A Georgia mother of two who disappeared after leaving a Fourth of July party was found dead in her car, which was recently discovered in a well-traveled area.
Natalie Jones, 27, of Corinth, had driven to Jackson’s Gap, Alabama (about an hour from her home), to celebrate July 4 with friends.
Jones, who has two sons, 11 and 8, left the party at about 10:30 p.m., sending a text to a friend who was at the party saying, “I made it. Thanks,” Heard County Sheriff's Office Lt. Danny Boswell said at the time.
Authorities launched a massive search for Jones and the bright pink car she was driving.
On Tuesday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced on Twitter that Jones’ 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier had been found in Heard County.
The car was found in Franklin, Georgia, in the woods off of Roosterville Road, The LaGrange Daily Record reports.
Authorities found a body inside the car, which has not yet been identified, pending an autopsy, the GBI said in the tweet.
But Jones’ family confirmed to local media that the body police found is her daughter’s, outlets including Fox 5 Atlanta, 11 Alive and The LaGrange Daily News report.
“She did not deserve this because she was a good girl,” Jones’ mother, Elaine Gordon, said, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.
Jones learned about the discovery on Tuesday afternoon, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.
When Jones vanished and her phone last pinged in Heard County, officials – and family members – scoured the area looking for Jones and her conspicuously-colored car, but they came up empty.
Local residents told Fox 5 Atlanta that the area where her car was found is well-traveled and that it wasn’t there on Monday.
Although Jones had texted her friend that she’d “made it,” Heard County Sheriff's Office Lt. Danny Boswell pointed out that “she didn’t say where she made it [to]. She just said, ‘I made it. Thanks.’ There were no further communications after that other than her receiving texts.”
Her phone last pinged on a cell tower at 5:15 a.m. on July 5 in Heard County – “in the opposite end of the county from her home,” he said.
On the night Jones vanished, she’d also been communicating with someone on social media and on apps, Boswell told the Times-Herald.
Authorities are trying to access records of those communications, he told the outlet.
Jones has been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic and was not on her medications when she vanished, the sheriff's office said, WSB-TV, Fox5 Atlanta and the Times-Herald report.
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As authorities investigate whether Jones met with foul play, her family is left to grapple with her mysterious death.
“I would like to thank everybody that has been praying for my daughter,” Gordon said, The LaGrange Daily News reports.
“She was a beautiful girl. She had a smile that could light up the world.”
If her daughter was, in fact, murdered, she said, “God, please get the people so they can serve their justice. My baby can’t walk this earth again.”
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