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Spalding sheriff, GBI excavating wells in missing person case search

By Walter Geiger news@barnesville.com Spalding County investigators and GBI crime scene personnel were busy at week’s end excavating two wells on property near the intersection of Buck Creek and Chappell Mill roads not far from the county line. The work spawned rumors the probe involved the remains of Helen Ann Morgan of Lamar County who vanished without a trace on May 13, 1984. ’I talked to sheriff (Brad) White this morning. We don’t think it will involve the Morgan case. This one does go back to the 1980s and could involve up to three individuals,’ Spalding sheriff Darrell Dix said at the scene Dec. 4. The search is centered on property at 1075 Buck Creek Road and an adjacent lot. The house on that lot is currently unoccupied. It is owned by Victor Jimenez and Joseph Paletta of Peachtree City. The house was built in 1975. Previous owners were Stephen L. and Karen Hunter and Fred A. and Betty Q. Goddard, according to tax records. Vast amounts of equipment, including an industrial water pump, were on the scene Friday and more was brought in Saturday morning. ’People have been digging wells for 5000 years and we are pretty much still dealing with 5000 year old technology. As soon as we get the water pumped out it starts filling up again. For every foot we go down, we have to go out three feet to avoid cave-ins. We are starting to encroach upon the foundation of the house,’ sheriff Dix said. ’We are lowering firefighters down in there but they can’t stay long before their oxygen alarms start going off. They are bringing stuff up in buckets but so far we have found nothing to indicate anyone is in there,’ Dix continued. Neighbors in the area reported off the record they heard a tipster, possibly a musician, identified the property but could not remember which of the two wells had been used to conceal the body or bodies. They name they heard associated with one victim was Tricia or Trisha Weeks or Tricia or Trisha Kelly but that was not confirmed by anyone in authority. The GBI’s online missing persons database makes no mention of anyone with that name or a similar one. Family members of one possible victim were on the scene, however. ’One of the victims’ family has been out here the last two or three days. They have been hearing about her being in this well for 30 years. If we find nothing, they get some closure. If we find her, they get closure,’ sheriff Dix concluded.

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