Nearly two years after her husband was pronounced dead at their Fitzgerald home, Melissa Stuckert is charged with felony murder in his death.
It was December of 2013 when EMS responded to their home on West Chattahoochee Street and pronounced 71-year-old Robert Stuckert dead. They said it was a natural death, but that might not be the case.
"The death was ruled as a natural, medical death," said Ben Hill Co. Sheriff Bobby McLemore. The case was closed and the father of two was later buried in Florida. "The wife gave some information that he had heart problems and nobody questioned it," the sheriff said.
That is until July of this year. New information was called into the sheriff's office and forced them to revisit that December night. "It turned out that he died because of suffocation, not from medical problems."
Immediately, the investigation division had a homicide case. All signs directed them back to his wife, 35-year-old Melissa Stuckert. "During the course of the investigation, he uncovered some evidence and probable that led to the arrest of Melissa Stuckert. She was arrested on felony murder charges," the sheriff said.
She's now being held without bond in the Ben Hill County jail on those charges. Gladys Phillips has lived on this block for more than a decade. "It's very surprising to know that I'm on the block with something like this going on," said Phillips.
Sheriff McLemore says the investigation is far from over as there are still many things to figure out.
This case is all the result of that new info that came to them a couple months ago, so the sheriff stresses the importance of the community in coming forward with anything they know so more cases like this don't slip through the cracks.