Charles Stephen Parker

 

Body of missing Monroe man found
By JOE JOHNSONupdated Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 11:27am
SANDY CROSS — Authorities on Monday found the body of a 25-year-old Monroe man who had been missing for more than a month.
Although authorities couldn’t immediate tell what killed Charles Stephen Parker, investigators are treating his death as a probable homicide, according to Jim Fullington, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Athens office.
“This is a suspicious death, and we’re looking at the probability of foul play,” Fullington said.
Parker’s body was at the bottom of a well on abandoned property in Oglethorpe County’s Sandy Cross community.
Richard Benton, who watches the property off Sandy Cross Road for the owner, thought he found a body Friday night, when he smelled decomposing flesh.
“I thought it might be a dead animal, but I went to Vietnam, and I know what a dead body smells like,” Benton said.
The man returned with a nephew Monday morning and peered into the well with a flashlight and binoculars, and saw a leg with a boot on, then notified the Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities confirmed it was a human body in the well late Monday afternoon, and members of the Athens-Clarke County fire-rescue unit helped to retrieve it.
While Fullington would not say what evidence investigators recovered at the scene, Benton said an investigator asked him if he had cut himself while on the property.
“Apparently, they found blood there,” he said.
Parker’s body was found only a few miles from Oglethorpe County’s Smithonia community, where authorities tracked his cellphone after he was reported missing.
Parker, an assistant manager of a Bank of America branch in Athens, attended church on Jan. 15 in Lithonia, the last time family members saw him alive.
He reportedly was last seen by an Athens man, a prospective business partner who told authorities he and Parker went to Madison County to look at investment property.
The man told authorities that Parker dropped him off at his home in Clarke County between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Jan. 15.
Authorities later found Parker’s car, wallet and a gym bag containing his clothes, in various locations around where the car was parked on Hoyt Street near College Avenue, authorities said.
Authorities tracked Parker’s cellphone to Oglethorpe County before losing the signal, Oglethorpe County Sheriff Mike Smith said.
Still, Parker’s family never lost hope and offered a $10,000 reward to help find him, but authorities Monday night had to break the news to Kenisha Parker that her husband was dead.
Authorities asked anyone with information regarding this investigation to call the GBI’s Athens regional office at (706) 552-2309.
• Follow Criminal Justice reporter Joe Johnson at www.twitter.com/JoeJohnsonABH or www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Johnson_ABH/274375442580346?ref=tn_tnmn

http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-02-20/body-missing-monroe-man-found


GBI: Monroe man shot before body dumped in Oglethorpe well
By JOE JOHNSONupdated Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 12:10am
Someone shot a Monroe man then dumped his body into a well on vacant property in Oglethorpe County’s Sandy Cross community, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation official.
An autopsy that was completed Wednesday also determined that 25-year-old Charles Stephen Parker may have been in the well since the day he went missing more than a month ago, said Jim Fullington, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Athens regional office.
“The condition of the body was consistent with the amount of time he’d been missing,” Fullington said.
Parker was last seen alive Jan. 15. His wife reported him missing the next day, and some men found his body in the well off Sandy Cross Road on Monday morning.
Parker had been shot more than once, according to Fullington, who would not say whether the shooting happened on the property where Parker’s body was found, if there are any suspects, or anything else about the case.
“At this point, it’s a homicide investigation and we don’t want to discuss anything that could mess up the integrity of the investigation,” the GBI agent said.
Fullington on Tuesday said that investigators thoroughly searched the property where Parker’s body was found and were tracking new leads in the case.
Parker, who lived in Monroe with his wife, was an assistant manager at a Bank of America branch in Athens and also a Sunday school teacher.
GBI agents, Monroe police and other law enforcement officials had suspected foul play in Parker’s disappearance almost from the beginning.
Family members last saw Parker leaving Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle Church in Lithonia early the afternoon of Jan. 15. He was supposed to drive to Athens and pick up a prospective business partner to look at investment property in Madison County, authorities said.
The Athens man told investigators that Parker dropped him off at his home between 4 and 4:30 p.m. that day, but authorities only have the man’s word and no one to corroborate his story.
That night, someone found Parker’s wallet in Athens, and the next afternoon a different person found a gym bag with Parker’s clothes not far from where the wallet was found, authorities said.
On Jan. 16, authorities tracked Parker’s cellphone to the Smithonia community in Oglethorpe County, but they couldn’t locate the phone.
An Athens-Clarke police officer found Parker’s black 2010 Chrysler 300 early the morning of Jan. 18, parked on Hoyt Street near College Avenue and in the same general area as Parker’s other belongings.
As days and weeks passed, Parker’s family held out hope he was still alive and offered a $10,000 reward for information.
But Friday evening, Oglethorpe County resident Richard Benton smelled a foul odor while walking on an unused piece of property in the Sandy Cross community. He and a couple of other men returned to the site with a flashlight and binoculars Monday and saw a leg with a boot on it at the bottom of the well.
Members of the Athens-Clarke fire-rescue unit removed the body. Based on a tattoo, authorities tentatively identified it as Parker’s body.
Benton remained at the scene to answer questions, he said, and he believes investigators found blood evidence near the well because a deputy asked him if he had cut himself while there.
Authorities asked anyone with information regarding this investigation to call the GBI’s Athens regional office at (706) 552-2309.
• Follow Criminal Justice reporter Joe Johnson at www.twitter.com/JoeJohnsonABH or www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Johnson_ABH/274375442580346?ref=tn_tnmn

