The Transylvania Times -

Edna Glaze Case Has Taken Many Turns - Brevard NC


Edna Glaze

(Editor's Note: Local resident Michael Owen was charged with first degree murder in connection with Edna Glaze, who disappeared in March 1996.

The following is a summary of the stories that appeared in The Transylvania Times related to Glaze's disappearance, the search for her and the investigation.)

March 21, 1996

The 76-year-old Glaze was reported missing March 19, 1996. She was described as hard of hearing and suffering from Alzheimer's.

She disappeared after leaving her house at Hillside Terrace to have a key made for the house.

She appeared at the Brevard Police Department at around 3 p.m. to ask where she could have a key made.

She went to Harris Hardware. She was described as wearing a purple coat, red pants, red blouse and red beret.

Police officers searched for Glaze for several hours, but became concerned as darkness and freezing temperatures approached. By 6:30 p.m., a command center was established with the Brevard Rescue Squad at the police department and search teams began patrolling the city from the entrance of the Pisgah Forest to U.S. 64 West near Winn Dixie ( where Sav More is now located)

"We've checked with everyone we thought she could've been with," said Vick Foster, Glaze's grandnephew. "But, that's part of the problem. Everybody knows her and helps her when they see her. I've had a state trooper bring her home before because he knows her. We hope that she is in someone's house right now."

Martha D'Agata said she gave Glaze a ride at 3:30 p.m. to a home site where Glaze used to live near Brevard Music Center.

An abandoned trailer sat at the site overlooking the music center and atop a ridge near Burrell Mountain. The command center was moved to Brevard Music Center to focus on wooded areas near the former home site.

Searches were conducted throughout night.

The wind chill dropped to 10 below and snow fell. By March 20, there were reports of her being seen near the Etowah community on the day she disappeared.

March 25, 1996

After five days of around-the-clock searches for Glaze, the white Brevard Rescue Squad bus that served as the command post shut down its operations on March 23.

The search continued, but the Pinnacle Mountain area was no longer the target.

"We're comfortable that we've covered that area, but you still hate to give up searching," said Det. Brian Kreigsman, the search coordinator along with Emergency Management members Rieley Bennett and Bob Twomey.

The search had grown to include more than 200 people.

"I drove by her, and she looked so cold that I thought I would offer her a ride," said D'Agata, who lived in the nearby Waterford Place and took Glaze to the end of the small, gravel road on Pinnacle Mountain. "She said that she was going home and I asked her where that was and she said 'Up there.'"

D'Agata said Glaze talked about how she remembered there being very few houses in the area when she was young.

"She kept thanking me for giving her a ride," said "D'Agata. "And then she told me to let her out near the old trailer at the top of the road, and she thanked me again. I feel horrible about it, but she seemed fine when I was with her."

Glaze had not been definitely sighted since then although reports continued to arrive about her whereabouts. There were reports of her getting into a white station wagon with a handicap icon hanging from the rear view mirror on the evening she disappeared at Bi-Lo. Glaze's daughter, Edna May, said her mother was diagnosed with Alzeheimer's five years previous. She said her mother had wandered away once before but was found at South Broad Park.

"This is really the only time something like this has happened," said May. "I don't know what she was thinking on Tuesday. I can't thank the people in this community enough for helping to find my mother. I think it's really beautiful. I'm just tired and upset and I want my mama to be found."

March 23, 2000

Investigators said they were still baffled by Glaze's disappearance.

"She is still listed as a missing person," Brevard Police Chief Dennis Wilde said.

"We have followed countless leads that have led us nowhere," Det. Lt. Chuck Hutcheson said. "It's been four years, and we're hoping someone knows something."

"I think we did a very good search...I don't know what happened," Sheriff Bobby Orr said, describing the area as wooded terrain with laurel thickets, holes, caves and brush.

Those hills also contained numerous trails and abandoned roads, which Glaze used to walk.

