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Raw Chatter

This past week I covered another murder trial - one which weighed in on me, personally.

Back in 2006, I worked a story about a Thomson woman who had been reported missing by her daughter. Right from the start, it became personal, because I knew the woman who was missing.

Her name was Lula Bell Scott and I had gone to school with her. Although she was several years younger, I still remembered her from the 1970s at Thomson High School.

Immediately, I wondered what had happened to her. Having done dozens and dozens of stories concerning missing persons, the worst thing possible raced through my mind, too - could she have been murdered?

Sadly, such a thought was true, but no one ever knew it for a fact until two months after her badly decomposed body was discovered by some men preparing for deer season off Story Randall Road in the Happy Valley area of South McDuffie County.

Authorities ruled that Ms. Scott had been struck by a vehicle - the driver leaving the scene and never returning to see if they could even help her.

Having been a reporter for many, many years and during those years having worked hundreds of murder stories with authorities, I wanted to offer my services in some way so that lawmen might be able to solve this case.

After months of working this case, local and state authorities appeared to have reached a dead end. They had no leads.

I came up with an idea to do a follow-up story and place it on the front page of the newspaper, The McDuffie Mirror. I wanted readers to know that authorities had not solved this case and they needed anyone who might know anything about the case to come forward and tell them.

The idea turned fruitful when Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 7 Office in Thomson, received an anonymous phone call from a man a short time after the news story appeared in the newspaper. It turned out to be the break lawmen had needed to bring the guilty person to justice.

It makes me feel proud when the newspaper can be of help - especially in such a way as this.

I never knew until last week while covering the trial of Toni Lowe who the person was that actually telephoned Agent Nicholson.

Authorities would not tell me, although they acknowledged that the newspaper story was most helpful in getting someone to call them.

I now know that man to be Charles Curry, who lives in Athens and is the former boyfriend and father of Ms. Lowe's youngest son.

Last Wednesday, Ms. Lowe was found guilty of malice murder in the death of Ms. Scott. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Web posted on Thursday, November 05, 2009

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