Woman's murder unsolved after 7 years - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woman's murder unsolved after 7 years

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

July 1, 2008

Tift County, GA (WALB) - It will soon be seven years to the day that Sandra Purvis' life was changed forever. On July 9, 2001, three teenagers were walking in the woods when they made a gruesome discovery. Behind a vacant mobile home in Tift County was the body of a young woman.

Purvis was watching the news when she first saw the reports on television.

She said, "I was here at the house and we were watching channel 10. They had the crime scene roped off."

But what she didn't know at the time was that the body was that of her 27-year-old daughter, Frances Lunsford.

"I was in shock. I was just numb. I cried. I couldn't believe they did that to her," she said.

Investigators with the GBI and the Tift County Sheriff's Office surrounded the area along Oquinn Drive where Lunsford's body was discovered. Autopsy results later showed she had been strangled to death with a piece of clothing. Still haunted by the images she witnessed nearly 7 years ago, not a day goes by this mother doesn't forget about her daughter, a mother of three herself, whose killer has never been caught.

"They don't even want to talk about their momma. Because that's how much anger they got of it, especially the oldest one, Brittany. They left three kids behind without a mother," said Purvis.

The investigation into Lunsford's death remains a cold case, like dozens of other unsolved homicides throughout the state of Georgia. But with each case, there are loved ones of the victims left with many questions, a lot of pain, and hope that their killer or killers will someday brought to justice.

Purvis said, "I think about her all the time. She's in my heart everyday of the week."

Lunsford was last heard from two days before her body was discovered on Monday July 9, 2001. If you have information about the death of Frances Lunsford, you can contact the GBI office in Sylvester at 229-777-2080 or the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-597-TIPS.

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