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35 years after torturous murder, Donna Johnson probe goes on

Thirty-five years ago today, 28-year-old Donna Ogletree Johnson was tortured then killed – her battered body found on an old logging road. The crime, arguably the most heinous in Lamar County history, remains unsolved. At times since the killing, which shocked the community and scared many into locking their doors for the first time, the investigation has lagged but sheriff Brad White and district attorney Jonathan Adams have made it a priority. ******************** NOTICE: This story and photo(s) are under copyright. They may not be republished or disseminated in any form or format – including social media – without explicit permission. ********************* In 2017, Adams created a team to do a cold case investigation into the murder and appointed retired FBI agent Jalaine Ward to lead it. That probe is ongoing. ’This is definitely a solvable case but we still don’t have the evidence we need. We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress this year with new evidence and witnesses. The sheriff’s office is doing an outstanding job leading the investigation and working closely with us and the GBI. We will continue to work hard to bring Donna’s killer to justice. Unfortunately, we can’t release significant details due to the active criminal investigation,’ Adams said. Sheriff White reported he has an investigator and a GBI dedicated to solving the Johnson case. ’I think people should know that, over the past two years, we have conducted three polygraph tests and served four warrants for DNA swab testing. Through this process, we have eliminated some suspects. We still have people coming forward with information and we encourage more to do so. This case is still active and still be investigated,’ the sheriff said. Johnson’s car was found at a dumpster site at the corner of Piedmont and The Rock roads about 4:30 p.m. on a stormy day. Her two small dogs were in the vehicle. Her body was found some four hours later on an old logging road. She had been gagged with her own bra and panties. Her blue jeans had been cut and pulled down to thigh level. She was hogtied, sexually violated with a metal rod, run over by a vehicle and finally dispatched with three blows to the head from a roofing hatchet or similar tool. Johnson lived in Pike County. Her car and body were found in Lamar County. If you have information that may help investigators, call the sheriff’s office at 770-358-5159. Your identity will remain confidential.

One Comment

  1. Mittens Mittens May 1, 2024

    Someone has supposedly created a group on Facebook about Donna Johnson’s case, but it comes across as dubious and leery at best: the only thing that the “administrator” of that Facebook group does, if someone tries to join it, is to immediately ban the persons trying to join, and block them from even being able to passively browse the group’s page.

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