Updated: Man Arrested in Homicide
Authorities say 49-year-old Juanita Grace Thompson was killed by a gunshot wound and found behind a home on Weems Spur.
Updated 3 p.m.
Authorities are not sure of a motive in the alleged murder, but believe Thompson may have confronted Whitener, resulting in an argument that led to her death.
"Either she confronted him about stealing or something to that effect, but we may never know," said Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, adding Whitener is charged in unrelated "crimes of opportunity," including financial transaction card theft, and wanted in Floyd County.
Rogers added Whitener was employed by Thompson's boyfriend, who was working during the incident.
In an email to Cartersville Patch, Thompson's niece, Cassie Tibbetts, said early reports Thompson's boyfriend may have been involved were not valid.
"Her boyfriend had nothing to do with the [alleged] murder, and in fact was the one to both initiate the search and eventually find her body," Tibbetts said. "He is also considered to be part of our family."
Originally from Texas, Thompson called Knoxville, TN, home until 10 years ago when she moved to Georgia to be closer to family.
"She had one daughter, two sisters and a brother, four nieces, three nephews, and multiple pets she considered to be her babies," Tibbetts said. "She'd only moved into the current house two months ago....All we want now is to see justice done."
Updated Thursday, 2:30 p.m.
Bartow County Sheriff’s Office investigators charged Timothy James Whitener, 32, of Cartersville, in connection with the Monday death of 49-year-old Juanita Grace Thompson.
According to Sheriff Clark Millsap, Whitener was arrested Monday afternoon on several outstanding warrants and suspicion of other crimes, including burglaries and thefts.
"The officers located Whitener near 31 Weems Spur and he attempted to flee on foot from them," authorities said in the press release. "Whitener was caught after he was tasered as he ran away. Upon arrest, Whitener was found to be in possession of a pistol."
Thompson, an aquantance of Whitener’s, was reported missing to the officers at the scene of his arrest.
"Deputies remained in the area searching for her. Shortly after 9 p.m. on Monday, her body was located behind a residence on Weems Spur," according to the press release. "The Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab confirmed Thompson was killed by a gunshot wound. Investigators were able to charge Whitener after their investigation."
Whitener is in jail on charges of murder, concealing a death, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, two counts of obstruction of officers, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and other charges unrelated to the homicide. He will await a bond hearing in Bartow County Superior Court.
Updated Tuesday 9 p.m.
Bartow County Sheriff's officials just released a statement identifying the victim and indicating the investigation continues.
According to Millsap, Juanita Grace Thompson, 49, of Cartersville, is a victim of murder.
"This is not believed to be a random act and investigators expect to make an arrest in the case soon," the statement says. "More information will be released as it becomes available."
Authorities asked anyone with information about the homicide to call the sheriff’s office at 770-382-5050 or Cartersville-Bartow County Crime Stoppers at 770-606-8477.
Updated 3:15 p.m.
A woman who emailed Cartersville Patch said she is the victim's niece and would not classify the incident as a domestic disturbance. "It isn't [a domestic dispute]," she said. "It was a friend of her's."
Updated 11:30 a.m.
Sheriff Clark Millsap confirmed Bartow County Sheriff's Office investigators are working a homicide case in Cartersville.
Neighbors said the incident occurred at 31 Weems Spur and involved a middle-aged woman, but Millsap only confirmed the deceased is a white female.
Millsap said he expects his office to release more information by this afternoon. The neighbors who spoke to Cartersville Patch said an arrest was made.