Search continues for the body of a missing Hinds County woman; husband charged with murder and arson

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For nearly six hours on Friday, multiple law enforcement agencies searched the Big Black River trying to find the body of Ebony Owens.

However, the search didn’t end the way they had hoped.

“We didn’t come up with any positive results today,” said Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones. “We are shutting down for today, but of course, the search will go back into effect tomorrow.”

As crews searched along the river, Sheriff Jones said they are running into a few issues while trying to locate the 36-year-old.

“A lot of debris in the water as well as the water conditions, those are some of the challenges right now,” the sheriff explained.

When it comes to the search for Owens, it all dates back to Wednesday, when she did not show up for work.

That morning, the sheriff said her car was found burned in the area of Old Highway 80 and Jones Road.

Investigators believe the car was purposely set on fire.

Electronic evidence shows her being in the Clinton area late Tuesday evening, according to the sheriff.

The license plate of her burned vehicle was found in the woods near where the Acura was found. Authorities say they believe the vehicle was set on fire purposefully.

On Wednesday, Hinds County deputies and Ridgeland police went to the Ridgeland Ranch Apartments on County Line Road, where a vehicle was towed, and evidence believed to be linked to Owens’ disappearance was recovered from an apartment.

Sheriff Jones said the 36-year-old from at least one gunshot wound to the head, and her husband, 36-year-old Michael Owens, is believed to be responsible for it all.

“We don’t have a motive right now, but it is safe to say that he did do it. We do know the matter of death that the lady died, and we do feel positive that he put her in the river as well,” said Sheriff Jones.

What was initially a person investigation has now turned into a murder investigation.

Owens is charged with murder and arson, and Jones said more charges could also be on the way.

“Right now, we’re just still remaining optimistic about the recovery of this young lady to make sure that we can return her to her family for a proper burial,” said Jones.

It was an all-hands-on-deck approach for Friday’s search and recovery mission.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Department, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Hinds County Department of Emergency Management assisted the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department in the search.

Sheriff Jones said the search will resume on Saturday.

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