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Officer Finds Daughter, Another Woman Slain In Valdosta

July 3, 1986

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) _ A sheriff’s officer searching for his daughter found her and another woman shot to death, and authorities charged a 26-year-old man in Tennessee in connection with the slayings.

Michael Glynn Coody of Valdosta was jailed in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Wednesday on a warrant charging him with violating his probation on a 1982 armed robbery conviction, said Lowndes County Sheriff G. Robert Carter said. Coody also was charged with concealing a death, Carter said.

Authorities had said they were searching for a man the victims may have met shortly before they were killed. Carter refused today to say whether Coody was that man.

Sheriff’s Lt. Carl Smith said he found the bodies of his 23-year-old daughter, Janet Ritch, and Paulette Davis, 20, on Wednesday.

″I just would never believe, never believe anything like this could happen to her, a murder,″ said Smith. She had called him Tuesday to say she was concerned about a man, he said.

Autopies were scheduled today. And the state crime laboratory was given items seized from Coody’s mobile home Wednesday, Carter said.

The women were last seen in Valdosta on Tuesday afternoon, Smith said. Authorities, including Smith, began hunting for the women Wednesday morning when Ms. Ritch’s grandmother reported that Ms. Ritch had not come home.

Smith found the bodies on a dirt road that runs between a field and a wood several miles from Ms. Ritch’s home. His daughter’s car was parked nearby.

Ms. Davis had been shot several times, and Ms. Ritch had been shot once in the head, Smith said. He was unable to determine the type of weapon used.

Carter said the women may have known their assailant. ″There was no sign of a struggle,″ he said.

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