Police, GBI investigate Cairo homicide - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police, GBI investigate Cairo homicide

January 8, 2006

Cairo- A homicide at a quiet apartment complex in Cairo, shocks and scares neighbors. Friends at the Pine Forest Apartments describe the elderly, disabled victim Pearl Johnson as funny, friendly, and someone who would help just about anyone.

The Pine Forest Apartments in Cairo is a quiet place. A place where the residents are friends and some even consider each other family. That's why a murder to one of their own seems so shocking.

"It's not like Miss Pearl not to be out. She was one of the people out here who would go around and help everybody and do for everybody else," said Chris Lawson, a friend.

Friends got suspicious when one of the apartment's friendliest tenants Pearl Johnson suddenly disappeared.

"I saw her Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m. when I was on my way to the doctor's office and no one had seen or heard from Miss Pearl since then," said Lawson.

Friends say it wasn't like Johnson to not have been out to see her friends in two days.

"We were really concerned. We couldn't get her to answer her door, the TV was on, the lights were on, so we were very concerned," said Lawson.

Saturday morning, her friends called 911 and their worst fears were realized. Crime tape, now drapes Johnson's door and police are calling her death a homicide.

"She was handicapped on the right side, she was not able to move around on the right side very well, so she couldn't very well defend herself," said Lawson.

It's got residents in this quiet community upset, that something like this could happen and distraught over the loss of their friend.

"I've lived here seven years and we've never had more than a few squabbles among children, but we've never even had break-ins so, it was a little bit nerve racking, but it wasn't nerve racking except for the fact that you loose one of your friends," said Lawson.

Police Chief Keith Sandefur says an autopsy will be done tomorrow at the state crime lab. Police did not want to release details on Johnson's exact cause of death until after the autopsy.

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