A man was arrested on a murder charge Tuesday after his girlfriend was found dead inside a hotel room, the Kingsland Police Department said.
Officers responding to a 911 hang-up call from the Econo Lodge in Kingsland at 12:55 a.m. Tuesday found a 62-year-old Jacksonville woman dead of head trauma in one of the rooms, according to police.
The woman was identified as Ruthene Tukes, who was a guest at the hotel.
Hotel staff said they heard a woman screaming right before police showed up.
Evidence retrieved from the room by Kingsland police, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations led them to David Chavell Monroe, 39, of Folkston. When Folkston police officers went to Monroe's home, they said he had blood on his shoes and shorts and Turkes' vehicle was parked in the front yard.
Monroe was booked into the Camden County jail on a charge of first-degree murder.
Ruthene Tukes was described as the backbone of her family.
"I loved her so much. She was my sweetest, innocent and goodest grandmother I could ever have," said Eric Collins, her grandson.
Ruthene Tukes' daughter, Shameka Tukes, told News4Jax that her mother had been traveling from Florida to Georgia for ministry work and that's how she met Monroe.
"If you were hungry, she fed you. If you needed somewhere to stay, she would open up her doors no matter what time of day. If you called her, she would answer her phone. And to be robbed of that, I just don’t understand it. She was basically trying to help him get his life back," Shameka Tukes said. "Love is blind."
Family members also said that Ruthene Tukes had lost her husband two years ago, and being with Monroe was another chance at love.
"Why would you do that? I will probably never get the answer (to), 'Why here?'" Shameka Tukes said.
The daughter said that she filed a restraining order on Monroe, and he was no longer allowed to come to her home in Jacksonville, which is one of the reasons why Ruthene Tukes would drive to Georgia to be with him.