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Police arrest second suspect in Tennessee homicide case

January 12, 2021 News Extra

The manhunt is over for a second suspect in the murder of Butler County native Caitlyn Kaufman in Tennessee.

Nashville Metro police arrested 28-yearold James Edward Cowan without incident Tuesday night at a housing complex in the city's Antioch neighborhood about 12 miles southeast of Downtown Nashville, authorities said.

Undercover police detectives and agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms surveilled Cowan as he traveled to the complex from a nearby motel where he had been staying for the past several days, according to investigators.

Police last week obtained an arrest warrant for Cowan in connection with the Dec. 3 murder of Kaufman, a 26-year-old nurse, who was shot as she traveled to work on Interstate 440. He is charged with homicide.

Cowan on Jan. 6 also was placed on the TBI's Most Wanted list after he was identified as the second suspect

Police allege Cowan was with co-defendant Devaunte Hill, 21, when at least six shots were fired from their vehicle into Kaufman's sport utility vehicle.

A police officer who approached her SUV about three hours later found Kaufman, who studied nursing at Clarion University, deceased in the driver's seat. The vehicle was resting against a guardrail and the rear driver's side window had been shot out.

A Nashville medical examiner said Kaufman was struck once in the shoulder, and that she likely died just minutes after being shot.

Hill of East Nashville was arrested Dec. 11 on a charge of homicide, and he implicated himself in Kaufman's murder, investigators said. He remains in the Downtown Detention Center in Nashville.

During Cowan's arrest, authorities reported that two guns and suspected cocaine and marijuana were found.

Kaufman was a 2012 Butler High School graduate and worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit at St. Thomas West Hospital. Her family resides in Chicora.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Grew up in upstate New York. Earned my Journalism degree in 1983 from the University of Texas at Austin. Worked for two newspapers in Fayette County (Pa.) before starting at the Butler Eagle in 1998.