Escaped cows help police nab accused cattle rustlers

Jeff Bobo • May 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM

BULLS GAP — Nine stolen Hawkins County cows escaped from a small corral Saturday in Hamblen County, resulting in an investigation which led to two alleged rustlers being charged with one count each of theft over $10,000.

Overall 11 animals — 10 cows and a bull — had been stolen recently from a farm leased to Jeremy Fobber on Prices Grove Road in Bulls Gap.

Two of the stolen animals were taken to the stockyards in Kingsport and put up for sale, while the other nine were placed in a small corral on Sulphur Springs Road in Hamblen County.

On Saturday the stolen cows escaped from their corral on Sulphur Springs Road. The Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office responded to that location, as did one of the alleged thieves, Dustin Anthony Holloway, 27, who lives nearby at 2899 Coffey Road, Morristown.

Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said Holloway was attempting the gather the stray cows back together when the Hamblen County deputies arrived.

“It was a suspicious situation right off the bat because the pen where these cows were being kept was more like a dog kennel than a place to hold cattle,” Lawson said. “The Hamblen County deputies were asking him where he got the cows, and his answers weren’t making any sense. Eventually he admitted he and another guy and stolen the cows.”

Shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday Hawkins County Deputy Don Mitchell met a Hamblen County deputy who had Holloway in custody, and Holloway led them to the Prices Grove Road farms where the animals had been stolen.

Hawkins County Detective John Parsons then met with Fobber at the location on Sulphur Springs Road in Hamblen County where Fobber identified some cattle running at large as his.

Holloway implicated Dennis Lee Murrell, 29, 149 Terrace View, Rogersville, as his accomplice in the theft.

Murrell was then arrested, and allegedly admitted to his part in the theft. Murrell’s 2004 Dodge pickup which was allegedly used to haul the stolen cattle was seized by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office.

Both men were arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions court. Holloway remained held on $3,500 bond and Murrell was being held without bond due to his already being on bond for previous felony theft charge.

Lawson said other possible cattle thefts in the area are now currently under investigation.

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