A suspected double homicide and arson is under investigation in Roan Mountain after the bodies of a man and woman were found in a burnt garage on Tuesday morning. The bodies were found on the same property where someone apparently set fire to an occupied mobile home earlier this month.
Officers with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee State Bomb and Arson are investigating the deaths.
“We have two homicide victims at 120 Hemlock Lane in Roan Mountain,” TBI Spokesperson Kristin Helm said Tuesday evening. “A male and a female were both found shot to death inside a metal garage where they had been staying. The building was then set on fire.”
Helm said the names of the victims will be released when the bodies are positively identified and next of kin are notified.
Sheriff’s department deputies were called about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday to 120 Hemlock Lane, which is located on a wooded hill overlooking Hampton Creek Road in Roan Mountain. A caller told 911 dispatchers that there were two bodies inside of a burnt garage.
CCSD Lt. Mike Little said there was still a little bit of smoke coming from the garage when officers arrived. Little, who was not the first officer on scene, said the property had cooled by the time he arrived. The Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department was also called to the scene due to the fire remnants.
The lieutenant said it was still too early in the investigation to determine the cause of death. In addition, because of the fire, positive identities can not yet be confirmed. He noted that the bodies were to be taken to the James H. Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City for autopsies. He said preliminary results from the autopsies should be back within a day.
Investigators from the sheriff’s department had been called to the property earlier this month on June 6 on the report of a suspicious mobile home fire. As a result of the mobile home fire, the residents were staying in the garage.
In a police report following the June 6 blaze, Deputy Robert Hughes stated that the residents, Glenn Shell and Joyce Brock, were home at the time of the fire, which was reported at 3:35 a.m.
Shell told Hughes he was watching television when he heard someone attempting to come in the front door. When they could not enter through the front door, they went around to the back door and tried to force it open. Shell said when they were unable to enter the back door he could hear them run across the deck. At that time, Shell said he smelled diesel fuel and saw flames ignite on the deck and across the yard. He said it looked as if the flames were dripping between the boards of the deck onto the ground beneath it.
Shell then woke Brock, who had been asleep on the couch, and they exited through a bedroom window. Brock stated she then re-entered the home and got their cell phone to call 911.
The Roan Mountain fire chief told Hughes he located a burn consistent with a flammable liquid, leading away from the residence. Hughes then located a blue diesel container outside, which Shell said was his. He also found a red gasoline container, but Shell said he did not think it was his.
When asked if he knew whether anyone wanted to hurt him, Shell told Hughes “no.” The police report stated that Brock was scheduled to testify for the District Attorney against his son, who has been incarcerated in jail. Matthew Glenn Shell faces state and federal charges regarding illegal possession of weapons and methamphetamine manufacture.
Investigators Travis Ludlow and Larry Vaughn were on the scene on June 7, after the scene cooled, and collected evidence. Little said on Tuesday that tests had not yet returned and the fire remained suspicious in nature. It had not yet been classified as arson by the state, Little said. The mobile home was a total loss.
The entire Hemlock Lane property has been surrounded by yellow police tape in order to secure the scene.