Augusta restaurant remembers longtime employee found dead in shallow grave

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
News 12 at 11 O'Clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- An Augusta man was found buried in a shallow grave on Tuesday after being shot execution style, according to Richmond County deputies.

John Jones, 55, went missing on Aug. 31, deputies say. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has charged John Irvin Daniels with murder in this case.

Deputies discovered the body behind a home on Meadowlark Road.

Jones worked at Villa Europa for a total of around 20 years, his co-workers say. He was like family.

"You knew that when you said, 'Hey, John, can you do this?' He did it," Villa Europa manager Peggy Schaffer said. "So, you knew John was always there."

His co-workers were always there for him, too.

"Everybody's given John a ride home, or picked him up from home for work," Schaffer said. "But that night, he never went home. And, he didn't show up for work the next day."

In response, Villa Europa sent out a Facebook post asking for any information on his disappearance. Thousands shared it.

"Knowing where he was dropped off that day," Schaffer said. "When we saw the picture of the house on the news, we just knew that couldn't be good news."

Jones was a jack-of-all trades. He cooked in the kitchen, cleaned the dishes, and even provided the entertainment.

"He was always singing something," Schaffer said. "He loved his soul music."

He also poured his soul into his work. His friends say he loved helping people.

"He was a very good guy, and he touched a lot of people," friend Charles Stephens said. "A lot of people. Yeah, he sure did."

His quirky jokes and hard-working attitude will be missed at Villa Europa, his co-workers say.

But they will carry on his legacy.

"When he left, he would always give most everyone a kiss on the cheek and say, 'Night, night,'" Schaffer said. "Unfortunately, now we are having to say, 'Night, night' to John."

Villa Europa has started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. They say many customers have reached out to help already.

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