By Ed Brock
Clayton County Police arrested a man they say was driving a car that was stolen from a Forest Park woman who was found dead in her home over the weekend. Investigators stepped up their probe to determine who killed the woman and if the arrested man would be charged in connection with the death.
Meanwhile, the family and friends of 48-year-old Ramatoulie Demba, whose body was found in her Forest Park home on Sunday, gathered for her funeral on Tuesday evening.
Franklin Hudson Jr., 33, was charged with theft by receiving after his arrest around 10:15 p.m. Monday at the Chamblee Inn on Old Dixie Highway, Clayton County Police Capt. Tim Robinson said. Robinson said investigators identified Hudson as the man driving a 2000 silver Mazda 626 belonging to Demba.
Two detectives on the case stopped by the motel Monday evening to remind two off-duty officers working there to keep an eye out for the car. One of the officers told the detectives that the car had come to the motel, which is just about two miles from Demba's home on Boca Grande Boulevard, about an hour earlier.
Police detained and questioned five people in a room at the motel, including Hudson, and then released the other four people.
Hudson told police that he got the car from somebody else.
Robinson said Hudson was not a registered guest at the motel and is considered to be homeless. Hudson will make his first appearance in Clayton County Magistrate Court today at 1:30 p.m.
The investigation is continuing, Robinson said, and police are questioning Hudson regarding the person who supposedly gave the car to him. Tuesday afternoon investigators were going over the car in the evidence bay at Clayton County Police Department headquarters in Jonesboro.
They found a purse in the trunk of the car that had no credit cards in it, but they could not confirm if the purse belonged to Demba or if it had contained credit cards.
A friend of Demba, Nakiesha Laville of Riverdale, went to Demba's house on Sunday to return some borrowed luggage and found the body.
Demba lived alone.
Officers on the scene reported a jewelry box was open on Demba's bed, items appeared to have been moved on a dresser and a chest of drawers had been moved away from the wall and its drawers were open.
Because of the decomposition of the body, police suspect she had died long before her body was found, Robinson said. On Tuesday they were still not releasing the cause of death.
Friend and former co-worker at Alamo-International Car Rental Juanita Fatty said she and her husband had attempted to reach her at home twice on Saturday evening.
Demba, a native of Gambia, West Africa, did not seem to be acting strangely prior to her death and even planned to have her mother visit soon.
After a funeral service at a mosque in Atlanta, Demba's family and other members of the Gambian community buried her in a Muslim cemetery in Lovejoy.
"It's been very tough on the Gambian community because this has never happened before," said Daoud Bojang, 42, an imam or spiritual leader at the Center for Islamic Counseling and Guidance in Jonesboro and also a native Gambian.
Bojang said that he and Demba's fellow Muslims have been comforted by the fact that in their faith Demba's death, coming as it did while she tried to defend her home and property, is an honorable death. On the day her body was found several members of the Gambian community gathered at the center to say a prayer for Demba, Bojang said.
Demba's brother Momodou Demba said he didn't want to make a comment on Tuesday because he had to deal with his sister's funeral arrangements.