Tunica millionaire’s death continues to mystify his daughter — (WMC-TV)

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WMC-TV

By Janice Broach

June 30, 2011 at 3:34 PM CDT – Updated June 24 at 1:50 PM

(WMC-TV) – What happened to a Tunica millionaire who turned up dead after a wild weekend at the lake?

Investigators say Charles Ewing spent the last weekend of his life in Hot Springs with two women who he called his girlfriends, despite the fact his fiance was back in North Mississippi. Ewing had a lot of cash with him that weekend in Hot Springs, and now some of that money is missing, and he is dead.

Ewing’s body was found in Lake Hamilton last month, floating just 60 feet away from his Cadillac as it was pulled from the water.  It was just outside the hotel where he was staying.

Attorney Amery Ewing Moore says her millionaire father in his 50’s went to Hot Springs, Arkansas with two women in their 20’s.

“He came down here with them and introduced them as his girlfriends,” John Angel said.

Angel runs security for a boat dealer near the Clarion Hotel where Ewing and the women stayed in adjoining rooms.  Angel talked to Ewing and the two women the night before Ewing died.

“They wanted to buy a boat,” he said. “He had a bunch of cash in his pocket.  It was a big roll.”

A big roll, pulled from a cooler he carried around, packed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and cashier checks. Witnesses said he flashed cash all over Hot Springs, including at a strip karaoke bar where he enjoyed dances by a stripper who no longer works there.

Ewing and the women also offered cash to a masseuse a massage parlor to come to their hotel room. He also spent major money that weekend on the Cadillac that ended up in the water and a brand new Dodge Challenger he bought for his “girlfriends”.

Ewing’s daughter believes someone knew her dad was carrying a lot of cash, and wanted him dead!

“The money is missing,” she said. “The watch is missing, as well as his wallet.”

Andy Amburn was working at the hotel where Ewing stayed that weekend.

“The morning I was out working, I saw the car in the lake, and a body about 60 to 70 feet from the vehicle,” he said.

Amburn said the windows and trunk were open, and as he helped pull the car out of the water, he remembered hearing something the night before.

“An engine revving up, like a truck engine,” he said.

Amburn said it may have been coincidence, but like Ewing’s daughter, he believes this was no accident.

Witnesses say the two women were on the balcony on the fourth floor at the hotel, and they were watching as Charles Ewing’s body and car were being pulled out of Lake Hamilton.  Around the same time, back in Tunica, someone kicked in the back door of Ewing’s home, leaving black marks and evidence of paper burned in the driveway.

“Letters with handwriting – not my fathers,” Ewing-Moore said.

Ewing’s daughter said personal papers in the master bedroom had been rifled through, but nothing else appeared to be missing.

“It makes no sense,” she said.

For all the beauty Hot Springs has to offer, it now holds dark secrets for a grieving daughter. How did her father end up in the water? Why was he carrying all that cash?  And who broke into his home, and what were they looking for?

“In the last few months he’s apparently been running with a different crowd,” Amery Ewing said.

A crowd now questioned by sheriff’s deputies, and the former fiance who married someone else just ten days after Charles Ewing was pulled from the water.

She is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy on Ewing. Her attorney says she had nothing to do with his death, and that only investigators in Mississippi have talked to his client.

Arkansas authorities have not reached out to her, but the lead investigator was on vacation for more than a month, and Garland County refused to assign anyone else to the case.

Ewing’s daughter did her own investigating, and found a stun gun in the trunk of the Dodge Charger her dad purchased that weekend. It’s now a tagged piece of evidence for investigators in Arkansas.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

 

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A Drowned Millionaire, Mysterious Women and a Burglarized Mansion — (Reddit)

submitted by MementoMori29

In May of 2011, a troubled millionaire named Charles Ewing was found dead in Lake Hamilton. For three days prior, he’d been vacationing in Hot Springs, Arkansas with two young women. Vacationing, perhaps, isn’t the right word. In the days preceding his death, Ewing walked around town with nearly a million dollars cash in a fishing cooler. He was an all-night staple in the bars and restaurants of Hot Springs. He bought several new cars for him and his young paramours, and planned on purchasing a boat. Witnesses described him spending money as if he were “terminally ill.”

To nearly everyone who interacted with Charles Ewing, his behavior was deeply strange. His family knew Ewing had been previously diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder. He oscillated between reclusive living and high-energy, impulsive behavior.

Similarly, he spent his time in Hot Springs in a frenetic state — energetic, talkative, occasionally irritable. Locals described the smell of liquor rising off of the millionaire. Others noted him smoking marijuana. On the night of his death, a masseuse hired by the two women accompanying Ewing asserted that she was offered a “platter” of drugs upon entering his hotel room.

These two women remain critical and mysterious figures in the death of Charles Ewing. One had been the daughter of a family friend, the other a stripper originally from Tennessee — both nearly half his age. As they dredged Charles Ewing’s body out of the lake, these women watched on from the hotel balcony just across the parking lot. At the time, no foul play was suspected. They were questioned by local police, released, and told to clean the two hotel rooms booked under Ewing’s name. They left town, and with them, apparently so did nearly a million dollars cash from the fishing cooler.

Ewing was found floating inside his brand new Cadillac. Inside the trunk was a stun-gun that was handed over to the police. The autopsy report would later attribute the cause of death to “Hypertensive Artherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease with Drowing.” Toxicology found only traces of marijuana and fluoxetine (Prozac), along with a “low level” of alcohol in his system. It was deemed an accident. No police investigation was opened.

On the night of his death, the aforementioned masseuse hired by his young companions found a disturbing scene upon entering his hotel room. She found Ewing pacing his room extremely distressed, his face blotchy, his movements manic. He complained about not feeling well. The masseuse turned down the myriad of drugs offered to her by the two women in the room attached to Ewing’s. She later told investigators that she was bizarrely encouraged to walk around the hotel room and “touch and hold” stuff. When she accepted a beer, she was given an open bottle by Ewing’s companions. After a few sips, she became woozy. She frantically contacted her employer who quickly came to pick her up. She claimed the young women were aggressive and pushy and worked hard for her not to leave, even following her down into the lobby. By dawn, Charles Ewing would be dead.

But, it gets stranger — because on the night of Ewing’s death his house in Tunica, Mississippi, nearly 180 miles away from Hot Springs, was burglarized. Whoever broke into the Ewing home was looking for something specific. Only the bedroom was torn apart — belongings and paperwork were scattered across his bed. In the driveway, investigators would notice the sparse, burned remnants of handwritten letters. In the garage, someone had attempted (and failed) to pry open a gun safe. Of all the luxuries in Ewing’s massive home, nothing valuable was stolen.

My partner and I are working with the Ewing family to provide better clarity regarding this case. Despite the official police disposition, we believe that enough unanswered questions exist regarding the death of Charles Ewing to open an investigation. We are hoping to fully lay out the details and better publicize this strange case.

Additional Reading:

  1. http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/15005880/tunica-millionaires-death-continues-to-mystify-his-daughter
  2. http://www.kltv.com/story/16069588/new-developments-in-mysterious-death-of-mid-south-millionaire

Discussion Points

  1. For someone with a medical background, is there a scientific rationale for the toxicology report to reveal minimal/trace or no levels of narcotics and alcohol, despite many witnesses claiming they observed Ewing in a non-sober state, especially on the night of his death?
  2. Would there by interest in this community if we could get a family member here to do an AMA?