UPDATE | Shotgun and spent shell found with bodies of missing couple

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

GREENE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- 10:53 p.m.
Investigators from the GBI, Greene County, and Taliaferro County believe the two bodies found in a burned car are Steven Rhodes and his wife, Melissa Meeks Rhodes.

The road they were found on is called Carter's Ford Road. It was 2 miles from the I-20 bridge and 30 feet from the Warren County line.

Investigators say the bodies found inside were in such bad condition that the GBI towed the whole truck to its crime lab in Atlanta for autopsy.

The Rhodes were reported missing late on New Years Eve, around 11 p.m., and last seen just after midnight on New Year's Day. The Greene County Sheriff's Office made a plea on Facebook, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

"It began yesterday in Greene County," said Sheriff Mark Richards of Taliaferro County. "It broke out in Greene County. Someone called 911. When they got there, they were gone."

Richards said it was a domestic call to their home. One of Melissa's daughters allegedly called 911 when she couldn't get in contact with her. Richards said when officials arrived to check on the couple, they were not at their home in Greene County.

The Greene County Sheriff's Office said the couple was last seen heading towards Taliaferro County, traveling on Bethany Church Road. Hours later, and from high above, Georgia State Patrol's helicopter spotted what looked like Rhodes' truck -- burning.

"The helicopter spotted the vehicle, then we followed in and on foot," said Richards.

They found the truck, charred, down a muddy logging road. Richards said the tires were still smoking when he and other investigators arrived. The bodies were found inside of the truck.

"There was a shotgun. The truck was burned. There was one shell casing. Empty." added Richards.

Officials say the rain and wet weather didn't make the search for the Rhodes any easier, but it didn't stop them from chasing leads late into the night.

"You can't wait until the weather passes," said Richards. "You've got to go,"

Still, many questions surrounding how they died are unanswered.

The GBI said they hope to learn the cause and manner of death from the autopsy, but as for a motive, officials say we may never know why this happened.

3:42 p.m.

The bodies of two missing people have been found in Taliaferro County.

The couple from Greene County was found in a burned pickup truck in Taliaferro County.

Steven Rhodes and his wife Melissa Meeks Rhodes have been missing since New Year's Eve.

The bodies were sent to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy as the investigation continues.