Police find bodies, vehicle of missing Georgia couple
(ABC News) MARIETTA, Ga. – Investigators have found the unidentified bodies of a male and a female, as well as an SUV owned by a Georgia couple who vanished last week while going to meet someone to buy a vintage car they found on Craigslist.
“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for, but obviously it’s one we have to deal with,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson told reporters. He added that the bodies still had not been positively identified.
Bud Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, disappeared Thursday, authorities said. The pair had posted an ad seeking to buy a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang convertible. Relatives said the Mustang was the couple’s dream car, one they’d wanted to buy since they were married decades ago.
The couple’s 2003 GMC Envoy was found submerged in a lake, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page without revealing the lake’s location. The unidentified bodies were found at another location not far away, officials said.
“We’ll wait and gather the evidence at the scene,” Steverson said. “We’ll analyze the vehicle, the bodies, and hopefully we can to come to some conclusion as to how they met their fate.”
A suspect, Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, the owner of the phone that last communicated with the Runions’ phone, according to the sheriff’s office, turned himself in earlier today to face charges of giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception.
Steverson said Towns had little or no criminal history.
The couple, after finding what they believed was a seller, reportedly set out on a 180-mile road trip from Marietta, Georgia, to McRae, Georgia. The Runions haven’t been heard from since, and never showed up to babysit their grandchildren Friday.
Their three daughters grew increasingly worried by their parents’ disappearance.
“Whoever has them, we hope that they will let them come home to us,” daughter Stephanie Bishop said. “We miss them.”
The Runion family set up a Facebook page — “Find Bud and June Runion” — and it has about 100,000 supporters.
But this evening, the page acknowledged the sheriff’s discoveries of the vehicle and bodies, and supporters began leaving messages of shock and condolence.
“During this heartbreaking time I ask that you keep the family and friends in your thoughts and prayers,” the couple’s relatives wrote.
Officials with Craigslist referred to the safety page on the company’s website, which notes, “Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.”
ABC News’ Shahriar Rahmanzadeh and Dan Good contributed to this report.