UPDATE | DeGhelder person of interest indicted on charges unrelated to case

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Court records show a person of interest in the Andrya DeGhelder murder investigation has been indicted on multiple charges unrelated to the case.

According to court documents, Christopher Gibson has been indicted on one entering an automobile charge. He is accused of theft at a Dollar General store while entering a woman’s car and taking items from the car.

Gibson has been indicted on armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charges. These charges are stemming from an alleged armed robbery at a Subway on Columbia Road in July 2017.

Gibson was also indicted on possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charges.

He was arrested back in August.

Friday, Sept. 21, 2018
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Christopher Gibson will stay in jail until his trial for charges including kidnapping, armed robbery, battery, shoplifting and more.

Gibson is the sole person of interest in the murder of Grovetown mom Andrya DeGhelder.

The District Attorney Friday asked the judge to deny bond, and the judge agreed. One of the charges is for a Subway robbery that happened in 2017. The DA says Gibson’s wife saw the video and immediately confirmed it was her husband.

In another crime, Gibson allegedly stole from the Dollar General store in Grovetown. Deputies say Gibson stole a woman’s purse, along with $3,000 worth of items. After further investigation, deputies found that Gibson gave the purse he stole to his wife as a present.

News 12’s Laura Pugliese says Gibson’s family left the courtroom in tears Friday. They were not ready to speak about the day.

As far as Gibson’s possible connection to Andrya DeGhelder’s murder, we now know surveillance video did play a role in connecting Gibson to the murder.

"Whoever entered her home had maybe done it through the rear of her house," said the District Attorney.

That’s when they started looking at unsolved crimes, like the Subway robbery, to look for similarities.

"When they showed the video, they observed the video they see the person does look like Mr. Gibson. They then showed the video to his wife who immediately identifies the person in the video as Mr. Gibson, her husband"

In this case, the female manager was tied up with duct tape in the back room. So was Andrya DeGhelder.

"She was bounded and duck taped and was partially clothed. This occurred several days after her friends reported her missing from her home."

The investigation into DeGhelder’s death continues with this new information in mind.

2:45 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Christopher Gibson, a person of interest in the murder of Grovetown mom Andrya DeGhelder, has been denied bond on an unrelated charge.

Gibson is accused of robbing a Subway restaurant in 2017. He is also accused of theft at a Dollar General store while entering a woman’s car and taking items from the car.

8:00 a.m.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A person of interest in the Andrya DeGhelder murder investigation will appear in court for a bond hearing on new, unrelated charges.

According to court records, Christopher Gibson will appear in a Columbia County courtroom for a bond hearing for new charges he is facing.

Friday, August 31, 2018
(News 12 at 11 o'clock)

GROVETOWN, Ga (WRDW/WAGT) -- For the first time in a long time, Donna and Weldon Morrison say they can breathe again.

"We're the parents of Andrya Deghelder, the young woman from Grovetown who was murdered recently."

Today, they came back to the place where it all started, but this time, with smiles on their faces. Smiles because they found the good in all of this bad.

"We are not here to speak to the status of her case, but are here to discuss what we would like to see happen in her memory and to create the legacy she always dreamed of."

The goal was simple-- to finish what she started.

"We would like everyone to know that a scholarship is being created in her name at the University of Augusta for the Masters program, Clinical laboratory science."

Eight years ago, Andrya battled Aplastic anemia-- a rare condition where the body stops producing blood cells. Her condition inspired her to dedicate her career to research blood disorders and work towards a cure.

She worked in pharmaceutical research with experimental medication and as a clinical lab technician at AU and the VA hospital.

"She did it all on her own through horrible tribute trials with the illness she had, overcame that, became a mother, worked and went to school and got where she wanted to be. Then it was cut short. It's unfortunate, but were going to try to make something positive from this."

Now, her family is putting her legacy in the hands of others.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – While searching for evidence at Christopher Gibson’s house in the murder of Andrya DeGhelder, investigators are connecting the dots to several unsolved cases near the home.

