Columbus family seeks support to re-open suspicious death

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By Russ McQuaid

COLUMBUS, Ind. (January 25, 2015) -- Cheryl Jackson doesn't exactly know what happened to her brother, but she's confident about what didn't happen.

Jackson said Cary Owsley did not kill himself in 2013 with a gun belonging to a Bartholomew County Sheriff's deputy who was the ex-husband of his wife and the father of the sons who Owsley was not getting along with.

Despite what the official investigation found, an investigation that began with the off-duty and now suspended and retired deputy arriving at his ex-wife's house first after the shooting.

“There's nothing worse than running up against officials who can say what they want even against the facts and not be able to do anything about it," said Jackson. "Had I not had media connections the story would have gone away."

Fox 59's Ray Cortopassi profiled Cary Owsley's death and his sister's quest for what she calls justice in an award winning series of stories in 2014.

"When you hear that the father of the sons that lived in the house with my brother, when you hear that the cop dad was one of the first officers on the scene, that he recognized the gun my brother was killed with was his gun, that he then proceeded to put the evidence in his car, the bloody rug in the car, and witnessed somebody burning the chair my brother died in, when you hear that, you have to know something's not right."

Deputy Dwayne Janes received a five-day suspension for his participation in the investigation and has since retired from the department.

"We had a lot of help outside this community," said Jackson before a community meeting at God's House Missionary Baptist Church. "We need leadership inside this community to be able to continue to drive the new sheriff and the administration to continue to look at a case that has admittedly failed, admittedly has all these faux paus in it. We want them to keep putting the pressure on the sheriff in order to get the case reopened.”

"I don't really want any of the officials in Bartholomew County to appoint a special prosecutor or to have a grand jury. I really feel like this needs to be looked at, at the federal level. This community of officials has failed Cary Owsley over and over again and we want it at the federal level. That's what we're seeking now,” Jackson said.

Jackson took her plea before the African-American Ministerial Alliance Group of Columbus.

"It just seems that there should be additional thought and consideration as to the circumstances surrounding the death," said the Reverend Steven Millon who said his group would take the lead from its parishioners, "and it just appears at this point that there should be additional investigation."

A private investigator hired by the Owsley family raised questions in opposition to the official autopsy finding of suicide.