Signal Mountain Woman Arrested on Criminal Homicide Following Stabbing Death

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WDEF) – “It’s a small community so word spread quickly,” says land owner and developer of Wild Ridge Jack Kruesi.

Signal Mountain is known for being a safe and quiet family community. Sitting over a thousand feet above most city crime, a sleepy neighborhood in Signal Mountain is now the scene of a suspected murder.

Signal Mountain Police responded to the home at 3641 Scarlet Maple Court Wednesday morning to find 69-year-old Randall Otto dead from knife wounds. Scarlet Maple Court is part of the new Wild Ridge development.

“The event occurred at 3 in the morning. There was a lot of commotion and blue lights and stuff like that. It’s unfortunate for the family of the person of interest. I don’t know a lot, I know a little bit but apparently a violent crime was committed and those consequences will be forever,” says Kruesi.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed 63-year-old Rhonda Essenpreis is in custody at Silverdale Detention Center on charges of criminal homicide.

Tax records show Essenpreis is the owner of the home, which was bought in 2019 for $439,900.

The sheriff’s office has not shared a motive but a press release states they responded to the home at 3 a.m. on Wednesday on reports of a drug overdose.

“Someone just lost their temper. And they’re going to pay for it. They’re gonna really pay for it.” The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is taking over the investigation.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News