SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Body found in dumpster positively identified as Andrya DeGhelder

SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Body found in dumpster believed to be Andrya DeGhelder

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - On Thursday, August 2, 2018, according to Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the body found in a dumpster behind the Gateway Walmart in Grovetown has been positively identified as 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder.

DeGhelder was identified by her fingerprints. According to the Columbia County Coroner, her cause of death was strangulation.

There will be a vigil for DeGhelder on Friday, August 3 at 7 pm in the 500 block of Great Falls in Grovetown.

No suspect has been identified.

Stay with FOX 54 as this investigation contiunes.

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A body found in a dumpster may hold more clues to the week-long investigation. A missing person case has turned into a homicide investigation, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's office.

Investigators got a break in 39-year-old Andrya DeGhelder's disappearance Tuesday after clues they collected led them to the Gateway Walmart in Grovetown, about four miles away from her home. There, investigators say the dumpster contained the body of a white woman, seven days after Andrya went missing.

"I had one of my supervisors last night made a comment to me about how it looked, how the crime scene looked. And my comment back to him was, from my experience, 'you cannot unsee what you see," explained Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle.

In a news conference held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, investigators said although they are confident that's Andrya's body, a positive identification has not been made yet. The body has been sent to the GBI Crime lab for autopsy.

She was last seen alive leaving Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center on Wednesday, July 25th. The case started July 26th, after a welfare check. Police were called to her home on Great Falls in the Ivy Falls subdivision.

During Wednesday's news conference, authorities confirmed there is evidence DeGhelder was forcibly taken from her home and said she may have been murdered there.

Investigators found her cell phone and extracted data from it last week.  People searched for her over the weekend, passing out flyers and urging anyone with information to come forward.

"Our work is not done. it's obvious the suspect tried to clean up and cover up the crime scene - but it didn't work," said Columbia County Maj. Sharif Chochol.

Major Chochol said investigators have pictures, surveillance video, and forensic evidence - like DNA. The next step is combing through that evidence - but they told FOX 54 they feel good about the direction they're headed in.

"They're gonna solve this case. I have every confidence in the world they're gonna solve this case," said Sheriff Whittle.

Her friends say there is a candlelight vigil planned Thursday. Her family members, who are from Missouri, are expected to attend.

Maj. Chochol said both the sheriff's office and her family were hoping for a different outcome.

"They were pretty distraught, they were hoping for a more positive outcome - we were all hoping to find Ms. DeGhelder alive but that doesn't appear to be the case this time. They're like any family would be. They're devastated by the loss of their loved one and they're hoping we can find out who's responsible," he said.

The FBI, GBI, Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Burke County Sheriff's Office, other non-law enforcement groups and the community helped with this case.

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