Family members seek answers in Knoxville man’s Campbell County murder

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The family of a man found murdered in Campbell County spoke to 6 News Friday about the man they called a father figure.

Officers discovered Kenneth Koster’s body outside a home in Caryville earlier this week. Now they’re trying to track down two people to get some answers as to what happened.

James Bradley Phillips and Monica Leigh-Ann Briggs are wanted for questioning and both considered armed and dangerous.

Previous story: Campbell County officials seek 2 for questioning in Caryville homicide case

“He is my stepfather but I’ve known him as long as I can remember so he’s no different than a father to me,” said Michael Raulston about Koster.

Raulston and his fiance Krista Harold reported Koster missing when he didn’t come home. They have been living with him in Knoxville and saw him every day. They say they had a close relationship.

Michael Raulston and his fiance Krista Harold reported Koster missing when he didn't come home. They have been living with him in Knoxville and saw him every day. They say they had a close relationship.
Michael Raulston and his fiance Krista Harold reported Koster missing when he didn’t come home. They have been living with him in Knoxville and saw him every day. They say they had a close relationship.

They learned Tuesday his body had been found outside a home in Caryville and authorities were investigating the death as a homicide.

“Typically when someone passes away, it’s different because you’re expecting they die of a natural cause, but it’s a completely a new thing when they are taken from you,” said Raulston.

Raulston has been wearing a ball cap in his father’s memory.

“I’m not a hat person. I was wearing this today for him. He loved the Titans,” said Raulston.

Raulston says his father left freely with these two people Phillips and Briggs Sunday evening and that his father knew Briggs.

6 News looked into Phillips’ and Briggs’ criminal histories. Both have long records. Briggs’ includes forgery and theft charges. Phillips has numerous drug, reckless endangerment and felony evading arrest charges. Phillips has active warrants out for parole and probation violations.

“I absolutely hope that they are caught,” said Raulston.

Since learning of the murder, Raulston says there have been moments of deep pain and sorrow. He says his father will always be missed.

“He helped me get on my feet. He taught me just how to handle myself in the world. Unfortunately I didn’t learn as much as I could have from him though,” said Raulston.

The exact cause of death will not be released until the autopsy report is complete.

Anyone with information or contact with James Phillips or Monica Briggs is asked to not approach them, but immediately call the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at 423-562-7446 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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