Georgia Bookstore Owner Found Dead in Creek; Ex-Boyfriend Charged with Murder, Kidnapping

Georgia Bookstore Owner Found Dead in Creek; Ex-Boyfriend Charged with Murder, Kidnapping

The body of a Georgia bookstore owner was found in a creek after she was reported missing by her family.

According to 11 Alive, the body of Erica Atkins, 42, who owned Birdsong Books in Locust Grove, Georgia., was discovered several miles from the bookstore on Monday.

A fisherman found her body in Cedar Creek in Putnam County. She was reported missing the previous day Jail officials from Henry County said 38-year-old Romero Johnson, a bookstore employee, has been arrested in connection to Atkins’ death and faces charges of kidnapping and murder.

Atkins’ friend, Shanna Amoah, said she is “devastated” by the loss.

“Erica was a busy woman. She was committed to helping her community. She donated books–donated her time. In fact, she came last year to my summer camp and read to my kids–donated her time there,” Amoah said. “Erica was just a pillar in our community. She just won National Small Business of the Year through the Chamber of Commerce.”

Law and Crime reported that Johnson is also Atkins’ former boyfriend as well as an employee at Birdsong Books.

After the Locust Grove Police Department responded to a report of a missing person at the home of Atkins at 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, investigators determined there were “suspicious circumstances” about her disappearance. Johnson immediately became a person of interest.

According to a police report, between 11:30 p.m. March 4 and 12:30 a.m. March 5, Johnson “willfully and knowingly” abducted his former girlfriend. He “dragged a body-sized sheet” that he used to conceal Atkins’ body from her garage. He eventually placed it into the rear of his car.

Detectives obtained surveillance video footage from across the street which show Johnson placing the body into the vehicle.

Human blood was discovered in the rear passenger compartment of Johnson’s vehicle. The vehicle had been cleaned and vacuumed. Police officers found blood and one of Atkins’ earrings at the same location on the driveway where Johnson allegedly dragged Atkins.

Atlanta News First reported that the Henry County Magistrate Court confirmed that Johnson had a court hearing Tuesday; no bond was set. His next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is set for March 31 at 9 a.m.