This story first caught my eye because it happened in Asheville, North Carolina. That’s just over the mountain from where I grew up. That’s home of Biltmore House and Gardens, one of my favorite places. That’s an area I feel I know. Feeling that connection I tucked in to listen to the tale. Then through the years I’d occasionally look to see if any new info ever turned up on that missing guy.
First off the missing guy has a name, it’s Zebb Quinn. He was 18 years old when he disappeared. The story started out somewhat straight forward. Yet as the years went on there were twists that only real life could provide, because if a writer did them you’d say that’s over the top. Let’s take this strange story layer by layer.
Quinn worked at the local Wal-Mart. Getting off work January 2, 2000 he ran into a friend, Robert Jason Owen, in the parking lot. The two boys decided to go look at a car Quinn was thinking about buying. Owen was going to follow Quinn to the car lot to check out the ride. On the way Quinn flashed his lights. They pulled over and Quinn told Owne that he’d gotten a page and needed to make a call. They pulled over at the next gas station. After making the call Quinn came out flustered and said he was sorry but he had to go. In his hurry to get on the road he accidentally rear ended his friend’s car. Not much damage was done, they decided they’d settle it later as Quinn had something urgent. So Quinn went on his way. This was about 9:30 that night.
Twenty-four hours later Quinn’s mother reports him missing. Police catch up with Owen who has injuries. It turns out later that night on the 2nd Owen was treated in the local ER for head and rib injuries. He claimed it was from an auto accident he got into after leaving Quinn. But the accident was never reported nor witnesses to it found.
The next day a strange man calls into Wal-Mart claming to be Quinn and says he will miss work that day because he is sick. The worker who took the call knew Quinn’s voice and knew this wasn’t him calling. Knowing that Quinn was a missing person, she alerted the police .
Two weeks after Quinn went missing his car was found parked near the hospital where his mother worked. On the back windshield were lips drawn in lipstick. Inside was an alive and well lab puppy (which one of the investigators adopted), a hotel card that couldn’t be traced, drink bottles, and a jacket that wasn’t Quinn’s.
So during the investigation it was found that the page Quinn got was from the home of a paternal aunt, Ina Ustich, with whom he had little to no contact. During that evening she was having dinner with Quinn’s love interest, Misty, Misty’s supposedly ex-boyfriend -Wesley, and Misty’s mom Tamra. Ustich claimed her house was broken into that night, nothing was taken but photos were moved about and someone made the call.
The call to Wal-Mart phoning Quinn in sick was traced to the local Volvo plant where Owens worked. He was again questioned and claimed that Quinn called him asking him to phone Quinn in sick that day.
It was here things stood for fifteen years. Clues, suspicions, answers that didn’t make sense, but no proof of anything except Quinn was missing. Then Owen was arrested and charged with a triple murder.
Yes, the Owen that was going to look at the car with Quinn and called him in sick to work. That Owen stands charged and supposedly confessed to killing Food Network Star Contestant Cristie Schoen Codd, her husband JT Codd, and their unborn child. It has been reported their charred remains were found in a wood stove at Owen’s home.
That’s when Owen’s property was searched and rumors of the concrete fishpond he made about the time of Quinn’s disappearance was investigated. What were the findings? Some fabric, some leather, some ‘fragments.’ That was in March of 2015.
We still don’t know where Zeb Quinn is. So was the aunt gaslighted? Was it an attempt to frame her? Did someone use his aunt’s phone to lure him to his death?Was she involved? If Quinn could call Owen at work why not just call in sick himself? What were the meanings of the strange items in the car? . Who is involved? Was it a conspiracy? Was it just Owen or did Misty, her ex, and his mom all get involved? What about his distant aunt being with his love interest that night? It all seems odd. Yet as it sat for 15 years it sits now, lots of strangeness wih no answers. Except one, Zeb is gone and probably dead.
Theories? I do wonder if using today’s technology has there been an attempt to get DNA from the empty bottle or jacket found in his car? If you know something contact the Asheville police not me. If like me you are curious and have discovered more articles with information please share them.