Neighbors in shock after 3 bodies found in woods behind school

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, May 21, 2013

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Richmond County investigators believe a second crime scene was discovered sometime Tuesday afternoon at a home on Pinnacle Place Drive.

Property records show the home is owned by Edna and Roosevelt Jones.

Richmond County investigators have someone in custody who they are questioning in connection to both the crime scene at the home and the fire where three bodies were found.

The first call from the original crime scene came in a little after noon on Tuesday for a brush fire in the woods behind Deer Chase Elementary School in the Walton Farms neighborhood.

When the fire department got there, crews found more than just a fire -- they also found three bodies.

Investigators say it appears the fire was intentionally set. The bodies belong to two black males and possibly one black female between the ages of 17 and 40.

Crime techs and even a state helicopter spent the afternoon searching the area for clues. Exact details of who, what, when, where and why are all still unanswered.

"Very surprised, very shocked that it happened in our community," said neighbor Cynthia Harris, who has lived in the Walton Farms neighborhood for three years.

Her home is just four doors down from the road where investigators found the bodies.

"To see this literally in your own backyard is very heartbreaking," Harris said.

She says it's normally a safe, quiet neighborhood -- the kind of place where everyone knows everyone.

"People really keep their eyes open, but I think now you're gonna keep your eyes open even just that much more," she said. "That comfort level that is here is being basically kinda ripped away from us."

The bodies were found in the woods in an area that's set to be developed soon.

"This is phase five of our development," explained Neighborhood Association President Lonnie Wimberly. "They've already done the infrastructure part, so it's now just a matter of starting with construction, building homes and all that."

The woods are not an easy spot to get to. You have to drive down roads filled with homes and people to get to the wooded area.

"We do kinda notice who comes in and who comes out of our neighborhood," Wimberly said.

He has lived there for 19 years and says this isn't the norm.

"For someone to intrude on us and do such as putting bodies within our community is really brazen and is out of character for any kind of activity we would have," Wimberly said.

But that doesn't stop Harris from worrying.

"As the old saying goes, there's no place to hide," she said. "The sense of security is being ripped away."

Bodies are currently in the Richmond County morgue and will be sent to the crime lab Wednesday morning for an autopsy. The Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying any missing people in the last 30 days or any suspicious activity in the area.


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