Deputies believe that evidence has lead them to the key suspect in at least two other crimes, Gibson.

The first charge is related to an unsolved subway robbery back in 2017. The robber wore a long sleeved shirt and a mask. Investigators weren't able to figure out who was hidden under the mask -- until now.

Gibson is also being charged for another unsolved robbery that occurred earlier this year. In that case, Gibson allegedly stole almost $3,000 worth of items from a woman's purse outside the Dollar General store. He was a suspect at the time, but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him until now.

As for the DeGhelder case, investigators are still waiting on lab results to confirm any suspicions they may have.

When that happens, count on News 12 to bring you the information.

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Christopher Gibson, the person of interest in the Andrya DeGhelder case, faces new charges not connected to her death.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office reports they believe Gibson is connected to an armed robbery and theft.

According to the incident report, Gibson robbed a Subway restaurant in Grovetown in July 2017. Gibson pointed a gun at the manager and demanded money, the report says. Afterward, according to the report, he tied the victim with tape, left her in the office and fled.

In February 2018, Gibson allegedly entered another vehicle and took a woman's purse.

He was originally arrested August 20th, 2018 on shoplifting charges from May 2018. Gibson is charged with stealing cleaning solution from the Grovetown Walmart.

He now faces kidnapping, armed robbery, battery, shoplifting, entering an automobile and two weapons charges.

Gibson is the sole person of interest in the murder case involving his former next-door neighbor, Andrya DeGhelder. ​He does not face any charges in that case.

Friday, Aug. 24, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 7

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Surveillance video, phone records, physical evidence, fingerprints, DNA. Just some of the things investigators use to help them pinpoint who murdered 39-year old Andrya DeGhelder.

"It's just... you can't find a word to say it. Disregarding a human being in that way is just very cold and callous," Vernon Collins said.

Coroner Vernon Collins examined DeGhelder's body in a dumpster near the Walmart in Grovetown.

"They tag it, photograph it and bag it, of course, and seal it with crime scene tape and eventually it ends up at the GBI office."

He's frustrated by the frequent backlog at the GBI crime lab.

"There are 150 something counties that funnel evidence to the GBI in Atlanta," the coroner explained.

Loads of evidence, piling up and delaying results for cases like Andrya DeGhelder's.

"I would think it would be months,” he said. “You can pull a lot of evidence out of a house when you've got a bad scene especially when it's a homicide."

And her homicide isn't the only one, so is this case and this evidence a priority?

"I think it would be. I hope it is. I feel like every homicide of this nature that they've got somebody that's doing it and are trying to find him before another victim surfaces."

Besides the gun that was found, they haven't mentioned any other evidence, but they did say there were things inside the home that they wanted to look further into so they sent all of that to the crime lab as well.

Until something new comes along, it'll be a waiting game of what comes first the GBI results or the trial.

9:43 a.m.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A person of interest in the Andrya DeGhelder murder investigation has been denied bond for charges unrelated to the case.

Christopher Gibson was arrested for an outstanding shoplifting charge at the Walmart in Grovetown.

The hearing lasted about 30 minutes. Two of Gibson's family members attended.

The judge read the charges out loud, "You are currently charged with two offenses. The first is possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and the second is a misdemeanor shoplifting."

"The penalty for the charges I just read to you are as follows: possession of a firearm and convicted felon is 5 years, theft by shoplifting because it is a misdemeanor is 12 months."

Deputies say a handgun was discovered in his home when law enforcement searched his home Tuesday.

The District Attorney asked the judge to deny Gibson bond based on his lengthy criminal past.

Eighteen arrests in Georgia and three in South Carolina. Several battery, theft and burglary charges, obstructing a law enforcement officer, distributing obscene material. He is also being investigated for stalking an 18-year-old.

A judge set a $2000 bond for the misdemeanor shoplifting and he was denied bond for possession of a gun for a convicted felon charge.

Thursday, August 23, 2018
(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – It has been 29 days since Grovetown mom Andrya DeGhelder was taken from her home, and it’s been 22 days since her body was treated like trash and taken to a dumpster just miles away.

