Man, missing wife found dead in Alabama

Police said Tuesday they think an Augusta man took his own life at an interstate rest stop after killing his estranged wife last weekend, placing her body in the trunk of her car, then driving to Alabama.

Sheriff's deputies in Conecuh County, south of Montgomery, said they were called to a rest stop off Interstate 65 about 8 a.m. to investigate a possible suicide. They found the body of Scottie Murphy, of Augusta, in the vehicle's front seat and the body of his wife, Jessica Murphy, in the trunk.

Ms. Murphy, 30, an employee of The Augusta Chronicle advertising department, was reported missing Saturday after she did not come to work.

"All her Chronicle co-workers will miss Jessica, who was a loyal and conscientious employee," said President Don Bailey. "She always talked about how the work at the newspaper meant so much to her. I will say her attitude and performance meant just as much to us. Our hearts go out to her family."

Local investigators said they suspect Ms. Murphy was killed Saturday after dropping by the Tubman Street apartment where she had lived with Mr. Murphy. Police are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of her death.

Richmond County sheriff's Investigator James Kelly said Mr. Murphy appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Police said they don't know why he drove to Alabama.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.