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Girlfriend said Burnett wanted 'to better himself' with school

Natasha Jones dated Ron Burnett for a little more than five years.

During that time, the couple had brought two children into the world, a daughter, 3 and a son, 2.

The couple recently moved in together at Ms. Jones' apartment in Thomson.

"We were happy together," said Ms. Jones, whose boyfriend met his death this past weekend in what local authorities believe was foul play. "I can't believe he's gone. It just doesn't seem right."

Authorities now know how Mr. Burnett met his death. He was shot once in the face with a .380-semi-automatic handgun - the same gun believed to have been used to kill another man later last Saturday in Fayetteville, N.C.

Two persons, Cedric Theodis "Scooter" Hobbs, 29 and his girlfriend, Alexis Mattocks, 20, both of Thomson, have been arrested by authorities in Washington, D.C. as suspects in an armed robbery and slaying of a 19-year-old man in Fayetteville, N.C. on Saturday. Mr. Hobbs, who had been described as a "person of interest," in the Burnett death, now has been charged with murder among other charges, according to McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Investigator Al Reeves.

Mr. Burnett was reported missing early last Saturday morning by relatives. His body later was discovered in a ditch off the dirt portion of Dearing Acres Road, just outside Dearing, shortly before noon.

Authorities found no identification on his body and found no trace of his red Chevrolet Suburban, either. Immediately, Investigator Reeves assumed that it had been stolen. After reporting that authorities were looking for the vehicle on both the Georgia and National crime information centers, the investigator later received a telephone call informing him that the vehicle had been discovered near a pawn shop where the robbery and killing of the clerk there had taken place about 5:15 p.m.

The 22-year-old Mr. Burnett had his whole life ahead of him, his girlfriend said in a telephone interview with The McDuffie Mirror on Monday night.

"He was studying accounting online through Phoenix University," lamented Ms. Jones. "He wanted to better himself."

Mr. Burnett was a 2006 graduate of Warren County High School. He met Ms. Jones several years ago and the couple immediately hit it off. Ms. Jones is a 2205 graduate of Thomson High School.

The victim, who also was the father of 2-year-old twins by another woman, was to have started a new job at Advance Auto Distribution Center near Thomson later this week, said Ms. Jones.

Mr. Burnett previously worked as an employee at Two State Construction Company near Thomson, she explained.

She said her boyfriend wanted to do something different with his life, which is why he left the construction company.

"He was so outgoing," recalled Ms. Jones. "He loved to joke. He was a real jokester."

Ms. Jones said her boyfriend's death "is real hard on her," as well as her children and Mr. Burnett's parents, Reggie Battle, of Wrens and Phyllis Burnett, of Thomson.

"I've got to be strong for my children right now," said Ms. Jones. "My children sense there's something wrong. They just don't understand exactly what right now."

Funeral services for Mr. Burnett at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Warrenton on Friday at 2 p.m. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

Web posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

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