Special Assignment: Whatever Happened to Deborah Dill?

By: Tom Campbell Email
By: Tom Campbell Email

April 26, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---She was a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, and she has been missing for more than a year.

Right now it's a mystery. Relatives and law officers have their suspicions, but still no resolution.

Now we're asking you. Whatever happened to Deborah Dill?

"Whatever the reason, if somebody knows anything, if they would just call and help us put an end to this nightmare," Deborah's daughter, Amanda Daniels, told News 12. "This is an absolute nightmare."

Amanda's mother, Deborah Fortunato Dill, was 48 years old when she was last seen just over 13 months ago.

Her home was on Woodbine Road between Lake Olmstead and the Augusta National.

In May of last year, her husband, John, talked to News 12.

"The last thing she said is, 'You leave, I won't be here when you get back', and I didn't believe her. A lot of her stuff was gone. I just assumed that she left me," he said then.

But John Dill was still on the radar of Richmond County deputies.

They found out his computer had information on lie detector tests and body decomposition. That raised suspicions.

"The fact she had been missing a month before she had been reported missing, only from her family, and that her husband never reported her missing at all," Lt. Scott Peebles said.

'"Because my mother did have problems--people are aware of this," Amanda said. "At this time, he never called me. It was up to me to say, 'I haven't heard from my mother in a while. Let me see what's going on.'"

In February of this year, John Dill was arrested in the Greenville area on burglary and other charges.

Deborah Dill's family has even more suspicions.

"We definitely, definitely think so, but without knowing for sure where she is, or how she is...we just don't know."

So the family is left with questions. That's not unusual. But so are others, including me.

For you see, I knew Debbie. I would see her often at the former Michael's Restaurant on Washington Road. I too am asking: Whatever happened to Deborah Dill?

Last May, search dogs went through the home and cars on Woodbine.

In late March of this year, some skeletal remains were found off Laney Walker Boulevard. They were those of a white woman, but there are indications it was a woman younger than Deborah Dill. So there is still no definite word.

"We don't know if they know more," Amanda said. "They don't tell us more, or if they can't tell us more. It's hard being in our situation."

Here is the situation for Amanda and her family. No sign of Deborah, no activity on her bank account, and John Dill not cooperating. Here's what he said last year:

"I have been as cooperative as I can, but there is a point where I'm not going to let them push me into something where I feel like I'm guilty of something regardless."

So now what happens?

That may be up to you. Somebody knows something. But what will it take to find an answer?

You see, a six-year-old little boy wants to know too.

"My son asks me all the time, 'Is Nana in Heaven?' And how do I answer that?" Amanda asked.

"All we have is the loneliness. We don't have anything else. It's awful."

Awful indeed...simply not knowing.

I've been in TV news a long time. I know you do some stories because you want to, you do others because your boss tells to you, and there a few you do because you have to.

This is one of those.

Every time I drive by Woodbine on Washington Road, I ask myself: whatever happened to Deborah Dill?

Somebody knows something. Maybe that somebody is you.

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