0

GBI seek men seen leaving scene of murder, arson

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

One day after a 68-year-old Jonesboro murder victim was buried, investigators released sketches of two men wanted for questioning in her death.

The Jonesboro Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the witness-based sketches, Wednesday, and asked for help identifying the two men seen leaving Geneva Strickland's home, before it was found in flames and she was found murdered.

The two were reportedly seen together, leaving 614 Fayetteville Road, a little before the Oct. 31 fire was reported at 11 p.m.

One of the men was described as a white male, with a muscular build, between ages of 20 and 25.

He was estimated to be about five-feet, five-inches tall, with shoulder-length blond, or light-colored hair. He was wearing a black jacket and dark brown pants on Halloween night.

The second man, seen that night, was described as a black male, between the ages of 25 and 30. He is believed to be a thin man, between five-feet-seven and five-feet-eight inches tall.

The men are wanted for questioning, GBI Spokesman John Bankhead said.

"Right now, we're taking the sketches back into the neighborhood," he said, "to see if anybody recognizes them or knows them."

Strickland, a widow who lived alone, was found inside the home, early on Nov. 1, when fire fighters extinguished the blaze which destroyed her house.

The firefighters were immediately convinced the woman was murdered and the fire was intentionally set. The local police immediately requested the state agency's assistance, after seeing the woman's body.

The GBI is not releasing details of the crime scene -- including the cause of death and the location of the body -- but said it was clearly a homicide and said Strickland probably came face-to-face with her attacker or attackers, before she died.

Strickland's son, Jack William Ivey, reported that the house was robbed. His mother, he said, should be remembered as a kind, big-hearted woman.

He said it may have been her generosity and friendliness that put her in harm's way.

Anyone with information about the murder or arson, and anyone who knows the identity of the men seen leaving the scene, is asked to call the GBI tip line at (800) 597-8477. All calls are kept confidential.