Police search for Bartlett man in wife's death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police search for Bartlett man in wife's death

By Jason Miles - bio | email

BARTLETT, TN (WMC-TV) - Neighbor Don Phillips is still trying to figure out why Joe Caronna may have killed his wife, Tina.

"If Joe did this, I don't know what would have made him snap," says Phillips.

He's lived next door to the Caronna family for more than five years.

"Joe didn't appear to be capable of nothing like this," says Phillips.  "I mean, these folks cut the grass together," he adds.  "They loved each other."

Tina Caronna's body was found last October inside her Chevy Avalanche along a dead-end street in Bartlett.

"The cause of death according to the medical examiner was asphyxiation," says Inspector Jeff Cox with Bartlett Police.  "suffocation," he adds.

Police say a surveillance camera on another neighbor's house caught Joe Caronna leaving his home in his wife's vehicle the day she disappeared.  He was seen driving back in another car, presumably after the murder.

Police say new information from a witness last week helped close their case.

"We have no doubt, no doubt that he's responsible," says Cox.

An arrest warrant issued over the weekend sheds light on a possible motive.  It reveals that Joe Caronna deposited a $30,000 annuity check, which included his wife's possibly forged signature, one week after she was found dead.  A request to cash the annuity was sent from a fax line in Joe Caronna's office a week before her disappearance.

"We'd like for him to contact us and turn himself in," says Inspector Cox.

Neighbors say they want the same thing..

"Just come on home, man," says Don Phillips.  "Just come on home," he adds.

Before, he says, a tragic situation gets any worse.

Joe Caronna was believed to be at a casino in Metropolis Illinois as recently as Saturday morning.  That's the last time he was in contact with his family.  Anyone who knows how to find him should call Bartlett Police at 901-385-5555.

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