Orr and Wilde believed it was possible that searchers could have missed a spot given the conditions of the area.

"It is still very much an open case," Orr said.

There was an $11,000 reward for information leading to her location. The reward money was offered jointly by the Brevard Pollice Department, Transylvania County Sheriff's Office and CrimeStoppers.

July 5, 2000

An anonymous letter received by the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office gave investigators new leads in the Glaze case.

Orr and Wilde said they were concerned about the many rumors which had been widespread throughout the county for the past week.

"Rumors can certainly be very hurtful to people," Sheriff Orr said. "We have heard a lot of rumors. There are rumors we have someone in custody. We do not. There are rumors we have found a body. That is not true. We have reinitiated the search to look for any evidence that might be there...She was last seen on Pinnacle Mountain, but the search encompasses the Brevard Music Center."

Although she had been listed as a missing person since 1996, investigators never ruled out the possibility of foul play.

The anonymous letter, post marked in upstate South Carolina, caused officers to reinitiate the search in the Pinnacle Mountain area. Wilde said certain areas have been targeted based on information given in that letter.

The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the North Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association, Inc. (SARDOGS) assisted in the search efforts.

Cadaver dogs from SARDOGS in Canton were used also.

"The case has never been closed, and we have kept the family informed throughout the investigation," Wilde said.

Investigators said they wanted to talk with whoever wrote the anonymous letter, as well as anyone else who many have additional information regarding this case.

July 31, 2000

Investigators identified and interviewed the authors of the anonymous letter.

After receiving the letter, a 12-member task force was formed June 26 consisting of officers from the Sheriff's Office, Brevard Police Department and SBI.

The task force also worked with the District Attorney's Office and contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

More than 17 people were interviewed prior to July 8 and others were interviewed since that date with additional interviews planned. Several polygraphs were given.

Aug. 17, 2000

Law enforcement spent three days searching the property of a Pisgah Forest resident after an anonymous letter, interviews and other investigations led the officers to believe Glaze's remains may have been buried there.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Michael Owen lived on the property.

The affidavit listed several other people who have been interviewed.

Using special radar equipment, belonging to the FBI, investigators scanned a former garden spot and property at the end of Helen Lane after clearing the area of brush and weeds. The device, which is pushed much like a lawn mower or sled, was set to project an image on a viewing screen of the matter in the ground 6-feet-deep.

Wilde said anything from rock formations to brush to bones to other debris would be visible on the screen.

Investigators dug in those areas and collected a few items, including various unidentifiable debris, a red piece of cloth and soil samples. Some photographs were also seized during the research of the property of Mike Owen.

The seized items were taken to be tested in one of the SBI criminal labs. SARDOGS were brought to the Pisgah Forest site.

Owen's property was searched, according to the search warrant, because on July 1, 2000, at the Henderson County Sheriff's Office Detective Division, Owen made confessions to Det. Waldrop and Special Agent Smith in the presence of attorney Monroe Redden.

Owen, according to the affidavit, said he went to a brick house where his father once lived on Pinnacle Road (the same area where Glaze was last seen) and stayed there a while before leaving.

He then drove toward the Brevard Music Center where he parked by the lake.

"Michael (Mike) Owen said he sat in the truck by the lake for a period of time when he saw Edna Glaze walking," the affidavit reads. "Michael (Mike) Owen said, "Something told me you ought to kill her.' Michael (Mike) Owen said that when she walked by the driver's side of the truck, he got out of his truck, stabbed her and threw her in the back of the truck."

He then said he placed her body in a remote area on the Brevard Music Center property and concealed her body by placing it in a dip or ditch and covering her with leaves and logs. After that, he said he went home.

"During the course of Michael (Mike) Owen's confession, Owen asked Attorney Redden 'Don't they need a body to charge me?' Redden replied to Owen, 'Yes,'" the affidavit reads.

Since the July 1 interview and after receiving the anonymous letter, the search at the Brevard Music Center property was reinitiated but was futile.

