Update: Newton County Sheriff’s Office announce murder arrest in missing person case of Melvin Cooksey

(UPDATE – July 6, 2023) – Newton County Sheriff’s Office announced that an arrest has been made in connection to the Feb. 23 missing person case of Melvin Cooksey. NCSO initially announced that on that day NCSO deputies responded to a fire at 1405 Mote Road in Covington, Ga. Cooksey was not on location upon arrival; however, witnesses stated that a white hatchback vehicle left the scene shortly before the fire and a BOLO was issued. NCSO has now reported that Danetta Knoblauch, 35, of Wichita, Kansas, was arrested on July 4th and charged with murder, aggravated assault, and arson.

Photo courtesy of Newton County Sheriff’s Office:

Danetta Knoblach, 35

Sheriff Ezell Brown and NCSO thanked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police Department, Baton Rouge Police Department, and Louisiana Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in this investigation.

“At this time, the investigation is still on-going. Additional information will be released as it becomes available,” NCSO Communications Officer Caitlin Jett said in an updated press release.

(UPDATE – March 21, 2023) Newton County Sheriff’s Office has released information on the vehicle seen driving away from a house fire at the home of a partially paralyzed Covington man who is now missing. Deputes responded to the fire at 1405 Mote Road, Covington, Ga. on Feb. 23, 2023. At the time, Melvin Cooksey was not on location and the NCSO investigators believe that the vehicle pictured below is somehow involved in his disappearance.

This vehicle was possibly seen by a neighbor leaving Cooksey’s residence about 30 minutes before the fire. The driver is a brown-skinned male, and the passenger is a light-brown-skinned female. The vehicle’s tag was stolen in early February, and it does not return to that vehicle. 

If you have possibly seen this vehicle, with or without this tag, you are asked to contact Investigator French at cfrench@newtonsheriffga.org or 678-625-1429. You can remain anonymous!

Initial Story

(COVINGTON, GA – March 3, 2023) – The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing Covington man.

According to a press release from NCSO, on Feb. 23, 2023, Newton County deputies responded to a fire at 1405 Mote Road in Covington, Ga. Melvin Cooksey was not on location upon arrival; however, witnesses stated that a white hatchback vehicle left the scene shortly before the fire. The make and model is unknown.

Melvin is paralyzed on his left side. He has not been seen or heard from since early last week. His family and friends are concerned for his well-being. 

If you have seen Melvin or know where he is, you are asked to call Investigator French at 678-625-1429 or call 911

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