http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-02-22/gbi-monroe-man-shot-body-dumped-oglethorpe-well

 

David Lohr Become a fan
david.lohr@huffingtonpost.com
Email
Charles Stephen Parker Murder: Who Killed The 25-Year-Old Bank Manager?
Posted: 09/07/2012 5:11 pm EDT Updated: 09/07/2012 5:41 pm EDT CHARLESSTEVENPARKER

For the past eight months, a murder mystery has played out in north central Georgia.

The victim, 25-year-old bank manager and budding entrepreneur Charles Stephen Parker, had no known enemies, according to his family. But in January, after leaving a church service and driving to look at some land where he hoped to set up a new business, he disappeared. His body was found in an abandoned well by a caretaker about a month later. There have been no arrests, but Parker's family is hopeful someone can help root out his killer.

"People's lives have been changed as a result of this horrific situation," Parker's brother, Patrick, told The Huffington Post. "It's been extremely difficult for us -- for the family and my brother's widow. We just want to know who is responsible and why."


Charles Parker lived in Monroe, a city of about 3,000 families situated in the county seat of Walton County, Ga. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Parker was married and worked as an assistant manager at a Bank of America branch in nearby Athens.

But according to his brother, Parker was business minded and anxious to set out on his own. He had dozens of ideas -- a chain of barbershops, recording music, operating a bustling poultry farm -- and the latter of those ideas was well on its way to becoming a full-fledged enterprise when Parker met his untimely fate.

RELATED: CHARLES PARKER PHOTOS

In October 2011, one of Parker's bank customers hit a $20 million Powerball jackpot. The woman knew of Parker's poultry farm idea and decided to invest $475,000 in Parker Poultry Farms. Four others joined her, bringing the total investment to a half-million dollars, and Parker planned to use the funds to secure a $3.2 million loan, his brother said. Things were looking up for him.

On Jan. 15, he delivered Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the Anointed Word Evangelistic Tabernacle Church in Lithonia. The speech was a success, according to those present, but unbeknownst to Parker it would be his last. Afterward, Parker said goodbye to his friends at church and set off to inspect some property in Madison County for his new business. En route, Parker picked up Victor Blockum, a man he had named the business' chief financial officer.

What happened next remains a mystery.

"Charles never returned from scouting out the property," Patrick Parker said. "Nobody could find him, so his wife reported him missing early the next morning."

Blockum told deputies from the Oglethorpe County Sheriff's Office who questioned him that he was with Charles Parker on Jan. 15, but said he had not seen him since he was dropped off at his Athens home between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

While Oglethorpe authorities tried to piece together Parker's last movements, they learned his wallet had been recovered the night he disappeared in an area north of downtown Athens. The next day, his gym bag was found in the same area by another person. Two days later an Athens-Clarke police officer made yet another discovery: Parker's black 2010 Chrysler 300 abandoned on College Avenue at Hoyt Street. Athens is about 35 miles from Monroe.

