Two charged with murder after body discovery in Unicoi Co.

(WVLT)-- The body of Lonnie Townsend, who was reported missing last month, was found in Unicoi County Friday and lead to the arrest of a Johnson City pair.

Timothy Jason Pate, 43, and Whitney Kristina Harris, 21, are facing multiple charges in connection to Townsend's death.

Pate was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder during a felony and tampering with evidence.

Harris was charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder, accessory after the fact of first-degree murder during a felony and tampering with evidence.

The Carter County Sheriff's Office said the body was found on Little Bald Creek Road off Spivey Mountain Road.

Townsend's family told Johnson City Police they hadn't been in contact with him since April 17. His red 1995 truck was also reported missing.

One witness reported seeing Townsend driving a red truck to Pate and Harris's home a few days before he was reported missing. Pare was later seen driving the truck.

After interviewing the couple, authorities said Harris confessed about the murder. Harris told police Pate killed him and hid the body at 713 Little Ball Road, Erwin. That's when investigators found the body.

The Unicoi County Sheriff's Department and the Johnson CIty Police Department worked together on the case.


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