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A woman is under arrest after cadaver dogs led investigators to two bodies buried on a private property in Florida.
Sheena Marie Thurman, 35, is charged with murder in connection with a missing couple from Dothan, Alabama, police announced Saturday. Although the remains of two bodies found on the Bonifay, Florida, property have yet to be formally identified, police believe they belong to Damien Lamorris Bell, 42, and his girlfriend, Shauna Marie Terry, 37, whose whereabouts have remained unknown since July 8.
Authorities say Bell and Terry left a motel on Dothan's Montgomery Highway — the address of which corresponds to the Adams Inn— in the late afternoon of July 8 and haven’t been heard from since.
“At the time they left, it appeared they left on their own free will,” police stated after the couple’s family members filed a missing persons report on July 11.
According to a public appeal for information, the couple was last seen in a red GMC SUV with tinted windows and silver wheels, though little other information was immediately available. It is unclear whether the vehicle has been recovered.
Terry’s sister issued a $500 reward for information about Terry’s disappearance, according to ABC Dothan affiliate WDHN.
Police said there were “no leads” and “no new information” pertaining to the missing couple until Thursday, when a tip led them to a Long Round Bay Road address in Bonifay, Florida — about 40 miles southwest of Dothan in Florida’s panhandle.
Alabama authorities teamed up with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office in Florida to follow up on the new lead.
“This information led investigators to believe that one or more bodies were buried on private property on Long Round Bay Road in Bonifay,” said Holmes County officials. “HCSO investigators obtained and executed a search warrant at this location.”
Cadaver dogs were brought in by law enforcement officials from another county, indicating on a specific location.
“Through investigative work and the use of cadaver dogs from Bay County Sheriff’s Office, an area of the property was determined to contain human remains,” said Holmes County officials. “FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) crime scene unearthed the remains which is [sic] likely to be those of Shauna Terry and Damien Bell, however positive identification will be made by the medical examiner(’s) office.”
The manner and cause of death for both individuals are also pending a postmortem examination.
On Friday — one day after the grisly discovery — Dothan authorities obtained a search warrant for a property in Alabama under the belief that Bell and Terry were killed in two separate locations.
“On July 29, 2022, Dothan Police Department executed a search warrant in the 600 block of Dutch Street in Dothan, AL, suspecting that one of the murders may have been committed at this location while the other is believed to have taken place at the Long Round Bay Road property,” said the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.
The warrant was served on a home in a residential neighborhood about five miles from the hotel where the couple was last seen.
Thurman lives in Bonifay but was arrested at a hotel in Dothan, according to Panama City NBC affiliate WJHG. She was subsequently charged with two counts of murder: One count in Alabama and one count in Florida. She was booked into the Houston County Jail in Alabama on Saturday, where she awaits extradition to Holmes County, Florida.
Jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com show she is also charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, for which she is being held on $1,000 bond. She is being held on $1.5 million bond for the Alabama murder charged.
WJHG reported that Thurman and the victims knew each other and they police know a motive in the case but aren't releasing it. Dothan officials say they are looking to apprehend others in connection with Bell and Terry’s homicides.
“Persons of interest have been developed and are currently being sought,” they stated. Dothan CBS affiliate WTVY reported that, when the warrant was served on the Dutch Street house on July 29, five people were detained.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Dothan Police Department at 1-334-615-3000 or 1-334-615-3632.
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