GBI searching for car belonging to victim

The GBI is asking the public’s assistance in finding a gold 1997 Toyota Corolla, similar to the one pictured here, in connection with the homicide investigation stemming from the discovery of two Rome women under an East Rome Bypass bridge on Wednesday.

The investigation into a double homicide on the outskirts of Rome could lead to Metro Atlanta as the GBI continues to seek the public’s assistance in the case.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about a 1997 gold Toyota Corolla with the license plate RTJ6295 to contact the GBI tip line at 1-800-597-8477 (TIPS).

The GBI says Vanita Nicole Richardson, 19, and Truvenia Clarece Campbell, 31, were in the car, which belonged to Richardson, sometime Tuesday evening — less than 24 hours before their bodies were found under a bridge over the Etowah River on the East Rome Bypass.

The car is considered stolen and has been placed into the state’s crime information database. Investigators were uncertain where the car is as of Friday’s update, but believe it could be in the Metro Atlanta area.

The car is mentioned as part of the initial incident report filed by the Rome Police Department in the hours following the discovery of the two Rome women’s bodies Wednesday near Ga. Loop 1 just south of Grizzard Park.

According to the report obtained by the Rome News-Tribune through an open-records request, Richardson and Campbell were found on the ground in a grassy area just below the bridge with bags tied over their heads.

The bodies were discovered at around 11 a.m. Wednesday by three GDOT employees who had arrived on the scene to inspect the bridge as part of routine maintenance. They then called 911.

Rome police requested the GBI to assist in the investigation soon after setting up a perimeter at the scene. The GBI is also asking anyone who was in the area of the bridge between Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 11 a.m. to call them as well.

The incident report provided has the listing of the possible weapon used in the incident redacted, and beside “Review for Gang Activity” it has “None.”

A GBI medical examiner completed autopsies on the two Thursday and ruled their deaths as homicides. The exact causes of death have not been released.

The two were half sisters, with Richardson a senior at Armuchee High School and set to graduate next Saturday, according to Floyd County Schools. Richardson has been a member of the Armuchee marching band.

GBI Assistant Special Agent In Charge Brian Johnston said Wednesday the bodies were apparently dropped over the bridge near the south bank of the Etowah River.

Local law enforcement and the GBI spent nearly four hours at the scene Wednesday with assistance from several emergency agencies. Rome-Floyd Fire Department personnel were called in to help recover the bodies by pulling them up to the bridge.

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