Man arrested in Glynn County murder of 53-year-old woman

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – A local grandmother was gunned down outside her workplace early Saturday morning, and Glynn County police have arrested a man and charged him with her murder.

Dawn Newbauer, 53, was a mother of four who worked in the restaurant industry in the Golden Isles for 15 years, according to her stepson. He said she had lots of friends and knew a lot of different people. The Glynn County Police Department arrested 50-year-old Ricky Easterling for the crime.

Police said the two knew each other but did not release specifics. Newbauer’s stepson, Matthew Newbauer, does not know the relationship either.

”From what I understand, it was somebody that was known to her,” Matthew Newbauer said. “I don’t know the extent of that relationship or how long they knew each other.”

Matthew Newbauer, who is a police detective from Seattle, said the details of the crime were particularly disturbing.

“She was slumped over the trunk of her car. She was missing clothing from the waist down, and she had a gunshot wound to the back of her head,” said Matthew Newbauer.

Her body was found in the parking lot of the Retreat Village Shopping Plaza in St. Simons Island. A GoFundMe page set up by her stepson said she was killed after closing the restaurant where she worked.

”This came as an absolute shock to us. Everybody says stuff like this, but she lit up every room she went into. She was the life of every party,” said Matthew Newbauer. “She was the type of person that would become your best friend after a couple hours. We’re having a hard time understanding why somebody would want to do this to her. She definitely didn’t deserve it -- the love she gave to everybody.”

Matthew Newbauer has been a law enforcement officer for 15 years. He said he spent the majority of that time investigating major crimes and violent felonies.

”I’ve investigated these types of things for years and it even took me by surprise how shocking the scene was,” said Newbauer. “Most shootings between known individuals, they’re usually in the heat of passion or an argument or whatnot. In my professional opinion from investigating these types of things, it was a lot more violent than what most seasoned law enforcement officers are used to seeing.”

Evidence found at the scene led the GCPD to identify Easterling as a person of interest. The GCPD said they continued their investigation and obtained several search warrants that resulted in significant evidence being found, including a firearm that is believed to be linked to the crime.

Easterling is charged with multiple crimes, including felony murder and is currently being held at the Glynn County Detention Center.

”We’re really thankful for the quick actions of the Glynn County Police Department for identifying and apprehending the suspect in this case so quickly,” said Matthew Newbauer.

The investigation is ongoing, and the GCPD urges anyone with relevant information to contact Silent Witness at 912-264-1333.

About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.