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Autopsies Reveal Consistent Witness Reports


DRESDEN (April 26) – The forensic autopsy reports of the bodies of two murder victims and the accused from an incident at Reelfoot Lake in January reveal the initial findings were consistent with statements taken from the survivor.

According to a press release issued by 27th Judicial District Attorney Tommy Thomas, the findings from the autopsy reports for Chance Black and Zachary Grooms, both of Greenfield, show the manner and location of their fatal gunshot wounds were consistent with the report by witness Jeff Crabtree.

Black, Grooms and Crabtree were duck hunting on Reelfoot Lake the morning of Monday, January 25, when they were approached by retired Martin business owner and duck hunter, 70-year-old David Vowell, who asked if he could hunt with them trio.

While in the duck blind, Vowell reportedly shot Grooms in the chest and Black in his side. Crabtree intervened in the incident and got his friends into a boat. He struck Vowell in the head with a gun and pushed him into waist-deep water. Black and Grooms died as a result of the shooting.

Multiple agencies searched for Vowell’s body at the scene until the following Saturday, when Vowell’s body was discovered near the area of the shooting.

Vowell’s autopsy findings show the cause of death could not be conclusively determined.

“The circumstances surrounding his death and discovery suggest that he died as a result of either drowning or hypothermia (low-body temperature),” the release noted. Thomas further said the findings were also consistent with statements taken from Crabtree.

Thomas said there is no basis for criminal charges in the matter, but the office’s policy is to report the findings to a grand jury. The findings will be presented to the June term of the Obion County Grand Jury.



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