He opened the door. There stood a 9-year-old girl still in her pajamas, her eyes swollen from crying.
“She said she couldn’t find her mother and father and her papaw was dead,” he said.
Warnack and the girl returned to her home around the corner at 1200 Green Springs Road. Inside, he discovered a body in the floor in a pool of blood and called 911 a few minutes before 7 a.m. He said Whitfield County firefighters were on the scene within minutes and found another body in what authorities called a “pool house” adjacent to the home.
Jessica B. Neal, 27, and a relative, Don William Shedd, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene in the Dawnville neighborhood, said Capt. Rick Swiney of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. Neal’s husband, Adolph Ray “Sonny” Neal, 49, was being sought Thursday night on an arrest warrant for the murders of Jessica Neal and Shedd. Shedd was found in the home, while Jessica Neal was found in the pool house. An obituary listed Shedd as Jessica Neal’s grandfather.
“We’re actively looking for Mr. Neal at this time,” Swiney said late Thursday afternoon of efforts by the sheriff’s office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol and U.S. Marshals. “We think he left the immediate area on foot. We’ve searched the immediate area and we’re searching locations in state and out of state where friends and family live.”
Sheriff Scott Chitwood termed the deaths “extremely violent homicides” in an early afternoon press conference near the scene. Swiney said both victims and Sonny Neal lived at the residence. Swiney declined to say what type of weapon was used in the murders. Chitwood said the 9-year-old girl was getting ready for school, found her grandfather and screamed, which awakened another elderly man at the residence. Authorities said the elderly man was a relative, but declined to elaborate on his relation.
Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon said the bodies were sent to the state crime lab late Thursday afternoon and it could be one or two days before autopsy reports are completed.
Investigators processed the crime scene and interviewed family members Thursday afternoon. Some 12 to 15 officers were working the scene as investigators or providing security in the quiet neighborhood.
By late morning, news crews, reporters and neighbors had gathered outside yellow crime scene stretched across the road. The setting of a tranquil, leafy neighborhood with birds chirping and people speaking in hushed tones was broken by the occasional roar of a helicopter navigating search patterns overhead.
Neighbor Carrie Everett lives a few houses away and said she had not heard anything out of the ordinary on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
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