The GBI confirmed Thursday it is treating the deaths of two Floyd County women as homicides after their bodies were discovered under a bridge on the East Rome Bypass.

Vanita Nicole “Vera” Richardson, 19, and Truvenia Clarece “Bean” Campbell, 31, were found dead under a bridge on Ga. Loop 1 near the bank of the Etowah River on Wednesday morning. The circumstances surrounding their deaths are still under investigation.

Floyd County Chief Deputy Coroner Connie Chandler confirmed the identity of the two women, who were sisters. Chandler said the bodies were taken to the state crime lab Thursday morning.

The GBI, who is assisting with the investigation after a request by Rome police, is asking anyone who may have seen anything suspicious while traveling through the area of the bridge between 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. Wednesday to contact them at 1-800-597-TIPS.

Multiple posts to both women’s social media pages mourned their deaths. Richardson attended Armuchee High School and was scheduled to graduate this year.

Floyd County Schools spokesperson Lenora McEntire Doss issued a statement from the school district Thursday afternoon expressing its condolences to Richardson’s family and the school.

“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the news of the death of one of our students, Vanita Richardson, who was scheduled to graduate next Saturday,” read the statement.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Armuchee Community and her friends and family at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Vanita will be remembered for being a fun-loving, humble and motivated student who was making strong plans for her future.”

Doss said staff remembered Richardson as a “caring personality and a big heart.”

Armuchee High School students were sent contact information for the school’s social worker and counselor, who are available for virtual grief and loss counseling sessions while school buildings remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doss said the high school and the district are working on details on how to honor Richardson’s memory during both Armuchee’s drive-through graduation ceremony May 23 and its planned in-person graduation ceremony in July.

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, just south of Grizzard Park.

He said a pair of GDOT workers initially found the bodies while at the site to perform routine maintenance on the bridge.

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.

Rome News-Tribune Executive Editor John Bailey contributed to this report.

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