Body found in Vienna likely that of missing Ohio woman - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Body found in Vienna likely that of missing Ohio woman

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

VIENNA, GA (WALB) – An autopsy should confirm Thursday whether a body found in Dooly County is a missing elderly woman from Ohio.

It could mark the end of a nearly month long search for 84-year-old Gladis Russell who was murdered along with her husband.

The elderly couple went missing from their Bellfountaine, Ohio home February 16. It's a case that prompted an investigation which connected a killer to 4 states, and sent search teams scouring through land fills in Ohio and cotton fields South Georgia.

It was near a cotton a field few miles off Interstate 75 near Vienna where a farmer working on well discovered a body. Investigators say the remains appear to be of a woman.  

"We have a pretty good idea the body is female, based on the clothing we found at the sight; a small stature female. We are looking closely at the Russell case." GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Rotter.

It won't be known until Thursday at the earliest if the body is actually that of 84-year-old Gladis Russell. But the location where it was found is similar to the area where accused killer Samuel Littleton told investigators he dumped the Russell's remains: In a cotton field, near railroad tracks, close to I-75.

It was information that prompted a search from Macon to Valdosta.

"All law enforcement agencies in those counties were searching their immediate area right off I-75. Dooly County did an extensive search in their area but unfortunately did not spot the body until today," Rotter said.

Gladis Russell is believed to be the third of Littleton's victims. Dick Russell's remains were discovered February 26 in Chattanooga.

Arrested in West Virginia last month driving the couple's stolen car, Littleton also suspected in the murder of his girlfriend's 26-year-old daughter in Ohio.

Now investigators in 3 states are working to bring this violent case to a close.

"We've contacted the Logan County Sheriff's Office in Ohio and also Chattanooga PD who located the body of Mr. Russell," Rotter said.

Forensic examiners at the crime lab in Macon will use dental records to determine if the victim found  is Gladis Russell.

It's still unclear how the person was killed.

Suspected triple murderer Samuel Littleton remains in jail in West Virginia awaiting extradition to Ohio.

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