Investigators searched the house of her neighbor, Christopher Gibson, two days ago.

"We're confident we're going to be able to solve this thing," said Major Sherif Chochol, the lead investigator in this case for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

They've got phone records, surveillance video, fingerprints and DNA all waiting to be processed in the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta. However, that processing could likely take weeks, or even months, because of the major backlog there.

"We did recover things that we think have evidentiary value, but we will not know that for some time."

Until that point, investigators are working day and night interviewing anyone who may be connected.

They told News 12 that surveillance video and physical evidence from the scene led them to Gibson’s house next door. Inside they found several items, including a handgun.

"When we do a search warrant in relation to a murder investigation we're looking for clues in relation to that murder."

To be clear, DeGehlder was not shot. She was strangled to death, so this is a completely unrelated charge that just adds to Gibson’s criminal history. He’s been charged in the past for things like obstructing a law enforcement officer, shoplifting, sending inappropriate photos...

"Christopher Gibson is currently in custody. He is in custody on an unrelated charge for an outstanding warrant for something that happened in the past."

Gibson is expected to face a judge on Friday for a bond hearing for this new charge. He’s already being held without bond for a shoplifting charge.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is telling News 12 more about the search of Gibson's home.

A handgun was found in the home, and Gibson is now charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. This is unrelated to DeGhelder's death.

We're told other items were also found in the search, but they were sent to the GBI Crime lab for analysis.

Gibson will be in court for a bond hearing Friday.

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
News 12 at 11

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Another day goes by and still no answers for the DeGhelder family.

28 days without their Andrya and 28 days without finding her killer.

"Ever since her disappearance and locating her body we've continued to work this nonstop," Major Chochol said.

Investigators walked through a neighbors doors, returning with evidence. That neighbor is already in custody on unrelated charges.

"Christopher Gibson is a person of interest."

He's not charged with murder actually, he's not charged with anything in this case, but they do believe he could be involved.

"We are looking at him as being possibly part of this murder."

Gibson is facing a shoplifting charge but a judge denied bond, citing his past.

That's why we decided to take a closer look. Starting in 1997, with another shoplifting charge.

In the last 10 years, Gibson's been charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer twice. Shoplifting from the Grovetown Walmart twice, and sending inappropriate photos.

He's also being investigated for allegedly making an 18-year-old neighbor fear for her life.

That victim told deputies Gibson said, “something strange is going to happen to you”.

And while Gibson is not charged with DeGhelder's murder, deputies say they're getting closer.

"We're confident we're going to be able to solve this thing."

Right now, deputies are waiting for analysis to come back on the evidence they collected last night. They say that could take some time.

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O'clock / NBC 26 at 7

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Investigators were in the Ivy Falls subdivision Tuesday night, searching the home of Andreya DeGhelder's neighbor.

Today, they say that neighbor, Christopher Gibson, is officially a person of interest.

During Tuesday night's search, officials tell News 12 they found evidence in his home that will go to the GBI crime lab to be processed.

Some homeowners in the area describe the scene saying they were taken aback when it was discovered that officials were searching Andrya's neighbor's house.

"I got home at like 6:30 and all the government cars were out, vehicles and stuff and I thought they were back at her house," Eric Carpenter said.

He went on to say, "Just the incident itself makes you uneasy, it makes you question your life choices like where you're living and stuff like that."

Sherif Chochol, Major of Field Operations, Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the evidence they found will help them along the way.

"We did a search warrant last night at the neighbor's residence of Christopher Gibson's. There, we recovered some evidence that makes us continue to follow up other leads."

Christopher Gibson is currently behind bars in the Columbia County jail for an outstanding shoplifting charge at the Walmart in Grovetown.

"He's got a history of other shoplifting among other things and that caused the judge to revoke his bond pending hearing," Major Chochol explained.

Major Chochol believes possible connection is probable but will not go further into detail at this time, " At this point, there's obviously some connections to the DeGhelder case. The search warrant was done in relation to that case. Am I ready to tell you he did it? I can't tell you that."

