ROME, Ga. — Georgia detectives are investigating the killing of two women whose bodies were found dropped from a bridge Wednesday morning in Rome, authorities said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified the women as Vanita Richardson, 19, and Truvenia Clarece Campbell, 30, both of Rome. The women’s bodies were found under a loop of the Etowah Bridge around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
“A GBI medical examiner has completed an autopsy on both Richardson & Campbell. The manner of death is homicide,” a GBI news release said. “If you were traveling in that area and saw anything suspicious between Tuesday @ 10:30 p.m. & Wednesday @ 11 a.m., investigators need your help. Please contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) with any information pertinent to the investigation.”
GBI officials told the Rome News-Tribune, which identified Richardson and Campbell as sisters, that the women were discovered by state Department of Transportation workers performing routine maintenance on the bridge. Rome police officers secured the scene and requested help from the bureau.
Police scanner traffic indicated the women were found with bags over their heads, the News-Tribune reported. Spent shotgun shells were found near their bodies.
Neither the GBI nor Rome police officials would confirm those details for the newspaper.
GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Johnston told the News-Tribune that the investigation is in the early stages but that detectives are following leads.
Once the crime scene was processed, Rome-Floyd firefighters helped investigators get the women’s bodies up to the bridge.
“We used a 70-foot aerial ladder with a four-to-one haul system with a Stokes basket to hoist the victims up over the side of the bridge and get them in the care of the coroner,” Battalion Chief Brad Beall told the paper.
Richardson was a graduating senior at Armuchee High School. According to Floyd County Schools officials, she was set to graduate next Saturday.
District officials said they are heartbroken over the young woman’s death.
“Vanita will be remembered for being a fun-loving, humble and motivated student who was making strong plans for her future,” a statement on the district’s social media accounts said. “Even throughout the school closures, Vanita’s passing is felt by all. In particular, (by) the staff members whose lives she touched with her caring personality and big heart.
“The Armuchee High social worker and counselor will be available for virtual grief and loss counseling sessions. Students who are interested should email them directly.”