Rowan sheriff’s detectives, others featured in Snapped TV episode
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — Fans of the Oxygen true-crime reality series “Snapped” will see some familiar faces this weekend as the show continues its 18th season with a Rowan County murder. The 2005 case was unusual in that the victim died a few years after he was shot and left for dead.
In the hour-long episode, viewers will see interviews with retired Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly, local sheriff’s detectives and others with some involvement in the case. The case began in 2005 with a 911 call about a possible shooting.
The victim, Thomas Vogt Jr., was led into a wooded area in Enochville by Chandaliea Wayne Lowder, her then-boyfriend, Michal Joseph McDowell and friend Jason Ray Sullivan.
Lowder, a young mother of two, set out to kill Vogt because she believed he molested her daughter. The three led Vogt into the woods under the guise of going four-wheeling. Court statements would later reveal Lowder shot Vogt with a .22-caliber handgun once and a few seconds later shot him again after he fell to the ground.
The three covered Vogt under leaves and other debris and left him to die. But, the teenager didn’t immediately die. He was even able to tell investigators who shot him.
He died in 2008 at an Arizona rehabilitation facility after complications related to the shooting.
Rowan Sheriff’s detectives Jason Owens and Chad Moose as well as now-retired Deputy Tommy Ludwig spoke with producers of the show about a year and a half ago.
Owens said he received a questionnaire that included details of the case and facts about Rowan County. He said he probably answered about 100 questions.
“They asked us everything. If I had direct knowledge then I told them. Some of the questions were opinion, and they asked about the neighborhood,” Owens said.
He said prior to choosing the Lowder case, Oxygen producers had been searching for cases that matched their criteria and then narrowed their search to North Carolina.
The premise is usually the same — someone faces a violent death or a plot of murder is foiled, but the perpetrator is typically a woman who, as the show’s title suggests, snapped. The documentary-style show includes interviews with local law enforcement, journalists, victims, family members or friends and in some cases the accused themselves.
When producers made their inquiries, the Lowder case had long been closed.
The detectives described the scene, told show producers what happened and how the case was investigated. Owens said for about a year he hadn’t heard from producers about the outcome of the television show or whether it would actually air.
About six months ago, producers contacted Owens again and asked if he could help them further with locating pictures for the show. He said he recently watched an episode of the show. While watching, he saw a quick flash of what he thought was a preview for the show based on the Rowan County case.
Owens decided to go online and saw a 51-second preview of the episode. The show airs 9 p.m. Sunday on the Oxygen network.
“I’m definitely going to be watching,” Owens said.
What made this case interesting, Owens said, was that Lowder and the other two pleaded guilty and were serving their prison sentences when Vogt died in 2008, three years after he was shot. Two of the three returned to court in 2012 to upgraded charges.
He said Vogt was paralyzed from the neck down. Owens and other investigators feared Vogt wouldn’t survive so they went to his hospital room and video recorded the conversation.
By the time the case returned to court in 2012, Jason Ray Sullivan, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the crime in 2007, had already served his time.
Michael Joseph McDowell, now 42, remains in prison and is expected to be released in two years. Lowder, now 38, is expected to be released from prison in five years.
Owens said it’s not the first time a person didn’t immediately die in an attempted murder case. However, the victim typically dies within hours or a few days.
Rowan Sheriff’s investigator Chad Moose said he was a patrol sergeant when the murder occurred. When Vogt died in 2008, Moose was head of the criminal investigations division.
Moose admitted he’ll be watching the Broncos versus Raiders football game, but said his wife will watch the episode.
He said this case would’ve been difficult if the landowner had not been checking his property and found Vogt. He said it also helped that Vogt was able to provide them with details.
Owens said the show brings community awareness that local investigators are “doing our job. It lets people know how hard we work on these cases.”
Viewers will also see what exactly took place and how the case was investigated, Owens said.
Check your local TV service provider for specific channel listings. To view a preview of the episode, visit http://www.oxygen.com/snapped/season-18/videos/snapped-preview-1813-chandaliea-lowder
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.