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Georgia Banker Shot, Dumped in a Well By Man Who Used Voodoo to Scare Witnesses
The search for missing man Charles Parker turns into a homicide case when his decomposing body is found at the bottom of a well.
For Charles Parker, a 25-year-old banker from tight-knit and peaceful Monroe, Georgia, 2012 began as a new year packed with possibilities. He was focused on becoming an entrepreneur and launching a poultry business.
But then Parker inexplicably vanished. On January 15, 2012 he’d gone to church, where he recited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech as he did each year, and never came home. His wife, who was his high school sweetheart, reached out to authorities the next day.
Questioned by police about the state of their marriage, she said “there were no problems between the two of them and could not think of anybody who would want to hurt Charles,” Titus Nichols, a former special assistant district attorney in Oglethorpe County, told The Real Murders of Atlanta, airing Fridays at 9/8c p.m. on Oxygen.
The Search for Charles Parker
A BOLO alert to be on the lookout for Parker and his car were issued. After church, Parker met his business partner, Victor Blockum, to look at land for a chicken farm, said John Mura, a Monroe Police Department detective. “They went out to Comer, Georgia to look at some property.”
According to Blockum, Parker picked him up at 1 p.m. and after inspecting the location, brought him home at 4:45 p.m. Investigators hoped Parker would return on his own accord.
On January 15, Parker’s wallet was found in downtown Athens, Georgia. It was processed by officials for fingerprints and its contents were confirmed to be intact.
“They were able to rule out any type of robbery,” said Nichols. Footage from security cameras in the area where Parker’s wallet was found was reviewed, but turned up no clues as to who dumped it.
Three days later, on January 18, Parker’s car was also found in Athens, which is nearly 25 miles from his home. Like the wallet, the vehicle was processed for prints but it had been scrubbed clean. Detectives canvassed the area for leads but came up empty.
“Police are very concerned now that something definitely is wrong,” said former Clayton News Daily reporter Linda Looney.
Investigators focused on Parker’s cell phone history. They found that the last ping was from Oglethorpe County, an hour east of Monroe. They searched the area but found nothing “that leads them to what happened to Charles,” said Nichols.
Weeks passed. “I was in constant prayer,” said Parker’s mother, Jacqueline Sanders.
Where was Charles Parker's body found?
On February 20, a farmer in rural Oglethorpe County in Georgia reported to police that he “smelled a rotting body in his well,” said Looney. A decomposed body was recovered from the well and identified as Charles Parker. “The missing person case had now become a homicide,” said Nichols.
The well area was searched for a weapon, other evidence, and tire tracks. Investigators later learned that Parker had been shot four times. There were no bullets recovered from his body. The crime scene yielded no clues.
As Parker’s devastated family and loved ones grieved, investigators doubled down in their resolve to catch the killer. They turned their attention back to Blockum and found he had an arrest record for drugs and assault, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
Parker and Blockum had been brought together by realtor and business associate Shawn Hill. “Victor had told me that Charles had the money, but that he would be running the farm," Hill said.
Parker’s family told investigators that he knew about Blockum’s checkered past and was willing to give him a second chance, according to The Real Murders of Atlanta.
“Victor said that he had absolutely no reason to do anything bad to Charles,” said Nichols. When investigators asked Blockum who might want to do Parker harm, he referred to the investor in the poultry venture.
Blockum described the individual, Kathy Scruggs — a multimillion-dollar lottery winner, according to WMBF — as “a shady character and a drug dealer,” said Looney.
Detectives looked into Scruggs and found that she was not involved in violence or drugs or any type of crime. She was “a longtime customer at the bank Charles worked at,” said Nichols. “He had a longstanding relationship with her and because of that, Mrs. Scruggs trusted Charles.”
Scruggs gave Parker $500,000 as a down payment to help secure a loan of $3.2 million. She had a solid alibi and was cleared as a suspect. Detectives viewed that half a million dollars as a motive for murder.
Investigators also learned that Parker’s loan application was turned down. “The reason Charles had been denied was because Mr. Blockum was a convicted felon,” said Nichols.
As a result, Parker tried to “create space” between himself and Blockum, Nichols added. Parker reached out to the bank to inform them that they were no longer business partners.
Victor Blockum Emerges as Key Suspect
Investigators considered that this could have been the reason Parker was killed. Their suspicions intensified when they learned that Blockum unsuccessfully tried to withdraw $200,000 from the Parker poultry business account.
Detectives secured a warrant to search Blockum’s cell phone history in order to track his whereabouts. The digital data contradicted Blockum’s claim that Parker dropped him off at his home at 4:45 p.m. on January 15.
“His phone pinged off a tower far away at that time,” said Nichols. Blockum’s phone also pinged at areas where Parker’s wallet, car and body were found. “There was no way that Victor's alibi matched up to what the cell phone towers were showing,” Nichols added.
Detectives learned from Hill that Blockum contacted him and appealed to him to not let Parker cut him out of the deal, according to The Real Murders of Atlanta.
Investigators considered why Parker would visit a property with Blockum when he was trying to cut ties with him.
“The theory is that Charles still trusted Victor,” said Nichols. "It became clear that Victor likely killed Charles out of retaliation because Charles was cutting him out of a $3.2 million deal.”
Without a murder weapon and other forensic evidence, investigators faced a stiff challenge. In addition, witnesses refused to go on the record because they were intimidated. Blockum “would use voodoo to scare people into not talking,” said Nichols.
Even though the team is confident that they can make their case with circumstantial evidence, the district attorney refuses to prosecute without greater proof.
Victor Blockum Arrested for Murder
Years went by. In 2016, a new district attorney reviewed the case and was willing to roll the dice. On May 25, 2016, Blockum was arrested for Parker’s murder.
Shortly before the trial was set to begin in April 2018, law enforcement caught a break. An inmate told officials that Blockum asked him to lie and provide him with an alibi about his whereabouts the day Parker vanished. The witness reluctantly agreed to testify in court.
In the end, Blockum agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and serve 20 years without the chance of parole, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. To seal the deal, he had to admit he was guilty of murder in court.
“It was a relief,” said Mura. “It was justice.”
To learn more about the case, watch The Real Murders of Atlanta, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.