Thanksgiving Murders (Part 1)

Thursday, November 24, 2016: Thanksgiving

  • The Guy family: Lisa, Joel Sr., Joel Jr., Chandise Fink, Michelle Dennison, and Angela Guy plus grandkids
    • The girls were Joel’s from a previous marriage
    • Joel and Lisa had been married 31 years
    • Joel Jr. (28) was theirs and many called him Joel Michael
  • The family gathered at Lisa and Joe Sr’s. Knoxville, TN home for a family Thanksgiving
  • This was their “last hurrah” as Lisa and Joel Sr. were preparing to move back to their native Kingsport, TN in a couple weeks (1.5 hours away)
  • Joel Sr. either lost his engineering job or chose to retire from his engineering job
  • Lisa worked in HR for a separate engineering company and they wanted to retire
  • The family enjoyed Thanksgiving and everything seemed to go off without a hitch
  • Everyone was getting along and in good moods
  • They were looking forward to the next get together that was scheduled for Christmas


Lisa Doesn’t Show Up to Work on Friday

  • As I briefly mentioned, Lisa still had a job
  • She worked as a Human Resources Accounts Payable Administrator at Jacob’s Engineering
  • It was supposed to be her last day of work before retiring
    • Aside: I always take that day off and if I were retiring I probably would have ended the week before so props to her
  • It wasn’t like her to not show up, especially without explanation
  • After trying to reach Lisa by phone repeatedly and having no luck, her coworkers contacted local police to do a welfare check at the family’s home

What is a Welfare Check?

I believe we’ve talked about Welfare Checks in previous episodes but never really explained what they are and I realized recently that this isn’t actually common knowledge and I think it should be because they’re a great resource, especially as we get into the stressful holiday season, so we’re going to pause on the case for a minute and talk about what they are, when to use them, and how to get them. 

According to the Law Dictionary, “A welfare check, also known as a wellness check, is when police stop by a person’s home to make sure they are okay. Requests for welfare checks are made by friends, family, and neighbors, typically after someone unexpectedly stops answer their phone or getting in touch with others.”

They also explain that “Wellness checks were once associated with the elderly, but have recently been a critical tool for the safety of many young people in the country.”


When to Request a Welfare Check

Some examples from the Law Dictionary:

  • You normally see your neighbor, but it has been an extended period of time since you have. You call him or her and knock at the front door, but there is no answer.
  • Your grandpa calls you at least once a week, but you haven’t heard from him. When you try to call him, he doesn’t answer either. He has a heart condition, so you begin to worry.
  • You know of a suicidal friend who lives alone. She sent you a text message that causes concern, and you stopped hearing from her after that.
  • It’s late at night and you notice suspicious activity at your neighbor’s home.

There are many other reasons, like the case of Lisa not showing up to work and no one being able to get in contact with her but this is a good starting list of various scenarios you may come across


How to Request a Welfare Check

If you believe there could be an emergency situation in progress, you can call 911. However, where you are moreso just having general concern in these situations you would typically call the non-emergency number. You can usually find these with a quick Google search.

If requesting a welfare check in an area other than where you are, you want to make sure you are contacting the police in the area you are requesting the check. You also will need to be prepared to give police information about why you are requesting the check and where you are requesting it for. Sometimes, if you live in the same area, police will permit you to come along.


What Happens After You Request a Welfare Check?

The Law Dictionary explains, “If the police go to the location and find that the person is in good health — and it was likely a miscommunication why you were unable to get ahold of him or her — they will notify you to let you know. However, if the police find the person injured, sick, or already deceased, they will call for medical assistance immediately, as well as contact you to come to the scene (they will stay at the home until you arrive). And lastly, if the individual is found dead and there was any foul play involved, a criminal investigation will follow.”



The Welfare Check

  • Knox County officers Jeremy McCord and Steven Ballard responded to the welfare check for the Guys’ home.
  • They found the house seemingly empty but a couple things caught their attention that gave them pause
    • The house was listed for sale but there was no real estate lock on the door
    • Through the window on the front door, they could see groceries like ice cream, sausage, and bacon sitting on the floor
    • When they walked around to the back they noticed the doorknob from the backdoor had been removed and swapped to the front door
  • At this point, they also noticed heat emanating from the house and an odd chemical smell
  • They opened the car door (it was in the driveway) and used the garage opener in it to get access to the house



So now they’re in the house and while they were obviously concerned, they never in a million years would have guessed what they would find


And because I am who I am, I’ll tell you what they found in next week’s episode!




Sources Accessed November, 2023:


13 Pop Culture Events that Defined 2016:

What is a Police Welfare Check?

Wellness Check,of%20an%20elderly%20loved%20one.

The Shocking Case of Joel Guy Jr., Who Murdered and Dismembered His Parents

The Story Of Joel Guy Jr., The Tennessee Man Who Butchered His Parents For Cutting Him Off

Who is Joel Guy Jr.?

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