Hunting for leads to missing persons during hunting season

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Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 News at 7)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Deer hunting season is a busy season for Georgia DNR game wardens like Jeff Billips.

“Lots of hunters. Lots of activity.”

Known for big deer, and lots of them. Burke and Richmond Counties are popular hunting destinations.

“So there are a lot of hunters around this year.”

They’re looking for a prize buck. In corners of wildlife, most don’t go until this time of year.

Sometimes they stumble upon the closure families and investigators have been searching for.

“Over the course of my career, we have had several occasions where hunters have made reports of finding remains that were missing persons or victims of crime, that is not uncommon.”

One example is New Year's Eve, two young boys in Jenkins County found a 23-year-old who was reported missing in Statesboro nine months before.

“It makes sense the victim is in a remote area and it's only when a hunter or landowner makes their way out onto the property that they might encounter that.”

Hundreds of law enforcement personnel have searched for the two missing people in our area, 16-year-old Janell Carwell and 28-year-old Preston Overton on the ground and in the air for months, unsuccessfully.

Both are presumed dead and to be in the area.

With more hunting boots on the ground in remote cracks of the CSRA, comes renewed hope for investigators.