Man’s body exhumed for autopsy in suspicious death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

COLUMBUS, Ind. – There’s new hope for the family of a Columbus man searching for the truth about his death. In April 2013, the Bartholomew County Coroner ruled 49-year-old Cary Owsley’s death a suicide, with no autopsy performed.

Wednesday the family finally got their forensic autopsy with the exhumation of Owsley’s body, because of a court order. Now they’re waiting to find out how he died.

Owsley’s sister Cheryl Jackson led the fight to keep pushing for answers in the case.

Plywood covers a hole in the ground at Garland Brook Cemetery in Columbus, a sacred place of peace.

“I feel like we have a mission accomplished,” said Cheryl Jackson, “This is what we’ve campaigned for, for eleven months.”

For Jackson, watching her brother come up from his tomb Wednesday morning was rough.

“I didn’t expect it to be quite that traumatizing when they took him out of this hole and put him on the gurney to take him to the hearse. I just realized I was a few feet from him. I haven’t been a few feet from him for months,” she said.

Jackson said more terrifying is the lack of answers and apparent lack of investigation.

“The day my brother died, I didn’t believe he killed himself,” she said.

In November a judge signed off on a plan to exhume Cary Owsley’s body so a forensic autopsy could be performed. By court order the date and details of the autopsy were to remain secret. Wednesday was that day.

Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher didn’t do an autopsy at the time of the death, basing his suicide ruling on the testimony of Cary Owsley’s wife Lisa, who was in the home when Owsley apparently killed himself, by a gunshot to the chest.

But Cary Owsley’s family held strong and firm in their quest for justice for what the family claims is a cover-up. Lisa Owsley’s ex-husband and the father of her two sons, Dewayne Janes, is a deputy in Bartholomew County and showed up to process the crime scene. Janes was reprimanded for improperly handling evidence.

“You look over there. He’s gone. And I’m just praying that his body’s going to tell us the whole truth,” said Cheryl Jackson.

Jackson remains anxious yet hopeful the wooden boards in the cemetery will help her find some facts.

“It’s a cold day but not cold for us. We are glad,” she said.

Jackson told FOX59 the autopsy results should be official in a few weeks’ time.

FOX59 spoke Wednesday with the coroner, Larry Fisher. He would not go on camera but said he stands by his suicide ruling, and the family’s right to request an autopsy.

We reached out to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department for comment but did not hear back in time for our deadline.