Pet duck leads police to body of missing woman; granddaughter charged with murder

A pet duck led police to crack the situation of a lacking North Carolina grandmother who vanished around two yrs ago and led to murder costs towards the victim’s granddaughter and grandson-in-regulation, officials said.

Angela Wamsley, 46, and Mark Alan Barnes, 50, ended up charged with initially-degree murder Thursday in the death of Wamsley’s grandmother Nellie Sullivan, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office environment introduced

Officials say Sullivan would be 93 right now if she were however alive. She disappeared some time in 2020, in accordance to the sheriff’s place of work.

“We do not have a definitive date when she was killed,” claimed Aaron Sarver, the Buncombe County sheriff’s spokesperson.

On the other hand, police believe that she has been useless for multiple many years.

Wamsley and Barnes had been underneath investigation in link with Sullivan’s dying because December 2020, Sarver explained. At to start with, they had been arrested on a wide range of charges, from animal cruelty to drug possession, but by December 2021, Barnes experienced been charged with concealing a demise, and Wamsley experienced received the identical demand on Jan. 7, 2021, the sheriff’s office environment claimed.

Investigators searched for Sullivan without having a trace.

A breakthrough in the scenario came on April 14, when a pet duck dashed less than a trailer in Chandler, which led its owners to find a container holding Sullivan’s system, sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Walker informed WLOS-Television of Asheville. The sheriff’s division verified that report to NBC Information.

“Apparently, the duck ran beneath the trailer at 11 Beady Eyed Lane, and as they had been chasing right after their pet duck, they ran throughout the container that Nellie Sullivan was positioned in,” Walker instructed the station. “If I could give that duck a medal, I would.”

Sarver said: “We do not imagine she was killed at that deal with. She was killed at a different site and then afterwards transported to where by her stays ended up found.”

Officers who attended the autopsy “made personal observations of the physique and spoke with staff” and found probable cause for warrants of first-degree murder, Sarver stated. 

The clinical examiner’s office environment will release the formal result in of loss of life when it has accomplished its unbiased probe.

Wamsley and Barnes were being amassing Sullivan’s Social Stability and retirement positive aspects checks in her absence and had been refilling her prescriptions, officials mentioned.

Their subsequent courtroom date is Could 13, court docket records demonstrate. It can be not apparent regardless of whether they have entered pleas.

Barnes was becoming held on $168,000 bond and Wamsley on $32,000 bond, according to jail records.

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