Columbus man’s body to be exhumed for autopsy

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COLUMBUS – Friends and family of Cary Owsley won a legal victory in Bartholomew County court Wednesday.

Amid questions surrounding Owsley’s April death, a judge approved a plan to exhume Owsley’s body so a forensic autopsy can be performed.

“I don’t know who killed my brother,” said Owsley’s sister Cheryl Jackson. “But I know there’s a lot of possibilities that include the people who lived in that house.”

Jackson and others have been suspicious about Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher’s ruling that Owsley committed suicide.

There was never an autopsy performed. And Jackson says her brother’s deteriorating relationship with his estranged wife, Lisa, and her two sons raises questions about their possible involvement.

Fisher’s suicide ruling was based on testimony from Lisa Owsley, who was inside the house where Cary supposedly shot himself in the chest.

Jackson says the gunshot wound itself is cause for suspicion.

“He had been a hunter his whole life,” Jackson said. “Why would he use an ineffective (hand)gun and shoot himself in the heart? Any hunter knows it can take three to five minutes to die if you’re shot in the heart.”

Jackson and her supporters have been pushing for a full investigation after several revelations pointed to lapses in the way the case was handled.

“Indiana law says if somebody commits suicide and there’s no note, there has to be an autopsy,” she said. “But there was none.”

Adding fuel to the fire was the conduct of Lisa Owsley’s former husband and father of her two sons, Bartholomew County Deputy Dewayne Janes. Janes was eventually reprimanded for improperly handling evidence at the scene of Owsley’s death.

Shortly before he was found dead, Owsley had talked to his biological son, Logan, and asked him to come over to help him move a safe full of valuables out of the house he shared with Lisa.

Jackson also points to efforts by Lisa Owsley to quickly cremate Cary’s body, while foregoing an autopsy. Lisa Owsley has previously opposed exhuming Cary’s body but agreed to it in court Wednesday.

For those who don’t believe Owsley killed himself, it all points to a coverup.

But Wednesday’s ruling could eventually provide answers about whether Owsley killed himself, or somebody else did.

Attorney’s representing Cheryl Jackson, Lisa Owsley and Coroner Larry Fisher agreed to several terms.

Cary Owsley’s body will be exhumed for a forensic autopsy. There will be two or three Forensic Pathologists present during the autopsy. The doctors will discuss procedure for the autopsy before it takes place. The autopsy will take place in Indiana, and it will be recorded on video.

The timeline for the disinterment and autopsy will not be released to the public out of respect for privacy at the cemetery. But Jackson hopes to have answers within a month.

For those hoping for more answers about Owsley’s death, it’s a victory. The question is whether the autopsy will mean the investigation is over, or just beginning.

“If by some chance we find out that Cary did kill himself, then we will accept that,” Jackson said.

“But if he didn’t, somebody has to pay,” said Cary’s mother Rose Owsley.