published Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

'Persons of interest' probed in Cowan, Tenn., cornfield slaying

HOW TO HELP

Anyone with any information about the killing of Cowan, Tenn., resident Corey N. Matthews on March 23 or 24 can call the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at 931-962-0123 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Franklin County, Tenn., authorities say the man found dead in a Cowan cornfield on March 24 was targeted by more than one person, though they won't say why.

Sheriff Tim Fuller said Monday that 26-year-old father of two, Corey N. Matthews, was killed by two or more people and that, so far, none of the "persons of interest" identified in the investigation are from Franklin County.

Fuller wouldn't discuss a motive in the killing but he said authorities have identified one. He also said an unspecified number of official suspects have been developed from the "persons of interest" being scrutinized by investigators.

The sheriff would not elaborate further Monday on the number of people potentially involved in the slaying.

Matthews' body was found March 24 in a cornfield about two miles east of his home off Slag Town Road across from a small graveyard called the Jackson Cemetery. Preliminary autopsy results show he died of "blunt force trauma," authorities said.

Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Guess said last week that Matthews lived at the same Cowan address all of his adult life and talked to his family members daily. When the family hadn't seen or heard from Matthews by that Sunday morning, March 24, they filed a missing persons report, Guess said.

After the report was filed, Cowan police department Officer Mike Holmes spoke to the family and drove past Matthews' Tennessee Avenue home to the Jackson Cemetery area, Cowan police Chief Allen Edwards said last week. The Cowan officer spotted what later was identified as Matthews' body at the edge of a cornfield, just outside the city limits.

The sheriff said Matthews was not armed.

The cornfield "is the only crime scene" under investigation, Fuller said.

Matthews' family "is doing pretty good, considering the circumstances," he said.

Obituary information in the Herald-Chronicle newspaper in Winchester, Tenn., states that Matthews was a certified heat and air conditioning technician who left behind a wife and two daughters, was a mixed martial arts fighter under a local trainer and had been a volunteer at the Keith Springs Volunteer Fire Department for the past four months.

Matthews was buried Friday in Winchester.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at facebook.com/ben.benton1 and follow him at twitter.com/BenBen ton on Twitter.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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