A woman whose skeleton remains were discovered earlier last year in south McDuffie County was the apparent victim of vehicular homicide, local authorities have determined.
Lula Bell Scott, who grew up in Thomson, but whose last known address was Hephzibah, is the latest confirmed vehicular homicide case in the county from last year.
"We now know for sure that she was killed by a vehicle," said Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 office in Thomson. "That's what the autopsy report reveals to us."
Authorities have been unable to make arrests in either that case or an unrelated case that killed Michael Adams on Labor Day night 2006.
In both cases, authorities are hoping to establish a reward for information leading to the arrests and conviction of persons involved in the deaths of both Ms. Scott and Mr. Adams. As of Tuesday, those efforts still were underway.
"We're hoping that someone will come forward with information that will lead us to the persons who did this in both cases," Agent Nicholson said. "A reward of some amount might help us to find the individuals responsible."
GBI Special Agent Teddy Jackson, who is working both vehicular homicide cases, said he plans to discuss the possibility of getting a reward established in the cases with McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall. The sheriff's department, along with the Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson, is assisting the GBI in their probe of both cases.
Several pieces of a pickup truck or an SUV were found at the scene where Ms. Scott's skeleton remains were discovered by deer hunters last November 4, Agent Nicholson said.
Based on the pieces of evidence from the scene, "we believe the vehicle that struck and killed Ms. Scott was possibly a 1999-2003 Ford pickup truck or SUV," Agent Nicholson said.
"At this time, we're not sure about many of the details leading up to her death," Agent Jackson said. "We don't really know why she was out there to start with."
Ms. Scott's daughter, Clareece Billings, of Hephzibah, reported her missing last Sept. 1 to officers with the Thomson Police Department, Agent Jackson said.
"When Ms. Scott failed to return home, Ms. Billings became concerned and wanted police to look for her in the Thomson area, because she had gone visiting there," Agent Jackson said.
She last was seen with some friends on Pitts and Third streets, he added.
In the case of Mr. Adams, authorities say that he was struck and killed while walking along Cobbham Road between Beggs Funeral Home and a residence.
"We still don't know who killed Mr. Adams," Agent Jackson said. "We're asking that anyone who might remember having seen him walking in that area prior to him being hit by a vehicle to get in touch with us."
In addition to seeking the public's help in both cases, authorities also are requesting the help of area paint and body shops.
"Chances are someone had a vehicle that struck one of these people repaired at a local body shop, which could help us," Agent Jackson said. "We want to do everything within our grasps to solve these two cases."
Mr. Adams' mother, Rosa Barbour, is hoping her son's case is solved, too.
"It's affected our whole family," Mrs. Barbour said of the loss of her son, who formerly worked at a Thomson industry. "I really miss him a lot. Sometimes it doesn't seem like he's really dead. Seems like he should be walking into my house for breakfast. I really miss him."