Andrya DeGhelder went missing about a month ago. Her body was found nearly a week later, just 10 minutes from her home, in a dumpster near Walmart in Grovetown.

Since then, investigators have been combing through surveillance video, phone records, and any other possible leads. One of those leads led them to Andrya's next door neighbor.

Neighbors want to see things return to normal, but more importantly, they want to see this case solved and justice for Andrya's family.

"I just want them to get it resolved, find out how did it and put them behind bars and call it a wrap," Carpenter said.

"You're looking for pieces of the puzzle for what you know on the crime scene to see if you start filling in the blanks with evidence you might find," Major Chochol said.

The puzzle pieces are still being put together but the Major hopes it will soon give them a clear picture of what happened. Investigators have been working behind the scenes day and night to solve this case, right now, it's just a waiting game.

1:15 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Major Chochol with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office says they are considering Gibson a "person of interest" in the DeGhelder case.

Major Chochol also tells News 12 evidence was found in the home Gibson lives in, which is right next to DeGhelder's home.

Gibson is being questioned while behind bars on an unrelated charge.

11:45 a.m.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A neighbor's home has been searched for evidence in connection to the murder of Andrya DeGhelder. This comes the day after investigators searched a house we're told the man lives in.

Investigators are looking at the home of Christopher Ashley Gibson. He is currently behind bars in Columbia County for shoplifting charges after he allegedly stole items from the Grovetown Wal-Mart in May.

Gibson was just arrested this week for that crime and is awaiting trial.

Stick with News 12 for the latest in the DeGhelder investigation.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – News 12 has learned investigators with Columbia County are searching a next door neighbor's house in connection to the Andrya Deghelder murder case.

Captain Morris says the lead came from police work and not an outside source.

Forensic results are still pending from GBI and FBI.

Investigators are hoping the lab results will reveal blood and DNA evidence that will help propel the case forward.

Officials say the results could take weeks, if not months.

We will keep you posted on this developing story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – While Amy Degarmo-Bowen mourns the loss of her little sister, she searches for answers.

"We need something to make us feel like her life wasn't a waste and a homicide, it's terrible," Amy told News 12 Wednesday.

It’s been less than three weeks since Amy found out her sister, 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder, was missing. One week after that she found out she had been murdered. Amy says she wants to know what happened.

"I want this case solved, I want you guys safe I want us to have closure and I want this case solved."

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Amy are asking the community for any help they can give.

"Somebody knows something and I wish they would just let us know, don't be afraid you could save your neighbor you could save your own kid."

The sheriff's office says they're still waiting on evidence from DeGhelder's body and home to be processed at the GBI Crime Lab to track down who killed her.

"They want me to be rest-assured that they are still diligently investigating this case 24 hours a day, and they're not going to let any lead be uninvestigated."

While the person who did this is still out there, Bowen struggles to move forward with her life.

"She was important to us, and she's leaving people behind that need those answers, need peace. Our day-to-day functioning is just a mess," expressed Andrya’s sister.

The family will say goodbye to Andrya in her Missouri hometown on Saturday, but they won't stop fighting for closure.

"We need justice. I mean we'll lay her to rest, yes, and we'll have a place to go and grieve, but we don't have any peace in our hearts."

Amy tells News 12 many of Andrya’s friends will be at the service this weekend. She says she's so grateful for the support she's gotten from everyone who knew her little sister and even the people who didn't.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office tells News 12 they are still looking for any information from the public regarding the murder of 39-year-old mother Andrya DeGhelder.

Investigators also tell us they're still waiting for evidence and reports back from the crime lab.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Columbia County Sheriff's Office at (706) 541-2800.

Friday, August 3, 2018
(News 12 at 11)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The vigil brought them all together in a Grovetown neighborhood still shaken by the crime. A lot of hugs and tears flooded outside the home where Andrya lived.

Media was invited out to see the vigil, but as you can imagine, with everything still so raw, the family did not want us to interview them or anyone there. Wishes we understand and respect.

