Stepgrandson charged with murder in November death at Gravely Road home

J. H. Osborne • Mar 26, 2020 at 5:49 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Jeffery Chase Caldwell, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 79-year-old stepgrandfather this past November at a home they shared on Gravely Road near Kingsport. Caldwell also is charged with false reports surrounding the death investigation, according to a press release from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

From that press release:

• On Nov. 20, 2019, the SCSO was called to 622 Gravely Road regarding the death of Lewis Vaughn, who resided at that address.

• Investigators spoke to Kayla Caldwell, 31, also of 622 Gravely Road, and she said she had found the victim lying in the floor of his bedroom.

• Investigators learned that Vaughn’s 2015 Volkswagen Jetta had been seen leaving the home early that morning.

• Witnesses said it was odd to see the vehicle leaving the residence as it was known that Vaughn didn’t allow others to drive his car.

• Investigators determined Jeffery Chase Caldwell, the stepgrandson of Vaughn, also of 622 Gravely Road, was driving the car.

• The Tennessee Highway Patrol recovered Vaughn’s car later that day.

• Kayla Caldwell, the wife of Jeffery Chase Caldwell, told investigators that she had cleaned shoes belonging to her husband and had hidden them in the yard of a neighbor. She was arrested that day and charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact.

• On Nov. 21, 2019, the Kingsport Police Department was called to Kroger, 1664 E. Stone Drive, in reference to a shoplifter. The suspect, Jeffery Chase Caldwell, was located in the parking lot of the store in a van stolen from Johnson City. As officers approached the vehicle, Caldwell attempted to leave in the van, but police were able to take him into custody. Caldwell was found to be in possession of the items that were stolen from Kroger and was charged with resisting arrest, motor vehicle theft, and possession of stolen property.

• Investigators spoke to Caldwell upon his arrest and later confirmed the information he provided was false.

• Caldwell was charged with first-degree murder and false reports Friday afternoon. He is held without bond in the Sullivan County Jail on numerous charges relating to last November’s incidents.

• In addition to first-degree murder and false report, Caldwell is charged with theft over $10,000, domestic assault, receiving or concealing stolen property, resisting stop/arrest, theft of property (motor vehicles) and violation of probation.

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