Police Recover Bodies Believed To Be Missing Couple

Authorities Awaiting Positive I.D.

Published On: Oct 14 2011 02:11:17 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 17 2005 03:52:33 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Police believe the bodies of two individuals pulled from a shallow grave in Charlton County, Ga., Saturday are those of Carol and Reggie Sumner, who have been missing since July 8.

Investigators said the bodies match the description of the victims at the time they were reported missing.

Jacksonville sheriff?s officers conducted a search of the suspected burial site, just north of the Florida-Georgia line, early Saturday morning after speaking with a suspect who told them where the bodies were, according to police.

On Friday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested Bruce Nixon, 18, on charges of robbery, abduction and murder. Nixon, of Macclenny, Fla., was one of several "persons of interest" being questioned by police.

Three additional suspects being held on credit card fraud in Charleston, S.C., were accused Saturday. Police believe Alan Wade, Tiffany Cole and Michael James Jackson are connected.

"The motive of this abduction appears to be robbery," Assistant Chief Rick Graham said.

Police believe the victims knew some of the suspects, though Graham said none were related to the Sumners. Police also do not consider this crime to be a random act of violence.

An off-duty Baker County officer found the couple's 1993 Lincoln Town Car Tuesday night in Sanderson, Fla., and an extensive search was conducted by authorities near the Sumners' home in St. Nicholas and near the area where the car was recovered.

The couple's daughter, Rhonda Branson, of South Carolina, called police last Sunday when she was unable to reach her parents by telephone. Branson drove to Jacksonville, where she found the couple's dog inside the house. She also found food on the stove, and the couple's medication and cell phone still in the house.

The bodies have been taken to Waycross, Ga., and will be transported to the state medical examiner?s office in Moultrie, Ga., on Monday, July 18. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death and positively identify the bodies.

The JSO will continue to investigate.

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