05/18/2024

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Breakthrough in Accused Craigslist Killer Case: Fisherman Finds Slain Georgia Couple’s IDs and Phones in Creek

Breakthrough in Accused Craigslist Killer Case: Fisherman Finds Slain Georgia Couple’s IDs and Phones in Creek

Nine years following the tragic murder of an elderly Georgia couple, law enforcement announced a significant breakthrough in the 2015 Craiglist murders.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), a fisherman stumbled upon a .22-caliber rifle from Horse Creek in Telfair County on April 14, where Elrey “Bud” Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, were found murdered.

Two days later, the fisherman reportedly uncovered a bag containing the couple’s driver’s licenses, credit cards, and presumed cell phones.

Following the fisherman’s discovery, GBI agents and the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office searched a home in Telfair County for additional evidence. Investigators didn’t specify who the house belonged to.

Judith Hine, holding her dog Heidi, embraces neighbor Dee Cox, right, as they stand across the street from the home of 69-year-old Elrey “Bud” Runion and his 66-year-old wife, June, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Authorities have positively identified two bodies as those of the Runions, who disappeared after driving three hours away to buy a classic auto, and the suspect already in custody has been charged with murder and armed robbery. “This is a close knit community,” says Hine. “We all watch out for each other.” (AP Photo/David Goldman)

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ronnie “Jay” Adrian Towns is facing murder and robbery charges in connection with the death of the retired Cobb County couple who wanted to buy a cherry red 1966 Ford Mustang.

After spotting the car posted for sale on Craigslist, the pair drove from Marietta to McRae on January 22, 2015. According to police, Towns created a phony Craigslist ad to lure unassuming people in, in an attempt to rob them.

He reportedly purchased a temporary “throwaway” phone at a convenience store days before the Runions met up with him.

Prosecutor Joshua Powell said although Towns already had a personal cellphone, he bought a “burner” thinking it couldn’t be traced back to him.

“The phone was bought a very short time ago,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson at a 2015 press conference. “This deal was negotiated for the Runions to come to Telfair County. And it was soon turned off.”

State vs Ronnie Adrian Towns by Leigh Egan

On January 26, 2015, investigators found the couple’s 2003 GMC Envoy submerged in a pond close to Towns’ family Telfair County property. The bodies were found nearby with gunshot wounds to their heads.

Within days of the discovery of the couple’s bodies, Towns was apprehended after his father persuaded him to turn himself in.

In 2015, a grand jury indicted him, yet his legal team contended that the jury selection process was flawed, citing a violation of the suspect’s rights. The argument led to an indictment dismissal several years later.

In 2019, Telfair County District Attorney Tim Vaughn sought a new indictment with a different grand jury.

Jason Hoffman, left, places flowers at a makeshift memorial with his daughters Jaycee, 9, center, and Nolene, 11, outside the home of 69-year-old Elrey “Bud” Runion and his 66-year-old wife, June, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Authorities have positively identified two bodies as those of the Runions, who disappeared after driving three hours away to buy a classic auto, and the suspect already in custody has been charged with murder and armed robbery. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Runions were renowned for their community service and for repairing bikes for local children in need. Each Christmas, they embarked on a charitable journey, distributing gifts to Appalachia’s underprivileged youngsters from their Marietta church, according to the church’s pastor, Mark Walker.

“The most generous, giving, loving people anyone could ever meet,” Walker told CNN. “Their last anniversary, I’m not exactly sure when that was, Bud went out and pressure-washed in his driveway a big heart. And inside, he spelled “Bud and June.” And he brought her out there and showed her that.”

Meanwhile, Towns remains behind bars without bail. The trial is tentatively scheduled for August 2024.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Bud & June Runion/Handout; Ronnie Towns/Police Handout]