Tunica millionaire's death continues to mystify his daughter

Published: Jun. 30, 2011 at 3:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2011 at 2:49 AM CDT
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(WMC-TV) - What happened to a Tunica millionaire who turned up dead after a wild weekend at the lake?

Investigators say Charles Ewing spent the last weekend of his life in Hot Springs with two women who he called his girlfriends, despite the fact his fiance was back in North Mississippi. Ewing had a lot of cash with him that weekend in Hot Springs, and now some of that money is missing, and he is dead.

Ewing's body was found in Lake Hamilton last month, floating just 60 feet away from his Cadillac as it was pulled from the water.  It was just outside the hotel where he was staying.

Attorney Amery Ewing Moore says her millionaire father in his 50's went to Hot Springs, Arkansas with two women in their 20's.

"He came down here with them and introduced them as his girlfriends," John Angel said.

Angel runs security for a boat dealer near the Clarion Hotel where Ewing and the women stayed in adjoining rooms.  Angel talked to Ewing and the two women the night before Ewing died.

"They wanted to buy a boat," he said. "He had a bunch of cash in his pocket.  It was a big roll."

A big roll, pulled from a cooler he carried around, packed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and cashier checks. Witnesses said he flashed cash all over Hot Springs, including at a strip karaoke bar where he enjoyed dances by a stripper who no longer works there.

Ewing and the women also offered cash to a masseuse a massage parlor to come to their hotel room. He also spent major money that weekend on the Cadillac that ended up in the water and a brand new Dodge Challenger he bought for his "girlfriends".

Ewing's daughter believes someone knew her dad was carrying a lot of cash, and wanted him dead!

"The money is missing," she said. "The watch is missing, as well as his wallet."

Andy Amburn was working at the hotel where Ewing stayed that weekend.

"The morning I was out working, I saw the car in the lake, and a body about 60 to 70 feet from the vehicle," he said.
Amburn said the windows and trunk were open, and as he helped pull the car out of the water, he remembered hearing something the night before.

"An engine revving up, like a truck engine," he said.

Amburn said it may have been coincidence, but like Ewing's daughter, he believes this was no accident.

Witnesses say the two women were on the balcony on the fourth floor at the hotel, and they were watching as Charles Ewing's body and car were being pulled out of Lake Hamilton.  Around the same time, back in Tunica, someone kicked in the back door of Ewing's home, leaving black marks and evidence of paper burned in the driveway.

 "Letters with handwriting – not my fathers," Ewing-Moore said.

Ewing's daughter said personal papers in the master bedroom had been rifled through, but nothing else appeared to be missing.
"It makes no sense," she said.

For all the beauty Hot Springs has to offer, it now holds dark secrets for a grieving daughter. How did her father end up in the water? Why was he carrying all that cash?  And who broke into his home, and what were they looking for?

"In the last few months he's apparently been running with a different crowd," Amery Ewing said.

A crowd now questioned by sheriff's deputies, and the former fiance who married someone else just ten days after Charles Ewing was pulled from the water.

She is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy on Ewing. Her attorney says she had nothing to do with his death, and that only investigators in Mississippi have talked to his client.

Arkansas authorities have not reached out to her, but the lead investigator was on vacation for more than a month, and Garland County refused to assign anyone else to the case.

Ewing's daughter did her own investigating, and found a stun gun in the trunk of the Dodge Charger her dad purchased that weekend. It's now a tagged piece of evidence for investigators in Arkansas.

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