On June 26, 2000, Owen's wife, Yvonne, was interviewed by Special Agent Smith and Transylvania County Sheriff's Office Investigator Eddie Gunter.

"Yvonne told officers that about the time of Edna Glaze's disappearance, her husband came home during the evening hours and had a large amount of blood on him," the affidavit reads.

She said her husband told her he had been helping a friend skin a deer. However, when the friend, Thomas Blythe, was interviewed he denied deer hunting during that time and said Owen did not help him skin a deer, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said Yvonne Owen also told the investigators her husband had told her four or more times that he was involved with the disappearance of Glaze and was responsible for her death.

Following subsequent interviews with Owen's wife and some friends, investigators learned he was once a heavy drinker and had always grown a nice garden. However, he no longer drinks or grows a garden, according to the affidavit.

"After Glaze's disappearance, witnesses told officers after Glaze's disappearance in 1996, Michael (Mike) Owen stopped drinking alcohol and making and maintaining a garden. Michael (Mike) Owen stopped drinking and making a garden around April 1996," the affidavit reads.

One friend, Robert Carroll White, was interviewed by Det. Nicholson on July 17, 2000.

The affidavit reported the following: "Robert White feels that it is out of character for Michael (Mike) Owen to stop drinking and gardening. Robert White also believes that since Michael (Mike) Owen suddenly stopped drinking and gardening that he may have buried the body of Edna Glaze in what used to be the garden plot or area located on Michael (Mike) Owen's property."

Aug. 28, 2000

Law enforcement agencies and members of the district attorney's office were concerned because much of the public still didn't understand why Owen had not been arrested in the Edna Glaze case.

"(Investigators) have to independently prove the crime has been committed, even with a confession," Charlie Walker, assistant district attorney, said.

"It's case law," he explained. "And it doesn't apply just to murder cases."

Walker said there have been documented cases in the past where a person has confessed to a crime, which turned out to be false.

Investigators would find that no crime had even been committed.

Although law enforcement officials believe a homicide had been committed, they are seeking solid, forensic evidence to prove a crime had been committed. Without crucial evidence, not necessarily a body, it would be futile to go to court at this time, Walker indicated.

"You have to go into court and prove, in this case, Edna Glaze is dead and she did not die of natural causes," Walker said.

The most common way to prove a death has been committed is to have a body, but that is not the only way, he said.

For example, an item of bloody clothing or a weapon could be more concrete evidence and could be supplemented with circumstantial evidence.

If officers were to arrest Owen and go to court without key evidence (a body or other evidence which would indicate Glaze had been killed), prosecutors would risk having the case thrown out of court. A person cannot be tried for the same crime twice.

Jan. 17, 2002

A pickup truck that may contain evidence in the case was searched by SBI agents Jan. 15, 2002.

SBI agent Charles Moody said the agency received a tip that led to the search. Potential evidence was collected and sent to Raleigh for analysis.

"We had information that a suspect may have had access to the truck at the time of her disappearance," Moody said. "We're going to see about the possibility of any evidence that might link it back to Mrs. Glaze."

Over three days in August 2000, Michael Owen's property on Helen Lane in Pisgah Forest was searched. (Times photo)

When asked if he believes Glaze was inside or around the truck at the time of her 1996 disappearance, Moody said, "It's a possibility."

Moody, who would only say the vehicle was a Ford pickup, said it had been returned to the suspect.

Moody would not identify the suspect or say whether the truck was ever used by Owen. When asked directly if the truck belonged to Owen, Moody said, "I'd rather not comment. His name has has certainly been bandied about."

Moody said that investigators did a thorough search of the vehicle.

"They essentially took portions of the truck apart," he said, "They went over it and under it in places liquid might seep into."

Moody did not go into any details about how the information was received that led investigators to the truck.

He said the Glaze case, even after nearly six years, was very much an open investigation.


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