KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s a murder mystery that has remained unsolved for more than 50 years.
It began when Knoxville Police arrived at Mead’s Quarry on September 13, 1969 to investigate a call about a burned car, they found found two dead men.
Hubert Johnson, 45 of Straw Plains, and Murel Marie, 61, were last reported together at Buch’s Tavern on Gay Street at around 11:30 p.m. The men left the tavern and headed to North Gay Cafe. There is no report of either man until the next day when their bodies were discovered at the quarry nearly 4 miles away. The area is now Ijams Nature Center.
The day he went missing, Johnson was working at Bob’s Auto Service alongside his two sons. Following an argument, Johnson left work alone. Johnson’s wife Mary was picking up the two sons from work when she told investigators that she saw Hubert drive by in their yellow 1966 Pontiac. This was the last time Mary saw her husband.
Marie was a former resident and manager at the Dunbar Hotel in Downtown Knoxville. He had been recently hospitalized at the Mountain Home Veteran’s Hospital in Johnson City. He returned to Knoxville on September 10, 1969 — just 3 days before his body was found.
Officials said they located a Fairfax watch on the floorboard of the vehicle that was used as evidence and to aid in identifying the victim.
Johnson was successfully identified first with the help of the car’s registration and dental information provided by his wife. Mary was able to confirm the watch that was found did not belong to her husband, leading police to investigate it’s ownership.
Marie was finally identified after police spoke with a jeweler on Gay Street who had worked on the watch. Marie’s brother also confirmed the watch belonged to the 61-year-old. A gunshot wound Marie sustained in 1966 was discovered on one of the victims, and a copper-plated bullet in the base of his skull.
Autopsies were not conducted due to the state of the bodies, according to investigative reports. Marie’s cause of death was ruled to be from a gunshot while Johnson’s remains a mystery to this day.
There are multiple ways you can provide anonymous information to Crime Stoppers. You can call 865-215-7165 or **TIPS, and go online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org, via the free mobile app, P3 Tips, or on the East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Tipsters can remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward.