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Man who discovered body feared it was his granddaughter

by Teresa Eubanks, Journal Editor

TELOGIA - Surgery on an injured hand had kept Billy Bodiford from mowing his yard for three or four weeks but when he finally felt well enough to go outside to do the job Friday, he got the shock of his life.

The 63-year-old man, who has previously suffered four heart attacks, may have nearly had his fifth had he not been able to pull himself together after he spotted a body on the ground about 150 yards from where he was mowing.

He was riding the mower along the border of his yard when he noticed a woman in the small field behind his home. “At first I though it was somebody laying down and trying to hide. Then I realized it was a deceased person.”

Although partially obscured by tall weeds, he said he could see that the woman was face down with her arms stretched out in front of her.   “It looked like she had just been drug out there and dropped,” he said.

He could not see her face but from his view on the mower, his first thought was that “she looked just like my granddaughter.” His heart dropped and he started shaking.  “She had the same dark hair and was about her size but I couldn’t see her face,”  he said.

As badly as he wanted to walk over and see that it wasn’t his granddaughter, “I knew enough not to go and touch anything,” he said.  He parked the mower and called the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

• • • • •

At least 45 excruciating minutes went by before he learned it was not his 22-year-old granddaughter.

It took awhile to verify that she was OK because she had recently damaged her cell phone, he said.  Finally, the girl’s mother caught up with her daughter’s boyfriend, who told her she had stayed home from work that day because she was sick.  Katelyn Shuler came to the scene to reassure her grandfather that she was fine as he waited outside while investigators combed the area.

“When I found out it was not my granddaughter, I felt a sigh of relief…but then I was still very upset, because I knew she was somebody’s daughter,” he said.

After the body was identified as Lacey Ammons Kirkpatrick, Bodiford realized he did not know her but does know some of her family. “My thoughts and prayers go out to them,” he said.

He’s still coming to terms with his frightening discovery.  “Any other time, I’d probably have found her the first day,” he said, and explained that a grinder accident cut the tendons in his hand which kept him from working. “Still, I’m glad I found her now instead of later,” he said, but, “It upset me quite a bit.”

He added that since then, “I’ve pretty much gathered my thoughts and trust in the good Lord to help me get past this.  I hope and pray they find out the reason she was there.”

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Date
October 20th, 2017

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Staff

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