KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE/WETM) – Knoxville police discovered the body of a man wrapped in a tarp “in a mummified state” on Sunday, and a woman with connections to the Twin Tiers has been arrested in connection to the case.
“Makes me sad but it also kind of makes me kind of sick because it happened so close to my backyard,” said Dana Schwab.
The man’s body, which may have been dead for weeks, was found in a shed on property in the 2300 block of Greenfield Lane, according to a news release.
Tommy Rose, 62, Deborah Gister, 41, and Christina McCormack, 48, were charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
18 News has confirmed with multiple family friends that McCormack is from Elmira.
“Well it just smells like a dead animal, dead rat, dead possum but it lasted for like probably going on three weeks now. So, I was a little concerned. I knew it was something bigger than a rat or rodent but I didn’t think about it being a person,” added Schwab.
Schwab said he had planned on alerting city leaders to the smell, even after speaking to those who lived inside the home, “The one guy said it was a possum or racoon got into there and they don’t have access to the garage, it’s locked and their landlord has the key and he can’t get it out. And the other guy told me that the refrigerator had gone bad and they had to throw a bunch of meat out.”
The discovery is upsetting to those, like Nicky Campbell, who say they just moved into the neighborhood, “It’s kind of crazy that knowing the entire time we’ve lived here there’s been a dead body a few hundred feet from me.”
Neighbors say they feel uneasy knowing death was next door.
“It’s sad that another person would go to the extent of taking another life for I’m not sure what reason,” said Schwab.
“That’s a tragedy,” added Campbell.
While the three suspects were held outside the house while a search warrant was signed, Gister grabbed her seven-year-old son and held a screwdriver to his throat and said, “I have nothing else to live for and I will never be separated from my son.”
After refusing commands to drop the screwdriver, officers were able to gain control of Gister and separate her from her son. The child later told officers, “she tried to kill me,” according to court documents.
Identification of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The body was transported to the Regional Forensic Center for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The investigation is ongoing and further updates will be made as they become available.
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