Investigators of the double homicide of hunters Chance Black and Zachary Grooms found the body of suspect David Vowell Friday. Black and Grooms were killed earlier last week after a witness saw Vowell arguing with them near Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake.
According to District Attorney General Tommy Thomas, a witness, Jeffery Crabtree, who was hunting with Black and Grooms at the time, saw his friends arguing with Vowell when the man shot the two hunters.
The three were in a blind on the lake hunting duck on Jan. 25, when Vowell drove his boat up to the blind and knocked on the door. When Grooms opened the door, Vowell shot him, then Black.
Crabtree managed to get the gun away from Vowell, knocking him out with a buttstroke, and started to load his friends into a boat to get help, according to his statement. Looking back, he saw Vowell walking up the lake’s bank.
Although law enforcement responded to the crime immediately, investigators had to halt the search for Vowell on Wednesday due to rising waters on the lake. They found his body two days later after resuming the investigation.
According to the police, Vowell earlier told people he knew he was suffering from the early stages of dementia. Now that investigators have recovered his body, they plan to perform an autopsy, which may confirm a diagnosis as well as the cause of death.
Community members mourned the loss of Black and Grooms, who were well-known and liked. Friends at the local Final Flight Outfitters paid farewell to the two.
“For any loss, it takes time to process. We all process things differently,” said Final Flight’s Seth Dortch. “Chance and Zach were incredible guys, just super well respected here in our community.”
“Even in our darkest times, we can still have hope and peace, even when we don’t have clarity, even when there’s confusion,” says Dortch, “For all of us, we lean into the promises of God. Just like Psalms 46:1 says is, God is our refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble, and in all of this our hope and piece is in Jesus, and that’s what we press into.”