The lawn was filled with people tonight in Ivy Falls. Family, friends, and neighbors lit a candle to remember Andrya DeGhelder. People brought flowers and balloons, followed by a hug. Andrya's family drove down here from Missouri for this.

One friend read a poem, another lead the group in prayer. She asked for healing and asked God to help investigators bring justice for Andrya. Not only that, she prayed for neighbors. She asked that the sense of safety and security they now lost would be restored.

Neighbors tell News 12 they're heartbroken for this family and just confused about how someone could take a mother away from their child.

Even in the larger community people who never even knew her are showing their support. One local church donated 250 candles for the vigil. But even with all the love, support and tears tonight, Andrya's family and friends say they still have so many questions and want answers.

Investigators have a lot of evidence to sort through in this case, from the cameras in the neighborhood, to cell phones, and even the dumpster where Columbia County investigators found Andrya's body Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbors say they won't rest easy until there's an arrest in this case.

Friday, August 3, 2018
(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Friends, family, and neighbors of Andrya DeGhelder will gather outside her home to honor the mother’s life Friday night at 7:00 p.m. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate her murder.

The sheriff’s office is still not revealing whether they have a suspect, but they say they’re following a few different leads and questioning dozens of people.

News 12 has learned investigators are searching a few phones, and we have one of those warrants to shed more light on this crime.

We aren't going to name the person on the warrant since the sheriff's office has several suspects, but it does hold more information on what the day Andrya was reported missing was like for investigators.

They found Andrya's purse strewn across the floor, her phone locked, and enough blood to suggest she was killed in her home. The warrant says blood was found on the kitchen floor, hallway and the bedroom.

There were reportedly also clothes laying on the floor of the master bedroom. It’s a sight investigators won’t forget.

“That's just a toll in law enforcement, it's just the price of being in law enforcement,” said Sheriff Clay Whittle. “You can never un-see what you see. You carry it with you for the rest of your life, but you deal with it and you keep going."

Investigators say they have a lot of evidence but they aren't saying much as they work to build a strong case.

“Our DA's office and some her ADA's and some of the investigators have been in constant contact and working with our investigators, making sure that each step we take is very defensible in court," said Sheriff Clay Whittle.

We spoke with the coroner on the case as well, who says Andrya’s body may have been in that dumpster since Wednesday night or some time Thursday.

The search warrant also says two laws were violated. One of those is Battery, meaning investigators believe someone intended to harm Andrya.

“Our next step is to put the rest of the case together, the rest of the evidence together to be able to get our suspect and take that suspect into custody and have a successful prosecution by our DA's Office"

That vigil will be held Friday night at 7:00 in front of Andrya’s home in Ivey Falls.

Thursday, August 2, 2018
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says the body found in a Grovetown dumpster has been positively identified as Andrya DeGhelder.

The identified her with a fingerprint. Coroner Vernon Collins confirms she was strangled to death.

Andrya's family has planned a vigil for Friday. A candlelight ceremony will be held in front of Andrya's home on the 500 block of Great Falls, in Grovetown.

This comes less than 48 hours after deputies say they found what is believed to be her body in a dumpster.

Neighbors tell News 12 that, without a suspect named or in custody, they’re still on edge.

“It makes you very careful. Like you don't know what could happen, because you don't know what happened, or how it happened. So you just on edge," said Lora Green, as she watched her grandson in Ivey Falls Thursday.

DeGhelder’s home no longer has yellow tape surrounding it, but the questions remain.

“We've got a lot of work ahead of us. Like I said earlier, we've got a lot of surveillance video that we're still combing through and a lot of forensic evidence that we're combing through. So there's a lot of work left to be done but we feel good about the direction we're headed," Major Sharif Chochol, with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, said during a press conference.

As the investigation continues, neighbors and those spending time in Ivey Falls, like Lora, aren’t forgetting what happened.

“You could actually feel the tension. I guess you know something like that happened three doors down, and you tend to worry it's like right at your door."

Investigators are still speaking to neighbors, family, friends and other people for more information.

