Posted: Thursday, October 17th 2002 at 5:04pm
Authorities arrest relatives of suspect in missing teens case
JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE - Washington County authorities have arrested the elderly mother and aunt of a man suspected in the disappearance of a teenage couple whose head and hands were believed found in a lake.
In the continuing investigation, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents searched a storage unit Thursday and found what they believe are the remains of 17-year-old Adam Ray Chrismer and his wife 16-year-old wife, Samantha Foster Leming, both of Walker County, Georgia.
The missing teens were last seen with Howard Hawk Willis, of Chickamauga, Georgia, in Johnson City and Walker County, Georgia. He is in federal custody in Johnson City on charges stemming from an unrelated drug case in New York.
Authorities say Willis is a suspect in the disappearance of two other people as well.
District Attorney Joe Crumley said Willis' mother, 70-year-old Emma Elizabeth Hawk of Johnson City, rented the storage unit.
Authorities said she was arrested early today and charged with two counts of abuse of a corpse, accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and attempt to tamper with evidence.
Willis' aunt, 74-year-old Marie Hawk Holmes, was charged with attempt to tamper with evidence.
The head found over the weekend has been tentatively identified as that Chrismer, and the hands as those of Leming.
Authorities said they also found a hatchet, a pair of large scissors, ball peen hammer and large containers of gasoline and diesel fuel in the storage unit.
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