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Blood, knife lead to homicide charges in case of missing Fayette County woman

Paul Peirce
| Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, 11:39 a.m.
Leah Owens
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Leah Owens
State police charged Thomas N. Teets, 32, of Dawson, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, with homicide, abuse of a corpse and other crimes in the disappearance of Leah Owens in Fayette County.
WPXI
State police charged Thomas N. Teets, 32, of Dawson, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, with homicide, abuse of a corpse and other crimes in the disappearance of Leah Owens in Fayette County.
State police charged Thomas N. Teets, 32, of Dawson, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, with homicide, abuse of a corpse and other crimes in the disappearance of Leah Owens in Fayette County.
WPXI
State police charged Thomas N. Teets, 32, of Dawson, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, with homicide, abuse of a corpse and other crimes in the disappearance of Leah Owens in Fayette County.

State police tied a Dawson man to the disappearance of Leah Owens, a Fayette County woman missing since September, through blood stains and a knife found in her SUV and witness statements, according to court records.

Investigators on Thursday questioned Thomas N. Teets, 32, of Dawson, after arresting him on charges of homicide, abuse of a corpse, robbery, aggravated assault, theft and tampering with evidence, according to Trooper Robert Broadwater, a spokesman for state police in Uniontown.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed before Uniontown District Judge Jennifer Jeffries, Owens' body has not been located.

Owens, 31, of Bullskin Township, was reported missing by family members on Sept. 17 when she did not show up for a cancer fundraiser for her ailing mother, police said.

In late September, police announced they discovered Owens' abandoned car in a remote field outside Connellsville. Several searches of the area were conducted to no avail.

Court records indicate Teets was seen driving Owens' 2007 Ford Explorer with her inside the day she disappeared. Several witnesses and family members of Teets reported that they observed extensive injuries to his hand at the time Owens disappeared, the affidavit stated.

One friend, according to the affidavit, drove Teets to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown to be treated for cuts on his hand.

Teets's stepfather, Nathan Able, told investigators that when Owens disappeared he observed Teets "walk through the kitchen-living room area covered in blood."

"Able reported Teets's shirt was off and wrapped around his hand. Able advised Teets told him he had cut his hand on some metal," Troopers Terrance Crowley and Heather Clem-Johnston wrote in the affidavit.

Another acquaintance of Teets, Brandon Laffitte, also of Fayette County, told investigators that when he questioned Teets about the injury to his hand, "Teets told him he (expletive) up, he did some (expletive) and (Owens) is gone," the investigators reported.

However, Laffitte said Teets later told him "that he lost his mind and kept stabbing Owens ... Teets told him that they don't got no body, there will be no case," court documents state.

On the day of her disappearance, Owens' mother, Camilla Crosby, reported that Owens and Teets came to her home to borrow $80 and returned later seeking more money but she refused.

Investigators reported that Owens and Teets then called a sister, Lauren Solosky, to borrow $150.

Police interviewed Teets five days after Owens disappeared, during which he said the pair were smoking crack cocaine Sept. 15 but denied harming the mother of two.

"Teets informed (troopers) that Owens dropped him off at his residence at 4 p.m. and he hasn't seen her since," investigators wrote in the affidavit.

Jeffries ordered Teets held without bail.

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