Atlanta/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 25, 2024
Hook, Line and Sinker: Georgia Fisherman's Catch Nets Clues to 2015 Craigslist Double Murder MysteryCobb County Police Department)

In a twist to a cold case that has puzzled Georgia for years, a fisherman's surprising catch may turn up to help finally close the books on a brutal 2015 double murder. As per the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a man magnet fishing in Horse Creek, Telfair County on April 14 pulled a .22-caliber rifle from the water, potentially linked to the murders of a Cobb County couple, Elrey "Bud" and June Runion.

Making to return two days later, the same man dredged up a bag containing the Runions' driver's licenses, credit cards, and a cell phone believed to be theirs. This discovery triggered a search warrant at a McRae-Helena residence on April 17 and a subsequent search on April 19, uncovering more evidence now sent off for crime lab analysis, the FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

Elrey, 69, and June Runion, 66, originally from Marietta, disappeared on January 22, 2015, after responding to a Craigslist ad for a 1966 Ford Mustang, a car that had been a long-held dream for the Vietnam veteran. The couple’s intention was never to vanish but to pass down a slice of Americana, a memory to their grandchildren - a dream cut tragically short, as told by the Runions' family to Boston 25 News.

Their bodies, discovered four days after their disappearance, bore gunshot wounds to the head. The prime suspect, Ronnie "Jay" Adrian Towns, then 28, faced indictment by a grand jury, but an irregular jury selection threw the case into a tailspin. Towns’ charges center on the premise that he lured the Runions to their deaths, pretending to sell a vehicle that never existed. Court documents revealed Towns was indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, and armed robbery. However, these charges were dropped due to the judge supplementing the grand jury with chosen individuals rather than randomly selected ones, a decision upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court. A new indictment was subsequently secured in 2020, Boston 25 News further detailed.

With the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to the delays, Towns' trial is tentatively set for August 2024. Investigators and those close to the victims hope the newly surfaced evidence will cast a decisive light on the case, perhaps bringing a long-awaited conclusion to a story marked by a tragic end to what began as a journey fueled by memory and affection.