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Hephzibah woman to be tried in 2006 death

A Hephzibah woman is expected to stand trial soon on murder charges in McDuffie County Superior Court stemming from the 2006 vehicular homicide of a woman who was raised in Thomson.

Antonia "Toni" Renee Lowe, who had been employed as a substitute lunchroom worker with the Richmond County Board of Education, was taken into custody in January 2008 in connection with Lula Bell Scott's death. Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials credited a news story that appeared in The McDuffie Mirror in May 2007 with helping break the case.

At the time of her arrest, Gary Nicholson, special agent-in-charge of the GBI Region 7 Office in Thomson, said, "We received information based on that news story which led us to this point," Ms. Lowe's arrest. "Before that, we had received little information."

Ms. Lowe, 34, was charged with murder. She was arrested by former GBI Special Agent Teddy Jackson and McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Investigator Larry Adaway. Mr. Jackson, now retired from the GBI, works as an investigator with the Louisville Police Department in neighboring Jefferson County.

Authorities said Ms. Lowe had been allowing Ms. Scott and her daughter, Clareece Billings, to live at her home in south Richmond County in exchange for helping keep Ms. Lowe's children.

Ms. Scott's daughter filed a missing person's report Sept. 1, 2006, with the Thomson Police Department, since Thomson was the last known place Ms. Scott had been seen. The woman's skeletal remains were discovered by hunters in south McDuffie County later in 2006.

Evidence found at the scene helped determine the cause of death as vehicular homicide. The case was investigated by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department with help from the GBI and Georgia State Patrol post, now located in Grovetown, and the patrol's Special Collision Reconstruction Team in Gainesville, Ga.

Web posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009

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