Two Aiken teenagers found dead on Thanksgiving morning had been led into a wooded area in downtown Augusta by at least two men and shot -- "execution style" -- in the backs of their heads.
At a news conference Monday, Richmond County Sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles released more disturbing details in the deaths of Angela Brooks, 19, of Warrenville, and Nancy Cushman, 17, of Beech Island. The teens' bodies were found by a passerby near a wooded path at the corner of Twiggs Street and Laney-Walker Boulevard early Thursday.
Initially listed as a person of interest in the case, Peebles said Travis Lorenzo Berrian, 26, is a suspect in the killings. Authorities are also searching for a second man who appears in surveillance video released by investigators.
"At some point after being led there (the victims) were placed side-by-side and shot execution style at that location," Peebles said.
"They were at least kneeling, possibly lying on the ground."
Investigators worked through the weekend and into Monday on the girls' case, and on the unrelated slaying of Samuel Carroll Jr. on Sunday night. The three deaths brought this year's homicide total to 38, the highest since 1993, according to Augusta Chronicle records. That year, there were 42 homicides.
A man wanted for Carroll's killing -- 23-year-old Desmond Marquette Anthony -- turned himself in to deputies Monday afternoon and was charged with murder.
During Monday's press conference about the Thanksgiving Day killings, Peebles said one of the girls, Cushman, had a recent "on-again, off-again" relationship with Berrian and that the girls had gone to visit him the night of the shootings
"They had had some significant issues leading up to Thanksgiving morning that I cannot get into," Peebles said.
"We have speculation, right now, and we have ideas on motives. We have many theories floating at this point."
A video released at the press conference shows two men -- one of them identified as Berrian -- exiting the back doors of Cushman's 1999 Cadillac Escalade at the Smart Grocery at 3221 Wrightsboro Road at 12:20 a.m.
Peebles said officers do not know who was driving the SUV and could not say for sure whether the victims were in the vehicle.
Cushman's SUV was found abandoned at Second and Telfair streets shortly after the bodies were found. Investigators think the Escalade was driven from the crime scene to where it was abandoned.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the killings. Anyone with information can contact the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080 and can remain anonymous.