The vigil will begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The family of Andrya DeGhelder has planned a vigil for Friday.

A candlelight ceremony will be held in front of Andrya's home on the 500 block of Great Falls, in Grovetown.

The vigil will begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – A week-long missing person case has turned into a murder investigation in Columbia County after investigators say they believe they found the body of 39-year-old mother Andrya DeGhelder.

They say it seems the murder happened in her own home last week.

"We want to see the person responsible will be arrested and face trial and get prosecuted successfully, so that is going to bring a lot of closure to many of us involved," said Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Major Sharif Chochol during a Wednesday press conference.

News 12 has been in contact with Andrya’s family, who are on their way down to Grovetown from out of state. They tell us they aren’t ready to talk yet, but they’ll be in touch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Investigators say they found a body in Grovetown, and they believe it belongs to 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office made that announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning. The discovery was made inside a dumpster behind a store, near the Grovetown Wal-Mart.

Andrya went missing Wednesday, July 25th from her home in Grovetown. She works as a lab tech at the VA in downtown Augusta.

Investigators say evidence makes them believe Andrya was killed in her home. They are following leads, but have not given any indication of having a suspect.

They thanked the Ivey Falls neighborhood for their help, through searches, fliers and surveillance video.

Investigators say they don't want to go into too much detail or reveal too much at this time.

News 12 will continue to bring the latest on this story.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Tuesday marks six days since deputies say Andrya DeGhelder was taken from her Grovetown home by force.

Patricia Henke has known Andrya for a long time and says they’re like sisters.

“She’s my super smart sciency friend,” Henke told News 12 in a Facetime interview.

DeGhelder went to school and got her Master’s Degree after having her son. She almost lost her life years ago when she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia – a rare condition where the body stops producing blood cells. It made pregnancy difficult.

“She fought for the pregnancy. She fought for her life afterward. She fights for Aplastic Anemia. I think that’s what motivates her to do so much in the biochemistry, lab area.”

Andrya became a lab tech at the VA after graduating. Friends and family believe she is fighting hard right now and will do anything to come back home, where they will be waiting.

Since the search began, Andrya’s sister has posted a video to Facebook where we see her lighting tiki torches in her backyard. She wrote a message to her sister saying, “Find your way home. We are waiting.”

Investigators are still searching desperately for any clues that could lead them to answers. They say they’re 99% the suspect is someone Andrya knew.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the GBI and the FBI are all working on this case at some capacity.

The last evidence we see of Andrya is a video of her leaving work at the VA at 7 a.m. The last her friends heard from her was at 4:13 p.m. the same day.

She never made it to work. Hours later, when her shift started at 11:00 p.m.

We know something happened to Andrya in that seven-hour time span. There are eight cameras near her home, and investigators are looking at all of that evidence.

Until more questions are answered, Andrya’s family and friends, like Patricia, will be waiting.

“Holy heck will come down on whoever is responsible for this. Andrya will come home. One way or another we're going to find Andrya. We're going to find her and we're going to bring her home."

Monday, July 30, 2018
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC 26 at 7)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Five days have gone by, and dozens of questions remain unanswered in the disappearance of Grovetown mom Andrya Deghelder.

The 39-year-old’s family is still fragile and not ready to talk, but her mother wrote a letter with their statement.

"To the perpetrators who have taken my daughter, this is my plea to you. To please release her or return her to us safe and sound," reads a letter from Donna Morrison.

The more time that passes since Andrya went missing, the greater the need is for her to be found.

"She has a young son who needs her. Our family is heartbroken that this has happened to her. We need to know why you would do this to our precious little girl."

Investigators say Andrya was taken from her home unwillingly, but they think she knew the person who took her.

Friends and family say Andrya is a strong, kind person. But most importantly, she’s a fighter.

"She fought long and hard to survive a potentially fatal condition aplastic anemia so that she could survive long enough to give birth to her son. She lived through all of that and went on to get her Master’s Degree in biology so that she could research blood disorders like hers and help save lives."

