UPDATE: Man accused of burning body found in Fort O; family members charged for helping him hide from police
UPDATE: Investigators say one of the two men accused of burning and dumping 18-year-old Lauren Lowrance's body had family members help them hide from police.
Sheriff Gary Sisk says Clarence McCorkle may have had several people helping him, but it was two of his family members who were arrested and charged for doing so. Ima and Travis McCorkle were charged with felony accessory after the fact.
Through Rickey Whittemore's arrest on unrelated charges in Walker County, investigators learned he and McCorkle burned and dumped Lowrance's body after she overdosed.
“Wish there was probably a stiffer crime we could charge these individuals with. Unfortunately, her death is probably going to be an overdose so they're not going to be able to be charged with murder. It is concealing the death of another.”
While Whittemore sat behind bars, McCorkle was on the run.
“He was bouncing around in a lot of different places. We had been tracking him for some time and always seemed to be a little bit behind him,” Sisk said.
On Tuesday, investigators spotted McCorkle on Gunbarrel Road. They say he was sitting in a car, in the Verizon store parking lot with Ima McCorkle. Travis McCorkle was parked in another car next to them.
According to police reports, his mother saw detectives and drove off. She went less than a mile up the road, behind Stein Mart. That's where McCorkle got out of the car and ran for the woods. The next day McCorkle was spotted in a vehicle near a mini-warehouse in Fort Oglethorpe.
“He didn't see it coming; didn't know we were there. It was a lot of unmarked vehicles,” Sisk said.
With both Whittemore and McCorkle behind bars, Sisk says his team is gearing up for a trial.
Whittemore and McCorkle were charged with concealing the death of another and tampering with evidence among other charges.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office says the second suspect wanted in connection to a death investigation has been arrested Wednesday night.
The sheriff's office says Clarence Edward McCorkle was found in Fort Oglethorpe and is now being held in the Catoosa County Jail.
McCorkle is one of two men who have been arrested following the discovery of a burned body in Marion County.
The other suspect, Rickey Whittemore, was arrested on April 27 by the Walker County Sheriff's Office on unrelated charges.
Sheriff Gary Sisk also tells Channel 3 the body found has been identified as 18-year-old Lauren Lowrance. The assistant principal at Hixson High School says Lowrance graduated from the school last year. The following statement was given on behalf of the school:
"We are truly sorry to hear about what happened. We are keeping the family in our prayers."
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Investigators say a man burned and dumped a girl's body in Marion County.
Sheriff Bo Burnette says a train engineer found the body along on State Route 156 on a gravel road next to a railroad track, Friday morning. Investigators don't believe her body was not there long.
The name of the victim has not been officially released.
“Now I have a family that just lost a family member and is way too young in life and shouldn't have to go through that,” said Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk.
Sisk says the girl died of an overdose, while at Rickey Whittemore’s home in Catoosa County during the nighttime hours of April 23 and the morning hours of April 24. Sisk says sometime after the young girl overdosed, Whittemore and his friend, Clarence McCorkle burned her body, and drove her to New Hope, TN in Marion County. He says they were all connected by drugs.
“It all has to do with drugs and the lifestyle of drug abuse and drug use,” he said.
Sisk says sometime later, Whittemore went to a friend's house in Walker County.
“That's where the initial incident that Walker County got involved with him in the first place happened. He went back to that residence and that's was where he burned some items that were used to dispose the body.”
About three days after the girl’s body was found, Whittemore was arrested by Walker County sheriff deputies on domestic related charges. During that arrest, investigators learned he was connected to the body found in Marion County.
Whittemore was transferred to the Catoosa County jail where he remains in custody. Sisk says during his first court appearance, Whittemore’s bond was denied.
McCorkle has not been found. Catoosa County detectives and the U.S Marshal’s Service are looking for him. Sisk says McCorkle was already wanted by police for felony probation violation, theft by taking, and obstruction of police officer. He is also wanted by Hamilton County.
“He's trying to find his way out of town and I would caution anyone that helps him. That would be considered harboring a fugitive and you could face criminal action yourself. This is a serious case and Mr. McCorkle needs to turn himself in,” said Sisk.
The girl’s body was sent to a crime lab in Nashville. Because of the condition of her body, a medical examiner will try to confirm her identity using dental records.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office has issued warrants related to the death of a woman whose burned body was found earlier this month in Marion County .
Walker County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rickey Whittemore April 27 on warrants, and during the course of their investigation found that the man's body had actually died in Catoosa County and then was transported to Marion County, according to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk.
Detectives from the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office joined forces with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded and begin conducting a joint investigation into the death.
During the investigation, detectives discovered a person died sometime around April 23 at an address on Whittemore Hollow Road in Ringgold, GA from a possible overdose.
Sisk said in a news release that Ricky Lee Whittemore and Clarence Edward McCorkle took the body from the Ringgold home and transported it to Marion County, TN. Whittemore and McCorkle then set the deceased on fire and fled from Marion County.
Whittemore was booked April 29, 2019 on the charges of concealing the death of another, tampering with evidence, and felony probation violation. Whittemore made his first appearance in court and bond was denied by the Catoosa County Magistrate Court.
Warrants have been issued for Clarence Edward McCorkle for concealing the death of another and tampering with evidence.
McCorkle was already wanted by Catoosa County for felony probation violation, theft by taking, and obstruction of a police officer. McCorkle is also wanted by Hamilton County.
McCorkle is still at large and is currently being sought by our fugitive detectives and the United States Marshal’s Service.
Sisk said based on the evidence collected and witness statements, they know the identity of the victim but the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has not officially identified the victim.