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Body of missing Sandersville woman found, one in custody

One man, 31-year-old Aaron Adams of Sandersville, remains in custody due to his alleged connection to the death of a 46-year-old Sandersville woman, Tina Prince. She was missing for exactly a week before her body was found by officials in rural Washington County.

According to information about the case, Prince was eating dinner with one of her daughters at Puebla Mexican Restaurant in Sandersville during the evening hours of Friday, May 28. While there, she received multiple texts and phone calls. Prince finally stepped outside to take one of the calls. She went back inside, said goodbye, left, and disappeared thereafter.

On Saturday, May 29, her daughter reported her missing. A cell phone tracking app was able to ping the device in Macon on Friday night. Additionally, officials stayed at Prince’s house until around 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 29.

Early investigation determined Adams was the caller on Friday evening, and surveillance footage indicated Prince left the restaurant, went to a store, then drove to the Sandersville Walmart, where she met Adams in the parking lot and got into the vehicle with him.

On Sunday, May 30, officials located Prince’s car, a blue Kia Forte, in the Walmart parking lot. At that point, Washington County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

By Tuesday, June 1, officials had a helicopter in the air conducting an aerial search with negative results.

The search moved to the ground on Thursday, June 3, as officials swept a pond off Highway 24 West with the Department of Natural Resources as a “precautionary” measure with, again, no results. Family and friends gathered for a vigil at First Church of the Nazarene in Sandersville later that night.

The case had a major break on Friday, June 4, when Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran announced in a press conference that a body believed to be that of Prince had been found on rural Pleasant Grove Road near an Imerys plant.

Three warrants were signed by Washington County Chief Magistrate Judge Manzie Broxton that same day for Adams’ arrest. Charged with one count concealing a death and two felony counts of false statements, Adams is accused of hindering the discovery of her body. The defendant, cooperating with the investigation, was taken into custody and continues to be held at the Washington County Jail today.

In a press conference on Friday, June 4, Sheriff Cochran stated the body would be sent off for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. Those results have not been rendered yet. Because the investigation was ongoing at the time (and continues to be today), the sheriff didn’t add much other than that. He did, however, thank the multiple agencies involved. These law enforcement organizations include: the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the GBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DNR, the Georgia State Patrol, the Department of Community Supervision, the Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, the Middle Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney’s Office, Sandersville Police Department, volunteer firefighters from the area, and Washington County EMA.

“Any time there is a loss of life, it’s a tragedy,” Tripp Fitzner, Middle Judicial District Attorney said about the case. “Here this is especially true. We pray for her loved ones, friends, and students. The case is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and my office has and will continue to communicate with them on a regular basis.”

Prince’s obituary states she passed away Friday, May 28, 2021. Services were held June 10 of last week at 2 p.m. at First Church of the Nazarene – Sandersville.

A first grade teacher at Ridge Road Elementary, she held a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Georgia College & State University as well as a master’s in education. Prince was a member of Legacy Church. She leaves behind two daughters and their significant others, four grandchildren, both her parents, a sister, one brother-in-law, two nephews, and one grandmother. Donations can be made to Ridge Road Primary to assist children in need: Washington County Board of Education, attention Sandra McMaster, P.O. Box 716, Sandersville, GA. 31082.

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