Originally created 09/09/04

Woman is found dead; boyfriend faces charge



Police arrested a man in connection with the death of his girlfriend, whose body was found at a west Augusta apartment complex Wednesday.

Scott Edward Key, 34, was charged with one count of murder in the death of Debbie Mikell, 48, law enforcement officials said.

Richmond County sheriff's investigators were notified at about 10 a.m. Wednesday by Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents about a body inside an apartment at the Colonial Village Apartments on Walton Way Extension, Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Kenneth Autry said.

At about noon, two GBI agents met with Richmond County sheriff's investigators at the complex and found Ms. Mikell's body lying inside the second-floor apartment, Maj. Autry said.

Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said Ms. Mikell had been dead for several days and was found fully clothed on the floor in a bedroom.

Ms. Mikell likely died from strangulation, although her body is being sent to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy, Mr. Bowen said.

Ms. Mikell, originally from Cross City, Fla., worked for a Florida-based company from home, he said.

Neighbors described her as a quiet woman.

"She pretty much kept to herself, just like everybody else does," said Rebecca Roberts, 23, who lives in a building next door.

By 3 p.m., Richmond County officials had arrested Mr. Key outside an Arby's restaurant on Gordon Highway, Maj. Autry said.

"He was driving her car when we caught him," Maj. Autry said, describing the vehicle as a late-model Honda Accord.

Mr. Key lived at the apartment with Ms. Mikell, Mr. Bowen said.

Maj. Autry said he suspected the woman was a domestic violence victim.

"We've had a number of homicides this year that are related to domestic violence," he said.

Mr. Key could face additional charges, Maj. Autry said. He did not rule out additional arrests.

"Although it doesn't appear anyone else is involved, we can't rule out anything," Maj. Autry said.

This is the ninth homicide in Richmond County in 2004, he said.

Reach Timothy Cox and Kate Lewis at (706) 724-0851.