Musician Johnny Cash’s grandniece, Courtney Cash, suffered an untimely death after she was found stabbed to death in a box in her home in Tennessee, and a friend has been charged with her murder, according to Putnam County sheriff’s officials.
Cash, 23, was stabbed to death at her home near Cookeville, about 70 miles east of Nashville. Authorities found her body stuffed into a 4ft by 2 ft deep chest near the entrance of the house.
Wayne Gary Masciarella was charged with first-degree murder with more charges expected to be added on. He is currently in custody, Sheriff David Andrews told CNN.The tragedy began when Masciarella apparently went out Tuesday night with Courtney Cash and her boyfriend, William Austin Johnson. The live-in couple returned to the couple early Wednesday with Masciarella when there was an altercation. Cash and Johnson were both stabbed in the process, officials say.
Johnson managed to escape from the apartment with the couple’s 20-month-old baby with him, and gave an official statement to investigators at a local hospital. Based on his statement, the sheriff said authorities were able to bring Masciarella into custody within a couple of hours.
“This is a senseless, tragic death of a young lady whose life was probably taken as a direct or indirect result of drugs,” the sheriff said.
“Based on what I’ve been told about his wounds, he’s a pretty strong man,” Sheriff Andrews said.
“He grabbed the baby and exited the house and got in a car and drove himself to the hospital.”
Johnson remains in the hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Cash’s grandfather, Tommy Cash, who is Johnny Cash’s brother, took to Facebook to post: “We ask for your prayers for the Cash family at this time. Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family, and like you, we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today. “