Zebb Wayne Quinn disappeared on January 2, 2000, from Asheville, NC. He was employed at the Walmart store on Hendersonville Road and was at work on January 2. He left work at 9 p.m. and met his friend Robert Jason Owens. The two young men were going to look at a Mitsubishi Eclipse that Zebb was interested in buying. On their way, they stopped for sodas at a Citgo gas station on Hendersonville Road not far from the Walmart, and video footage from the store shows the pair entering the store around 9:15 p.m. The same footage show their cars pulling away from the station’s parking area a few minutes later, heading toward Long Shoals Road.
Around 9:30 p.m., Zebb flashed his lights at Owens and the two cars pulled over to the side of the road. He told Owens that he had received a page and needed to make a phone call right away. Law enforcement later confirmed that the page had come from Zebb’s aunt’s telephone. He drove off, then returned about ten minutes later and accidentally rear-ended Owens’ pick-up truck. Zebb told Robert that something had come up and he couldn’t look at the Mitsubishi that night, and he drove away. He was never seen again.
Owens was treated for broken ribs and a head injury that he claimed were from another automobile accident that occurred in the early morning hours of January 3, several hours after he last saw Zebb. Police were suspicious about Owens being involved in two accidents just a few hours apart, particularly since the second accident where he claimed he was injured was never reported to police.
On January 4, someone claiming to be Zebb called the Walmart to say that he would not be coming to work that day. After the call ended, Zebb’s supervisor hit *69 to see where the call had come from, and it turned out that the call had been made from the local Volvo automobile manufacturing plant. Robert Owens was employed at the plant, so police immediately were suspicious that he had made the call. When questioned, Owens admitted making the call, at Zebb’s request. After giving police his initial statement, Owens refused to cooperate with police further.
Zebb’s blue Mazda Protégé was found abandoned in the parking lot of a local restaurant, The Little Pigs Barbecue, on January 16, two weeks after his disappearance. The parking lot is across from Mission St. Joseph’s Hospital where Zebb’s mother, sister and grandmother all worked as nurses. A black Labrador Retriever puppy approximately 3 months old was found in the car. The dog didn’t belong to Zebb and police believe that the car was left in that location deliberately with the puppy inside so that it would be noticed right away. Police checked with local pet stores, dog breeders, and animal shelters but were unable to locate the source of the puppy. One of the investigating officers ended up adopting the puppy.
In addition to the dog, a plastic hotel key card, drink bottles, and a jacket that didn’t belong to Zebb were also found in the car, along with some strands of hair that were inconsistent with Zebb’s hair. A pair of lips and two exclamation points had been drawn on the rear window with lipstick. There was no sign of Zebb at the scene and no one had any idea who had left the car there. The hotel key card had no name on it, and none of the local hotels and motels were able to identify the card.
Police now suspect foul play in Zebb’s disappearance and are investigating the case as a homicide, and believe that more than one person is involved. In 2009, they collected hair, saliva and fingerprint from a female friend of Zebb’s, although they stress she is not a suspect in his disappearance. Zebb had told his family that the woman (identified as Misty Taylor) was in an abusive relationship, and that he himself had been threatened by her boyfriend.
Zebb’s aunt is also a mysterious figure. She claimed that she wasn’t at home at the time Zebb received the page, and she had witnesses to back her up. The witnesses were Misty Taylor’s family, who the aunt was friendly with and had gone to their house to discuss a business plan – apparently they were planning to start a business together.
There has been considerable speculation that more than one person was responsible for Zebb’s disappearance, and that Misty’s boyfriend was involved. Maybe the page that Zebb received was from Misty, asking him to meet her at a local motel and that the two spent the night together and were later discovered by Misty’s boyfriend. It is also possible that Misty’s boyfriend lured Zebb somewhere by using his aunt’s phone at a time when he knew she wasn’t at home. Robert Owens was arrested in 2007 following a high speed chase. He still refuses to talk to the police about Zebb. Also, 9 p.m. at night seems an odd time for two young men to go look at a car. Obviously a number of people know more about Zebb’s disappearance than they are admitting.
Zebb Quinn in his ROTC uniform
Zebb Quinn is 5’9” tall and weighs around 165 lbs. He has brown hair that he wears in a neat short haircut, and blue-gray eyes. He wears contact lenses. He has scars between the middle and ring fingers on both hands. He has a learning or organizational disability and his family describes him as being not street-smart. He is close to his family and would never have left without warning or contacting them. At the time of his disappearance, Zebb was 18 years old – today he would be 30 years old. He was wearing jeans, a plaid button-down shirt, and a gold chain. He didn’t take money, clothing, or any other items that he would need if he was leaving for a long period of time.
If you have any information about Zebb’s disappearance, please contact the Asheville Police Department at 828/252-1110.