In January of 2007, Channon Christian was a beautiful and intelligent 21-year-old sociology major who studied at the University of Knoxville in Tennessee. Channon had moved from Louisiana to Tennessee in 1997, and her family settled in Farragut, an upscale community in West Knoxville. Eventually, Channon graduated from high school and started college. Not long after, she began dating 23-year old Christopher Newsom.
Christopher Newsome played varsity baseball high school, lived in more of a blue-collar area in North Knoxville. After graduating in 2002, Chris began working as a carpenter, and unlike Channon, never attended college. By all accounts, the two were very different, yet there was undeniable chemistry between them. Chris Newsom’s father, Hugh Newsom, reported his son had confided, “I love her.” According to Channon Christian’s friends, she felt the same.
On January 6, Channon drove her silver 2005 Toyota 4 Runner to Washington Ridge Apartments where her friend Kara Sowards lived. She had arranged to meet up with Chris later on. Meanwhile, Chris spent the day playing golf with his buddy Josh Anderson, then went home and showered. Before Chris left his parent’s house, they asked him if he wanted something to eat. He declined, telling them he would be getting some food with Channon. At around 8:00 pm Kara left for the party. Channon stayed behind telling Kara that she and Chris would meet up with her later, at a mutual friend’s house named Jamie Hamptom. Jamie was throwing himself a birthday bash, which Chris and Channon planned on attending later that evening. After Kara left, surfed the internet while she waited for Chris to arrive.
It was early evening when Chris left his parent’s house in his pickup truck to see Channon. But before he went to the Washington Ridge Apartments, he told his golfing buddy Josh that he would give him a lift to Jamies’ birthday party. While dropping Josh off, Chris told him that he was going to get something to it eat with Channon, and then they would head over to the party. He then left and drove to the Washington Ridge apartments, which were about 10 minutes away. He arrived at the apartments and parked his truck and went inside to see Channon.
This didn’t sit well with their friends, who were mad at the couple for not showing up. Multiple friends called Channon and Christopher’s cellphones but by 10:00 pm their phones were going straight to voicemail. At around 12:30 and two friends, Josh and a man named Justin Russell, left Jamie’s party to go looking for Channon and Chris. They knew that Channon and Chris were supposed to meet up at Washington Ridge apartments so they started looking for them there.
In the parking lot, they saw Chris’ pickup truck but Channon’s 4-Runner was nowhere to be found. This was odd to them because whenever Channon and Chris went anywhere, Chris always drove his truck. That suggested the two might have found something better to do than the party. Justin and Josh, being rather annoyed, figured they got ditched by Channon and Chris who had obviously found something better to do.
Listen to EP48: The Torture on Chipman Street to find out.