The body of a Georgia woman who vanished on Monday was found dumped alongside a road in Alabama.
Tameka Skinner, 39, was found dead across state lines less than a day after she was allegedly kidnapped from Georgia, the Associated Press reported. Four individuals are now facing murder charges in Skinner’s killing following a chase with law enforcement.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told reporters at a press conference that Skinner and her boyfriend were ambushed at around 1 a.m. on July 27. Skinner, who had been babysitting at an apartment complex, was taken from a parking garage in the same building, according to the Associated Press. Her attackers allegedly hijacked Skinner’s car with her inside and fled.
Investigators managed to trace Skinner's car to Russell County, Alabama. While staking out an address where authorities suspected they might find the vehicle, sheriff’s deputies engaged in a high speed chase with an SUV. The vehicle crashed at approximately 6:30 a.m. and all four occupants were arrested.
Jayvonn Phillips, 23, Demetria Johnson, 30, Shaun Johnson, 40, and Joshua Tolbert, 30 are all facing capital murder and kidnapping charges.
“Both sides of the river and our district attorney’s office will do everything in its power to bring these people to justice that committed this horrible crime,” Taylor said, local television station WTVM reported.
Skinner’s partially torched car was later discovered by detectives, according to the outlet. Skinner herself was found shot to death about 10 hours after her abduction on an Alabama roadside, AL.com reported.
Prior to being booked into the county jailhouse, one of the suspects in Skinner’s slaying, though it's not clear who, denied the allegations, local media reported.
“I did not kill that girl or kidnap her,” the unidentified suspect said, according to local television station WTVM. “I’m not that type of person. I’ve got a son myself. I’m sorry to the family.”
It’s unclear if the four suspects have retained legal counsel.
A possible motive may have been jealousy, investigators alleged. Demetria Johnson, one of the four suspects, supposedly had children with Skinner’s boyfriend, Sheriff Taylor said, according to WTVM. She allegedly recruited the three other men to assist in Skinner’s abduction and to “get her out of the way,” authorities said.
Skinner’s family described her as “joyful,” “humorous,” “caring,” and deeply spiritual.
“I just appreciate God for her friendship as a niece,” Robert Jones, Skinner’s uncle, told the ABC affiliate.
Skinner said his niece was raised in a religious family and was a “God-fearing” woman.
“Tameka was a friendly person,” Jones added.
Jones said he was with the rest of Skinner’s family when they received news that her body had been recovered.
“Here, we all collapsed in the room,” Jones recalled. “I just fell to the carpet and everybody collapsed and when I came to, I noticed the room was kind of scattered. We just emotionally, mentally could not deal with it. Could not deal with it.”
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