Police investigating after two bodies found in Townsend

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after the bodies of two people were found at a residence in the Laurel Valley Golf community in Townsend.

Police identified the deceased as Kenneth Allan Jacobs, 69, and Melinda Howes Jacobs, 59.

Deputies and Townsend officers responded to the couple’s residence at 163 Kelly Ridge Road in regard to a welfare check at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities received information that a man might be barricaded, and members of the SWAT and crisis negotiation teams responded.

After trying unsuccessfully to communicate with the residents, they made entry into the house and found the Jacobses dead inside. The investigation is ongoing, police said, and additional information will be released as it becomes available.

A cause of death has not been released. Police said autopsies are scheduled to take place today at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center.

One woman said she moved in across the street only weeks ago, but had spoken briefly with Melinda.

“We just moved here a month ago and I’m freaking out over this,” said the woman, who wished to remain unidentified. “I don’t know how long they’ve been married. She invited me over to dinner with her and her husband.”

The neighbor said she only got the invitation about two weeks ago and hadn’t had a chance to take them up on the offer.

Neighbors said Melinda was an attorney, while Ken had been a music professor at the University of Tennessee.

“She said she was an attorney, and he writes symphonies for orchestra,” the neighbor said.

She described their deaths as “very sad.”

Another neighbor said Melinda regularly walked a small, white dog, possibly a terrier or poodle. She had two cats, he said, one of which would follow behind her and the dog on their walks.

He said the Jacobs had lived in that house for about 14-16 months. It was originally a smaller structure, which they expanded on. He said they had a fondness for the Ford Thunderbird.

“The home, I think, is unusual because they could park as many Thunderbirds as there are colors (in the garage),” he said. “I remember her telling me they could park like nine cars on the basement level.”

He said the Jacobs did not socialize much with their neighbors.

“They pretty much kept to themselves,” he said.

The UT website shows Jacobs had directed the composition program in the music department.

Melinda Jacobs operated The Law Office of Melinda Jacobs, PLLC. Its website shows the firm had offices in Townsend and Franklin. Melinda Jacobs opened the firm, which exclusively handles education law, in 1999, according to the website.


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