Sheriff's Office confirms FBI, West Virginia authorities involved in case

Bartow County Coroner: No positive ID for landfill victim


More questions than answers remain regarding the case of a body uncovered by a sanitation worker in Bartow County Aug. 13.

Dispelling previous media reports, Bartow County Coroner Joel T. Guyton told The Daily Tribune News that no positive identification has yet been made in the case of a dismembered body found in a dumpster about to be emptied at the landfill located at 40 Allatoona Dam Road last month.

Despite erroneous accounts from several outlets, Guyton told The Daily Tribune News that the body found in Bartow has not been verified to be that of a missing West Virginia woman whose tattoos are practically identical to those depicted in photographs and sketches of the victim released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. 

"That was inadvertently released, because she has still not been ID'ed," he said. "We're still waiting on dental."

Guyton said he is not aware if any additional DNA testing has been performed on the body. Nor has a cause of death been determined.

"We haven't gotten the autopsy report back in yet," he said. 

So far, he said he is not aware of any evidence — DNA or otherwise — being discovered at the landfill where the body was found that may link the crime to a possible suspect.

As for how long the victim had been dead prior to being discovered, Guyton said "we're not really sure."

Nor could Guyton say where the homicide took place — i.e., if the murder occurred within Bartow or the victim was killed elsewhere and transported to the county.

What is known, however, is that the dumpster containing the body was picked up from the Cedar Creek Collection Center off US 41.

Guyton said he is "not aware" of any additional evidence — photographs, videos, eyewitnesses, etc. — that may shed more light on who initially dumped the body at that compactor site.

During an Aug. 15 press conference, Sheriff Clark Millsap said there are no cameras at the location. However, signage at the 15 Cedar Creek Road compactor site states the premises are under video surveillance, and what appear to be security cameras are positioned near the compactor.

According to county policy, the solid waste collection center is only authorized for use by residents of Bartow.

To date, no videos or photos taken from the site on Aug. 11 — the date the compactor dumpster containing the dismembered body was closed — have been publicized.

As to whether the victim had any ties to Bartow County, Guyton responded "I have no idea."

Guyton could not give an updated age estimate for the victim, who was initially described as being between 18-35. Nor could he comment on whether the homicide was drug-related or involved human trafficking.

As of the moment, Guyton could not confirm if any additional agencies — such as investigators from West Virginia or the Federal Bureau of Investigation — are involved in the case.

Bartow County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, however, has confirmed that the local agency and the GBI are working alongside "numerous" federal agencies and officials from other states on the case — including authorities in West Virginia and the FBI.

As for when more concrete facts on the victim's identity will be released, Guyton said that's up to state investigators.

"We're just waiting on the GBI," he said. 

Rogers issued a similar response. 

"She's not been positively identified, we're still waiting on confirmation from the GBI Medical Examiner's Office," he said. "It could be a while. We're waiting on DNA and that kind of stuff."