According to DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff Jimmy Harris, the investigation into the death of Felicia Ann Lindsey is still ongoing, but so far it appears her nephew, Max Ruben Zeller, 22, formerly of Canton, was responsible.
“Follow-up investigation has revealed evidence which indicates Max Zeller killed his aunt and attempted to clean the scene before fleeing to Georgia in her vehicle,” Harris said in
a news release Wednesday.
Harris said Zeller’s aunt was found dead in a crawl space underneath her home in DeKalb County, Ala., on Tuesday after being reported missing late Monday night.
Shortly after her disappearance, authorities in Alabama learned Lindsey’s car might be somewhere in the area of Pine Crest Road and Marietta Highway in Canton and contacted the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
A deputy found that car at a lot in the Whispering Pines mobile home park on Lakeside Drive in Canton, said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.
After some time of pounding on the door of the trailer, Baker said officers were allowed inside.
While deputies searched the trailer for the missing woman, police said a bedroom door slammed and a gunshot rang out from what later turned to be a .22-caliber pistol apparently stolen from the Alabama woman.
“Deputies opened the door and discovered (Zeller) alone in the room with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his mouth,” Baker said. Zeller was later pronounced dead at WellStar Kennestone Hospital.
Hours later, Alabama deputies found Lindsey dead underneath her home just over the Georgia-Alabama line and sent her body to a crime lab there.
“The autopsy results indicate Ms. Lindsey died from blunt force trauma to the head, and her manner of death is classified as a homicide,” Harris said.
About 100 miles from Canton in Fort Payne, Ala., Harris said the apparent murder-suicide is hitting residents hard.
“This is a terrible tragedy for everyone concerned,” he said. “The Lindsey family is well respected in our community and this is just unthinkable. To lose a daughter and a grandson in this manner is just more than you can imagine.”
Harris said some of the woman’s former schoolmates work in the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.
“They all told me what a sweet, shy girl she was,” he said. “She spent most of her life helping and taking care of others. That is what we need to remember.”