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New Development Surrounding Murder of Tina Caronna [Merged]
This Item Appeared in Saturday's Memphis Commercial Appeal. Please Keep Joe In Your Prayers
Items removed from Caronna home
Action separate from slaying investigation
By Clay Bailey (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Authorities took cars and other items from the Countrywood home of Joe Caronna on Friday, but Bartlett police said the action involved another agency and is not directly connected with their investigation into the October death of Caronna's wife, Tina.
Neighbors near Caronna's home said Friday afternoon that among the items taken were a Dodge Challenger, a Corvette and a motorcycle. The ones who spoke did not give their names, but they live in the vicinity of the Caronna house at 8821 Eatonwick.
Bartlett police Insp. Jeff Cox said late Friday afternoon that they were aware of a federal agency going to the Caronna house. However, Cox said it was not directly associated with their murder investigation. He said they are following some leads in the case, but declined to provide any other information.
Asked if they had talked to Joe Caronna, Cox said detectives have tried to reach him by cell phone Friday, but had been unsuccessful. Cox would neither confirm nor deny whether the husband is a suspect in his wife's case.
Leigh Anne Jordon, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, did not comment on the matter, other than to say the office routinely neither confirms nor denies anything regarding a search warrant or ongoing investigation.
Efforts to reach Joe Caronna by telephone Friday afternoon were unsuccessful. No one was home at the Eastwick address mid-afternoon. The front door showed no signs of forced entry, and there were padlocks on both gates leading to the backyard.
There were no vehicles in the driveway. Neighbors said the cars and motorcycles were taken away earlier in the afternoon.
The possible involvement of another agency throws a new twist in a case that has been mysterious since Tina Caronna's body was found in the passenger section of her black Chevrolet Avalanche. The cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation.
The 44-year-old victim, an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald and an officer in the Corvette Club of Memphis, was reported missing Oct. 25. She reportedly was last seen heading to Costco on Germantown Parkway near Interstate 40.
The car and body were found two days later on Brannick -- a one-block, dead-end street just off Elmore behind the Tennessee Highway Patrol station on Summer. Brannick is just inside the Bartlett border with Memphis.
In the months since Tina Caronna's body was found, Bartlett investigators have shed little light on the case publicly. About once-a-month they confirm that they are still investigating the death, but have volunteered few details.
They acknowledged sending DNA and fingerprint evidence to various testing agencies.
Police have never said they officially questioned anyone as a suspect in the case.
Bartlett police get warrant in Tina Caronna murder
Husband sought, likely out of town
By Clay Bailey (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Bartlett police have obtained a first-degree murder warrant for Joe Caronna in connection with the death of his wife.
Tina Caronna's body was found in her car in late October.
"This is something we have definitely prayed that the justice system would handle," Scott Murphy, Tina Caronna's brother, said Sunday afternoon.
Municipal Judge Freeman Marr signed the warrant for Joe Caronna's arrest Sunday, but the suspect had not been arrested Sunday night. He apparently left town early Friday, and authorities believe he was in the Kentucky-Illinois area.
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* Items removed from Caronna home
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The body of Tina Caronna, 44, was found Oct. 27 in her black Chevrolet Avalanche on Brannick -- a one-block, dead-end street just inside the Bartlett city limit. She had been reported missing after leaving her home on Eatonwick in Countrywood two days earlier.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, saying the victim died of asphyxiation.
Tina Caronna, an executive with the local office of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., a financial services provider, and president-elect of the Corvette Memphis Club, was in the passenger section of the vehicle. It was parked along the curb a short distance from Elmore and Summer.
The warrant Sunday culminated a 41/2 -month investigation. Family and friends had worried that the lengthy probe indicated detectives were at a dead end or had no suspects. On several occasions, Insp. Jeff Cox, head of the suburb's investigative services division, had to reaffirm the department's commitment to the investigation.
On Sunday, Cox declined to release any specific evidence in the case, citing the ongoing investigation. But the inspector indicated that Caronna had been under scrutiny almost from the time his wife's body was found.
"We had to eliminate suspects and people, and, in doing so, we were not able to eliminate him," Cox said.
There was friction between Joe Caronna, 44, and his wife's family stemming from business dealings that followed the June 2007 death of his father-in-law, James E. Murphy.
Scott Murphy and Russell Johnson, the victim's cousin, said the family had always considered Caronna a suspect.
"I just had bad feelings about this guy," Murphy said.
Cox said police were aware of the family members' feelings. The inspector said a lot of evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, was examined before police sought a warrant.
Friday, federal authorities confiscated several vehicles and evidence from inside the Caronna house while Joe Caronna apparently was out of town.
Bartlett officials have said that search was not directly associated with their murder investigation.
Federal authorities have declined to confirm or deny whether the evidence was collected in connection with a case against Caronna.
Family members thought a recent incident had foreshadowed a break in the case.
Murphy said his mother, Clara, opened her fortune cookie at an Asian restaurant Thursday and found this message: "On one side it said, 'Daughter,'" Scott Murphy related. "On the other, it said: 'You will receive news of a long-awaited event soon.'"