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Investigators are looking for leads after the naked body of a young Atlanta mother was found burning under a bridge on a rural roadside late last week.
Brittany Wicklein’s scorched remains were recovered by investigators on the side of South Fulton roadway on Friday hours after she was seen getting into an unidentified black car, according to a police report obtained by Oxygen.com. She was 31.
On June 18, local firefighters responded to a grass fire on the corner of Jones Road by Georgia State Route 42 around 4 a.m. After extinguishing the blaze, Wicklein’s body was located with multiple gunshot wounds.
“She was shot three times,” Gary Leftwich, a spokesperson for the City of South Fulton, told Oxygen.com. “They could tell the body was female and there were no clothes on the body. The body had been burned but was definitely identifiable.”
Wicklein was last seen by an acquaintance in the area of Simpson Plaza around the 700 block of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard in Atlanta around 1 a.m., police said.
A witness told authorities he’d been walking home from a store with Wicklein when the black vehicle stopped near them. After its occupants yelled at her, Wicklein reportedly got into the car.
“Then the car sped off,” Leftwich added.
CCTV recordings show that Wicklein left in the car in question, investigators said.
Wicklein’s friend didn’t report her missing for several hours afterward. Before contacting police, he said he rang Wicklein’s cell phone and that a young-sounding male answered, according to the police report. The man then accused Wicklein of being involved in a shooting that had left bullet holes in his mother’s house, he said.
“Why did y’all tell that bi--h not to f--k with me," she said the caller told her, according to the police report. "Tell your cousin goodbye it's your last time talking to her."
The individual on the phone then demanded $100,000 before terminating the call, the friend said, according to the police report. Wicklein’s remains were found the next day.
“Approximately 12 hours after police were contacted and approximately 27 hours after she was said to have entered the black vehicle, Ms. Wicklein’s body was found in the City of South Fulton,” Atlanta police said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com.
Officials said they'd discovered Wicklein’s body on Monday. A preliminary autopsy hasn’t yet been completed, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. It's unclear where Wicklein died and no arrests have been made.
“This is a tragic event that you don’t want to see happen,” Leftwich said. “This was a young mother who was out walking with a friend from a store and suddenly her life changed — and a short while later ended. Our thoughts go out to the family, especially her child. This is just one of those cases you never want to be involved in.”
Wicklein, who leaves behind two children, was her family’s “sole breadwinner,” according to a GoFundMe page set up after her death.
“She passed away as she was a protector and hero of her kids,” the page reads.
The campaign has already raised more than $16,000 as of Monday.
Former high school classmates of Wicklein said they were stunned to learn of her death.
"You never expect someone you went to school with to die so prematurely,” Alex Burton told WFIE. “But, here we are. And you know, the unfortunate reality is this wasn’t the first person that we went to school with that has passed on, but it never gets easier hearing that someone who you have so many memories with no longer living.”
At the time of her death, Wicklein was wanted on a trio of aggravated battery charges stemming from a June 2020 incident in Southern View, Illinois, according to separate court filings. The Atlanta Police Department declined to release additional information regarding the ongoing investigation on Monday.
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