Newport remains identified as missing woman

Person of interest in custody on other related charges, according to Cocke County Sheriff's Office.

Lora Hale Costner (source: family)

NEWPORT (WATE) – District Attorney Jimmy Dunn said human remains found in Newport have been identified as missing woman Lora Costner.

Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes said a person of interest has been identified and was arrested on other related charges. Because it is a criminal investigation he said law enforcement is limited on what they can release to the community to “preserve the integrity” of the case.

Costner’s remains were found on a property on Lane Drive last week, according to Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes. He said the property owner, Jerry Cody, found the remains. Investigators were at a property collecting evidence on Lane Drive Thursday.

Sheriff Armando said investigators are working to determine how Costner died and how long her body has been on the property. “You will be more results and you will see some future things occurring that will bring closure to this family,” he said. “Our community is safe and we’re working hard to keep our people safe.”

Lora Costner, 42, went missing in January. 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: Family of missing Cocke County woman pleads for safe return

Family remembers Laura Costner

Lora Hale Costner (source: family)
Lora Hale Costner (source: family)

Lora Costner’s family sat in the courtroom during the press conference and said they’re prepared to wait for answers because they’ve been suffering for nine weeks.

“Losing Lora was devastating. Basically she was everything to me,” said Costner’s sister Joyce Haile. “I cried hysterically at first but I was so thankful that she was found, because we were so afraid she would never be found.”

Haile said the family is feeling a mix of emotions. They are sickened and angry, though ultimately the family hoping for justice.

They are sickened and angry, though ultimately the family is hoping for justice,” said Haile. She said the family is remembering Costner’s spirit, generosity, sense of humor and kindness.

Full press conference

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