Two arrests made in connection with home invasions - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two arrests made in connection with home invasions

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October 4, 2005

Colquitt County-- Two men are in jail in connection with a terrifying home invasion in Norman Park. The men are charged with beating an hispanic man and sexually assaulting his wife in their mobile home. Investigators say the suspects may be connected to the murders of Hispanic men in Tift County.

"Yeah, that's a bruise," says Brenda Gonzalez. Brenda Gonzalez is bruised but thankful to be alive after two men invaded her mobile home in Colquitt County. "I woke up to screams. That's all I remember, waking up, my husband asking me to help him," says Gonzalez.

Her husband was severely beaten with a bat and shot in the head. Brenda was also beaten and raped. "We struggled, tried to keep them out. That's when they proceeded to do what they did," says Gonzalez. The men went through the home and took money, jewelry, clothes, cell phones, car keys, and identification, things she can replace. She can't replace her lost sense of security.

Gonzalez says, "The worst part is that you think you're safe at home. Come time for you to go to sleep and you're in bed you think you're safe but I guess you aren't safe anywhere. But yeah, the worst part is that."

Colquitt County investigators charged 27-year-old Jamie Deamtrive Underwood of Moultrie and 19-year-old Stacy Bernard Sims of Norman Park with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated sodomy, and one count rape. They say more charges are pending. "We've got a pattern of criminal activity that went on the span of about 4 hours," says GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Investigators feel the home invasion in Colquitt County may be connected to deadly home invasions in Tifton and Tift County in which six Hispanic men are now dead. They say it's an example of a growing number of assaults on immigrant workers statewide. "But nothing to this extent. Not a series of crimes which I believe to have been perpetrated by the same group of people," says Keenan.

Keenan says up to four suspects may have been involved. When asked how close they were to solving the crimes he replied, "We're making significant progress in the investigation and I'll leave it at that," says Keenan. But Brenda is thankful that two are now off the streets.

"We're not safe with people like this around us. My children were involved and it's just by the mercy of God that they're still here, that I'm still here," says Gonzalez. She prays that justice is served. "Lock them up and throw away the key," says Gonzalez.

Investigators say there have been about 20 home invasions in this general area in the past 90 days. They're reviewing and investigating all of those to determine if they are connected and committed by the same criminals.

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