They say they won't stop looking until they find their loved one. Andrya was last seen Wednesday morning leaving the VA hospital where she works.

"She is a research scientist and her life is especially valuable for this reason, if not for the fact that she is loved by her family and friends."

Investigators found Andrya’s phone and her purse, and her garage was open with her car inside. But five long, exhausting and painful days later, her family is still without answers and her son without a mother.

"Please, please return her to us. Have mercy, please.” The letter is signed by her mother, Donna Morrison, step-dad Welden, her brother Logan and her sister Amy.

Investigators took down the crime scene tape from Andrya’s home Monday afternoon. We’re not quite sure what that means for the future of the case right now.

Sunday, July 29, 2018
News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 11

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder is still missing after she was taken from her home on Wednesday. Columbia County investigators have no leads and they're waiting to get cell phone data from her phone.

Andrya's family is in Missouri, so strangers decided to step in. Family, friends, and strangers all gathered this morning in the pouring rain to hang signs up around Grovetown. They say they're not stopping until they find Andrya.

Four days have gone by with no sign of this missing mom, Andrya DeGhelder. Friends say the pit in their stomach is growing by the second.

"If it's four days gone by and she's not home by now. Something is making it so that she can't come home."

Friends, family, and investigators are still trying to figure out what could've happened that day, and who could've taken her.

"She wouldn't just invite somebody into her home if she hadn't already established a relationship with them," said friend Marsha Maldonado.

Marsha works at the VA hospital with Andrya. She says Andrya covered her shift Wednesday morning, the last time she was seen. She didn't show up to work that following night.

Marsha Maldonado: "When I heard that she didn't call and didn't show up to work, immediately I was concerned because she just wouldn't have done that. And as time went on... knowing she has a little one."

DeGhelder has a 7-year-old son who friends worry is going to start wondering where his mom is. The child is currently with his father but doesn't yet know his mom was taken.

"As a mom, as a human. No matter what the circumstances are. This is terrible."

Friends and family of Andrew Cato know that feeling all too well. Drew went missing back in May and although they've never met Andrya before, they want a better ending for this family than they had.

"I keep trying to put myself in her families shoes and I know they're in Missouri and I can't imagine how frustrating it is for them so when I saw this on my news feed about an hour before I showed up, I knew I had to come and at least do something to help."

"Stay strong and just know that we're here and we're looking for you and we won't stop."

They are planning a search party next. They say each day that goes by pushes them more and more to want to find her. They say they won't rest until she's home.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Three days after Andrya DeGhelder was taken from her home, there are still no answers. Neighbors say they're feeling extremely uneasy.

"It has made me very unnerved and very cautious now."

One of her neighbors says she's kept her door locked and her security system on. She has a camera on her doorbell, so she can see who's outside. She hopes that camera might've caught something the night DeGhelder went missing.

"I just hope and I'm praying that they find her alive and well because it's just really upsetting."

Andrya was last seen Wednesday morning leaving the VA hospital where she works. When she didn't show up for work on Wednesday night, the hospital called a friend who called the sheriff's office for a welfare check. Investigators found DeGhelder's phone, purse and garage open.

Major Morris: "Based on what we discovered from the residence yesterday and today, we're confident she left unwillingly."

They think the phone is the key to pinpointing a suspect.

"We have a large group of investigators working on this case. They have conducted many interviews these past 24 hours- interviewed friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and even persons of interest."

So far, investigators don't have any leads. They say they're 99-percent sure this is someone DeGhelder knew. As for her neighbor, she's praying for a safe return.

"I'm praying shes still alive and shes well so that she can come back to her son. I will let her know that she has somebody she can call on because it's important to have a neighbor you can call on an emergency."

DeGhelder's ex-husband's sister says that she hasn't spoken to Andrya in about a year, but that she knows for a fact she would never leave her son without a word. That son is currently with his father.

As for the rest of the community, they're preparing a search party to look for Andrya. They're ready to go when they get confirmation from the police and family.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There is around the clock surveillance on 39-YEAR-OLD Andrya DeGhelder's home, and investigators say they are still looking for leads.

