Home / National News / Missing Student's Family Hopes Arrest of ‘Food Network' Murder Suspect Leads to Remains


(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) — The mother of a college student who disappeared 15 years ago hopes the arrest of a North Carolina man charged with the murders of a pregnant TV chef and her husband leads investigators to her son.

Zebb Quinn was 18 years old when he disappeared in 2000. Robert Jason Owens was considered a person of interest in that case but was never charged.

The 37-year-old contractor is being held without bond on three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Cristie and Joseph “J.T.” Codd and their unborn child.

“It breaks my heart that these people had to die for some information to come to light,” Quinn’s mother, Denise Vlahakis, said in an exclusive interview with ABC’s Good Morning America.

Cristie Schoen, as she was known in 2012 before she married, was a contestant on the Food Network’s cooking competition, Food Network Star. She and her husband disappeared last Sunday, and police in Asheville, North Carolina, said this week that Owens burned the bodies.

“He did admit to taking the bodies, storing them on his property, and destroying them,” Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan said during a news conference Friday.

Asheville Police Sgt. Dave Romick said Owens was a person of interest in Quinn’s disappearance. However, detectives never found the evidence they needed to bring charges.

“The fact that he has been arrested on three counts of murder, that is a huge event in the Zebb Quinn case,” he said during a news conference Friday. “He was a person of interest almost immediately. Over the course of 15 years, he has become the primary person of interest.”

Quinn’s mother hopes that Owens’ arrest will lead police to her son.

“My hope for Zebb’s case is that either Jason talks or that someone else who has information comes forward and that it’s good enough information that we can ultimately hopefully find Zebb,” she said.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to Quinn’s remains.


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