The unsolved disappearance of Zebb Quinn

The unsolved mystery of Zebb Quinn's disappearance technically is, indeed, unsolved — even though a culprit has been charged. Here's the explanation. 

On January 2, 2000, Zebb Quinn, an 18-year-old employee at a North Carolinian Walmart, disappeared after his shift. Citizen Times describes the last sight of Zebb Quinn, catching him and Robert Jason Owens, one of his coworkers, buying soft drinks. They were going to drive in separate vehicles to check out a new car. Suddenly, according to Owens, Quinn pulled to the side, and having said he received an urgent message, proceeded to rear-end Owens, and drove away. Owens went to the hospital, saying he had been in a second accident. The next day, he called as Quinn saying that he would not be able to make it to work. Later, he would explain that Quinn called, asking him to do this for him.

Four days later, Quinn's car was found in a parking lot. A pair of lips were drawn on the back window, and a still-alive puppy was inside. Neither a living Quinn or his corpse was anywhere near the body. The Asheville police investigated this as a homicide, but their investigation went nowhere.

Another murder

The case went nowhere for fifteen years, until Owens was arrested on March 16 on suspicion of ... murdering Christie Schoen Codd, according to Citizen Times, a Food Network Star contestant, and her husband, Joseph. He apparently dismembered their bodies, and attempted to dispose of them in his wood stove. Kevin Taylor, the city police detective, remembered that Owens had a connection to the Quinn case, and that he had an unusual story about digging a fish pond at the time: "the alleged fish pond was not completed and that Owens later covered it with fill dirt." He asked for a warrant to search the rest of his property.

The property searches turned up nothing, Citizen Times reported. Still, two years later, Owens was indicted with the homicide of Zebb Quinn. By this point, Owens had already pleaded guilty in the Codds' case, according to ABC, claiming he had accidentally run them over when his truck got stuck in mud near their house, and was serving a sentence of 59.5 to 74.5 years. Any further details as for why Owens could be indicted for this have not yet been released to the public. Still, the Asheville Police Department seem to think the case has been solved, telling Citizen Times "the indictment is the result of years of investigative work and persistence by detectives, as well as ongoing partnerships with members of the Quinn family and the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office."

Untouched threads

But has this crime been entirely solved, really? Sure, Owens is a suspicious person, but questions remain unanswered, including those raised in a blog written by the mystery and suspense author J. H. Moncrieff. For example, what made Owens put himself in the "hot seat" of the Quinn investigation by calling up Walmart and pretending to be the missing person? Second, what was going on with the living dog left in Quinn's car? Why was the car left abandoned, for that matter? 

Then, there's the whole matter of the urgent message Quinn received, which according to ABC, the police traced back to his aunt. She denied having sent the page, however. Her alibi involved having dinner with an old friend, but according to  Moncrieff's analysis, not only was that friend the mother of a girl whom Quinn was in love with, but as it happens, both the daughter and her boyfriend, who was allegedly extremely jealous, were there, as well. To make matters more confusing, the aunt also alleged to being burglarized later that night. A common crime? Sure, but allegedly, the break-in was by someone who decided to simply move the pictures around, but not actually steal anything. 

Altogether an odd story, which currently has no clear answers.