TBI: Man arrested for murder of missing Cocke County mom

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NEWPORT Tenn. (WATE) – A 19-year-old man was indicted by a Grand Jury for the murder of a Cocke County mom that went missing in January.

McKinley Lane Cody was charged with first degree felony murder, robbery, second degree murder and abuse of a corpse. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes says victim Lora Costner died of blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

Fontes says Cody was a person of interest from the very beginning of the investigation. He says Cody was the last person to be seen with Costner and Cody took measures to conceal her body. Fontes says Cody burned and destroyed evidence and stole personal property belonging to her including prescription medication.

“Unfortunately this case revolves around prescription pain medication,” said Fontes.

Costner’s van was found in the parking lot of Union Baptist Church. The vehicle had a slashed tire. The last time someone heard from Costner, she sent a text message saying she would be late to pick up her son from school because of a flat tire.Related:Newport remains identified as missing woman

Costner’s remains were found on a Newport property on Lane Drive in March. Investigators say the property owner discovered the remains.

Cody is being held at the Cocke County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond.

Joyce Hale plans to be in the court room for each and every hearing in the case. She wants to be her sister Lora Costner’s voice.

“My sister was an amazing person and she was violently murdered and she deserves justice and I want him to know that we are there,” said Hale.

The TBI says Costner and Cody were acquaintances.

“Just the fact that my sister was friends with him I just don’t understand but nobody deserved what he did to her under no circumstances did anybody ever deserve that,” said Hale.

If Cody is able to make bond, the judge has ordered he’ll have to wear an ankle monitor and not be able to leave Cocke County. Hale hopes justice is served and says her sister is greatly missed.

“She was just so kind and so giving.  She would literally take the shirt of her back for somebody her son and daughter loved her,” said Hale.

Cody is scheduled to be in court on May 2nd for an arraignment on the murder charges.  Cody has a criminal history including charges of theft, criminal trespass and criminal conspiracy.  Cody is also scheduled to be in court on May 4 on the criminal conspiracy charge.

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