While data is still being extracted from Ms. DeGhelder's phone, deputies have recruited the help of Emergency Management, Richmond County deputies are also assisting.

Investigators tell News 12 they need the extra hands for this case, due to its magnitude.

They say they are certain that the person involved in Ms. DeGhelder's disappearance is someone she knows.

Andrya DeGhelder moved to the area about a year ago. Her son has been with his father all week.

Concern began when she did not show up for work on Wednesday night. The hospital reached out to one of her friends who reached out to the sheriff's office for a welfare check.

She said there was not much to go by and there were no indicators why she would have left.

Andrya's friend said her biggest fear is that they are not going to be able to find any answers.

Along with neighborhood interviews, officials have also interviewed Ms. DeGhelder's ex-husband and other several other people.

Investigators say they found her car and cell phone at her home, but right now the cell phone records are the key.

"We're in the process of extracting data from the cell phone right now as we speak. We have a large group of investigators working in this case. We've conducted many interviewers the past 24 hours. We interviewed friend, family, coworkers, neighbors and even person of interest," said Major Steve Morris, Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

They hope to have information from the cell phone records within a few days.

3:20 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- An official with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office sat down with News 12 Friday to shed some light on the case of missing mom Andrya Deghelder.

Major Steve Morris says Andrya was on a number of dating websites at the time she was taken.

Morris says the investigation will likely take days because there are a lot of people who need to be interviewed. Other agencies have stepped in to assist Columbia County.

News 12 will continue to bring you the latest updates in this case.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Investigators with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office have confirmed to News 12 that 39-year-old mother Andrya DeGhelder was taken.

They say she was taken from her home.

Thursday, July 26, 2018
News 12 at 11

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT)-- Investigators are looking for any leads that could help them find 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder.

"We woke up to a knock on the door from the Columbia County Sheriff's Department. An investigator had come by to ask some questions," said neighbor Lori Dickson. She lives just down the street from DeGhelder in the Ivy Falls subdivision. "We know that she'd been gone on vacation. I guess she was back here in the last couple of days. My boyfriend saw her Tuesday afternoon in the yard doing yard work," she said.

Columbia County deputies say Andrya was last seen leaving the Charlie Norwood VA hospital Wednesday morning after her shift. We're told she works there as a lab technician.

The hospital called one of her friends Wednesday night when Andrya did not show up to work.

Lori works at the same hospital. She says she doesn't know her very well, but she knows skipping work is "out of the ordinary, you know, especially for somebody of her caliber," Lori said. "Any type of blood work that we would draw, it would be processed upstairs where she would work."

Other neighbors tell us Andrya kept to herself. They say they've only ever seen her outside mowing the lawn or when her ex-husband drops off her young son for a visit.

"I can only imagine what they're going through right now, waiting on some type of news. So, I'm keeping them in prayer, and hopefully, everyone else is too."

Columbia County deputies recruited the help of Emergency Management. The mobile unit has been parked not far from the home surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. They're looking at security footage from a neighbor's home. Hopefully, it captured some clues. They are also examining evidence collected from the home. Deputies discovered her cell phone inside. "They've all been donning protective type clothing, I'm sure, for the preservation of the scene in case it is a crime scene, which hopefully it is not," said Lori.

3:50 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- News 12 is learning more about missing 39-year-old woman, Andrya Pauline Deghelder.

Columbia County investigators say Andrya works at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in downtown Augusta.

She was last seen leaving her shift at the hospital around 7 a.m. Wednesday. A friend called the sheriff's office for a welfare check. Deputies say they found her garage door open with her car inside.

Deputies say they saw some suspicious things inside the house and they are collecting evidence. Investigators have spoken to Andrya's ex-husband and neighbors.


COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is searching for a missing woman.

39-year-old Andrya Pauline DeGhelder is missing from her Grovetown home. Investigators say they are investigating the disappearance as suspicious.

DeGhelder is 5'6" tall.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Columbia County Sheriff's Office at (706) 541-2800.