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UPDATE | Cousin of Ridgewood Drive homicide suspect speaks out, asks his cousin to turn himself in

(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 20, 2018 at 2:40 PM EDT
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

(News 12 NBC 26 News At 11 O'Clock)

UPDATE | 11:00 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -Richmond County investigators are still looking for a man in connection to a house fire that took the life of 51-year-old Monique Johnson. Investigators say they are treating this as a homicide.

They say 53-year-old Darryl Eugene Walker is wanted for murder and considered armed and dangerous. Deputies tell News 12 NBC 26 he left the scene in a 2016 Nissan Altima a Georgia tag: RIG0731.

His cousin says the last time he heard from Darryl was about three months ago. Darryl told him he found a new girlfriend and was happy.

He says his family has not heard from his since. They're extremely worried and don't know where he might be or if he's even alive.

Ulysses Guest: "He is not dangerous, he's just troubled. He came out of prison lost."

Back in 2001, Darryl Eugene Walker was sentenced for burglary, kidnapping, rape and possession of a firearm during a crime.

His cousin says Darryl sat in a cell for a crime he says he didn't do.

"He had a temper. I never would say that he was the best person, but doing stuff like rape and stuff like that, he would never put in his mind to do that."

"This man sat in there for 15 years."

Darryl was released on parole in 2016.

"He got out of prison and he didn't really have no place to go. When he met the girl, I guess that was a new release for him. and he was happy."

Friday night, fire department officials found Monique Johnson's body while putting out a house fire. Investigators say it appears Johnson died before the fire.

"He lost it. He blacked out and did what he did and when he got to his senses, it embarrassed him. He dumped whatever car he had and got away. He left Augusta."

"I'm sorry for the victim. I'm sorry for the victims family."

The family hasn't heard from him since.

"He knows what he's done is wrong. I know him like a book. He's probably somewhere praying and crying because he's not a murderer like everybody thinks that he is."

Now, family is asking for Darryl to turn himself in.

"If I could say something to him... I'd tell him to come home. I'd tell him to come home. He has to face what he's done, but tell him to come home."

His cousin says he believes that something must have happened between Johnson and Walker that caused his cousin to completely snap.

He says no one deserves to die and that he's sorry for the victim's family.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the authorities at 706-821-1020 or 706-821-1080. Stay with News 12 NBC 26 as this story develops.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

(News 12 NBC 26 News At 6 O'Clock)

UPDATE | 6:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Neighbors still have so many questions left after what happened, but big pieces have been solved so far. Despite the progress, those living along Ridgewood Drive say this crime has left those living here on edge.

A shock to neighbors up and down Ridgewood Drive when a peaceful Friday afternoon turned into a crime scene. One neighbor who wished to stay anonymous says she, like everyone else, thought it was a fire that took the life of Monique Johnson.

"My heart broke when I saw the crime scene truck come through yesterday," she says. "I've been here since I was born and this never happens, really. This is only the second incident. I was like, 'Oh my God, there's something serious going on.'"

Investigators say it appears Johnson died before the fire started and are now searching for Darryl Walker and a 2016 silver Nissan Altima.

After some digging, News 12 NBC 26 found Walker is no stranger to crime. Back in 2001, Walker was sentenced for burglary, kidnapping, rape, and possession of a firearm during a crime. According to the state, Walker was released on parole in 2016.

"I don't know if she had any problems with anybody, but it doesn't sound like she did," she says. "That was kind of odd to me that that happened to her."

While she didn't know Johnson, this neighbor says she didn't deserve to die.

"The family was really hurt by that and that told me a lot about her; that they really loved her," she says. "I don't understand why somebody would want to do that to her."

A quiet drive and neighborhood now wondering how long this man will be at large.

"I have family that live in this neighborhood," she says. "I don't want anyone's family to get hurt. Somebody like that would do anything to get away. I mean if they killed a person, they'll do it again."

News 12 NBC 26 spent most of the day talking with neighbors, yet very few knew her or spoke with her. Nearly all of them said she had recently moved to the home at the start of the year.

But the ones who did know her say she was strong in her Christian beliefs and was a joy to be around. As for walker, one neighbor says he is a former boyfriend and he used to come her home by a lot.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Authorities are looking for a man in connection with the house fire on Ridgewood Drive.

Deputies say Darryl Walker is wanted for murder. Walker reportedly fled the scene in a 2016 silver Nissan Altima with Ga Tag: RIG0731.

Deputies believe Walker to be armed and dangerous. He is not to be approached.


Friday, July 20, 2018

8:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- According to the Richmond County Coroner, 51-year-old Monique Johnson was found dead in the home on Ridgewood Drive.

Reports say Ms. Johnson was found by Augusta Fire Department officials as they were putting out the fire.

She was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m.

Ms. Johnson's body will be sent to the GBI crime lab on Saturday for an autopsy.

News 12 will continue to follow this story and update you with more as it becomes available.


4:28 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- According to the Richmond County Sheriff officials are working the house fire "as a homicide".

They say there are possible signs of arson.

Stay tuned to News 12 as we continue to bring you the latest in this developing story.


2:55 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- At least one person is dead after a home on the 1400 block of Ridgewood Drive caught fire Friday.

The call came in just before 1:30 p.m. Augusta Fire officials confirm to News 12 they are out on the scene.

We have a crew headed out to the scene.