published Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Suspects sought in Franklin County, Tenn., cornfield killing

Authorities in Franklin County, Tenn., say investigators have made "good progress" after dozens of interviews after the discovery of a Cowan, Tenn., man's body in a local cornfield in March.

Sheriff Tim Fuller said information gathered in the interviews is tightening the net, and there are a number of "persons of interest" or suspects in the March 24 death of Corey N. Matthews, a 26-year-old father of two.

Fuller said Monday that detectives conducted "probably 50 or more" interviews in the case since Matthews' body was found less than two miles from his Tennessee Avenue home.

Franklin County officials and district attorney's office personnel are discussing the next move, he said.

Matthews was not armed, and authorities have said more than one person was involved in the killing. Fuller said investigators have identified a motive for the killing, but he can't talk about it yet.

Matthews' body was found two weeks ago in a cornfield near his home off Slag Town Road. His body was lying at the edge of a cornfield across the road from a small graveyard called the Jackson Cemetery. Preliminary autopsy results show Matthews died of "blunt force trauma," officials said.

Fuller said the cornfield "is the only crime scene," and he confirmed Monday that it is where authorities believe the slaying happened.

Sheriff's office Sgt. Chris Guess said shortly after the body was found that Matthews had lived at the same Cowan address at least all his adult life and talked to his family members on a daily basis. When the family hadn't seen or heard from Matthews between the previous night and the morning of March 24, they filed a missing persons report, Guess said.

Cowan Police Department officer Mike Holmes stopped to talk to the family and drove out beyond Matthews' Tennessee Avenue home to the Jackson Cemetery area to look for him, according to Cowan police Chief Allen Edwards. Holmes spotted Matthews' body just outside the city limits.

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 since fall 2012.

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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