Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 26, 2011

Lowndes authorities search for missing couple's bodies

VALDOSTA — Authorities are searching for the bodies of an Ohio couple believed to have been dumped in the Lowndes County area by a man suspected of three murders, said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine Friday.

The case stretches from the murder of a 26-year-old woman in Ohio, the disappearance of a couple in their 80s, a suspect driving south toward Florida, and his arrest Wednesday in West Virginia. The search for the couple and the suspect gained national attention last week following the brutal murder of Tiffany Brown, 26, of Ohio.

Following his arrest earlier this week, the suspect reportedly claimed to have dumped the bodies of Richard Russell, 84, and wife Gladis Russell, 85, in Lowndes County, Prine said.

Though no bodies have been located, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Lanier County Sheriff’s Office, Valdosta Police Department, Hahira Police Department, CSX Railroad Police and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police spent Thursday and Friday searching the region.

Authorities confirmed that the suspect, Samuel Littleton II, spent time on Feb. 18 in the Valdosta area, Prine said. He drove a gray-and-green 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis with an Ohio license plate.

The case began earlier this month, when Brown, a mother of two, was reported missing in Bellefontaine, Ohio. She was last seen on Feb. 11.

On Feb. 16, while interviewing Brown’s mother, police reportedly noticed what appeared to be a blood-stained piece of clothing in her house, according to various Ohio news reports. A search warrant led to the discovery of Brown’s stabbed body in the basement.

The mother was not a suspect in the case, but Samuel K. Littleton II, 37, who reportedly lived in the mother’s basement, became a suspect. Ohio law-enforcement wanted him on felony counts of murder, assault, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

On the same evening authorities discovered Brown’s body, they located Littleton’s abandoned pick-up truck on private property in Logan County, Ohio. The Russells and their Grand Marquis were also reported missing at this time.

The Russells were reportedly the previous owners of the house where Brown’s body had been discovered, according to ABC News.

Earlier this week, Littleton stopped in Princeton, W.Va., and reportedly placed a phone call with his father from a telephone near a West Virginia State Police barracks, according to The Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Littleton apparently spent up to three days in the wooded hills of southern West Virginia. He reportedly attempted building a fire while wearing a hoodie sweatshirt in 20-degree temperatures, according to The Telegraph.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, authorities located the Grand Marquis in the parking lot of a Princeton Walmart. West Virginia state police used a helicopter to flush the suspect out of woods behind the store. Following a brief foot chase, authorities apprehended the suspect. A police dog brought the fleeing suspect down, according to The Telegraph.

Questioning led to the claim he had dumped the Russells’ bodies in Lowndes County.

Prine said he did not know if the Russells were reportedly killed before the visit to South Georgia or while in the Lowndes County area. The suspect likely has limited knowledge of South Georgia. Authorities aren’t absolutely certain Lowndes County is the location, which is why the search has stretched to other South Georgia counties.

Based on the suspect’s account, authorities have been searching railroad tracks along wooded areas. Prine said law-enforcement has searched the past few days off Interstate 75 exits throughout South Georgia.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-man_hunt001.jpg Dump truck thieves sought

    Authorities continued searching for suspects Monday evening connected to a stolen dump truck involved in a chase with law-enforcement.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • City workers strike natural gas main

    A gas leak evacuated a neighborhood Monday when workers struck a natural gas main.

    July 29, 2014

  • education.jpg Desegregation status approved

    Forty-three years after an initial lawsuit was filed to force the system to desegregate, Valdosta City Schools has officially been approved for “unitary status.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results