 10 a.m. Monday were two TBI agents, District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General Brownlow Marsh, Fontes, Chief Deputy John Carrell, Administrative Captain Derrick Woods, Cocke County Sheriff's Department Detective Kevin Benton, and Greene County Sheriff's Department Detective Sgt. James "Buddy" Randolph.
"Our prayers and thoughts go out to families in this case. We'll pursue every lead to bring justice to the families and the victims," Fontes said.
DETAILS OF THE CRIME
The last time the couple was seen alive was about 9 or 10 p.m. Saturday, Burns said.
A man who drove down a gravel access road to the river about 7 a.m. Sunday saw the body of Stewart and quickly contacted law enforcement.
The bodies were found along a dirt road by the river near a cattle gate, investigators said.
"Whether or not [the shootings] occurred there or whether or not they were dumped there is still up in the air," Burns said Sunday.
CALL WITH INFORMATION
The Greene County Sheriff's Department is assisted in the investigation by the Cocke County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Cocke County District Attorney General's Office.
The Greene County Sheriff's Department can be reached at (423) 798-1800; the Cocke County Sheriff's Department's number is (423) 623-3064; and the TBI number is 1-800-TBI-FIND.
"Any and all information related to this case is important, so please contact us or the Greene County Sheriff's Department," Fontes said.