"I am trying to be hopeful – that is all I can do," Parker's wife, Kenisha, told CBS Atlanta at the time. "They have found everything but him. He is the missing piece and all we want is for him to come home."

In an attempt to locate Parker's cell phone, police pinged the phone and triangulated its location to Oglethorpe County's Smithonia community, on the outskirts on Athens. However, despite several searches investigators were unable to locate the device.

On Feb. 7, 23 days after Parker vanished -- investors in his poultry farm filed a lawsuit asking a Walton County judge to order the return of their money. According to the court documents, Blockum had attempted to withdraw the funds from the escrow account where the money was held, just two days after Parker disappeared.

The day after the suit was filed, Blockum's attorney, James Smith, filed a response claiming there was no dubious intent behind his client's actions. "When it was learned that Parker was reported missing, [Blockum] attempted to withdraw funds from the Bank of America for the purpose of restoring money to the plaintiffs," Smith wrote.

Smith did not return a call for comment from The Huffington Post. A phone number HuffPost found for Blockum has been disconnected.

On Feb. 20, the caretaker of a vacant property in Oglethorpe County smelled a foul odor coming from an old well. "I thought it might be a dead animal, but I went to Vietnam, and I know what a dead body smells like," the caretaker, Richard Benton, told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Benton and his nephew peered into the well with a flashlight and binoculars, and were horrified by what they saw.

"We shined a light down in there and you could see a boot that looked like it had a pair of jeans pulled up over the boot," Hoyt Bryant told Fox 5 News.

The men immediately contacted the Oglethorpe sheriff's office.

The remains pulled from the well were ultimately identified as Parker's. Authorities said he had been shot more than once, but will not say how many times. An autopsy indicated Parker was likely dumped in the well the same day he was last seen alive.

"The condition of the body was consistent with the amount of time he'd been missing," Jim Fullington, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Athens regional office, told the Augusta Chronicle.

A week after Parker's body was found, the Athens Banner-Herald ran a story highlighting Blockum's past legal problems. According to the newspaper, Blockum was convicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of tools for the commission of a crime; it also reported arrests for aggravated assault and falsifying identification numbers of stolen vehicles.

Authorities have not commented on Blockum's alleged criminal history, and have not named him a suspect or person of interest in Parker's homicide.

"Our policy is we don't discuss suspects or persons of interest. Everybody's definition of "suspect" is all relative to them and it's all different," Fullington told HuffPost.

He declined to comment on how close authorities are to cracking the case, but did say the investigation is active. "We've done follow-up interviews as recent as this past week on it. We are continuing to follow tips, leads and other information on it," the veteran detective said.

Related Resources:
Black And Missing Foundation
HuffPost Crime Missing Persons
The Black And Missing Foundation Aims To Find People Of Color
Patrick Parker, who is a local minister and founder of the non-profit Mentors Inc., an organization that helps young people reach their dreams, is hopeful police will soon bring the person or persons responsible for his brother's death to justice.

"Charles was a great guy. He was young, happy, business minded and trusting," Parker said. "He did not deserve to die this way. We would like to positively find out who is responsible for his murder. We've been waiting seven months for that answer and we continue to wait to get some closure."

Natalie Wilson, co-founder and director of public relations for the Black and Missing Foundation, has helped raise awareness about the case since Parker first disappeared. Wilson hopes that whoever holds the key to solving the case will help the Parker family, she said.

"It is our sincere hope that someone comes forward with information that could provide the Parker family with much needed closure," Wilson told HuffPost. "If you are uncomfortable reporting a tip to law enforcement, you can report it anonymously at www.bamfi.org."

Anyone with information that could help with the investigation can also call GBI's Athens office at 706-552-2309. Parker's family also maintains a Facebook page devoted to the case at Facebook.com/Justice4CharlesParker.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

_________________________________________________--

Financial woes linked to man found dead in Ga. well
By Joe Johnson
Morris News Service
Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 7:23 AM
Last updated 7:25 AM
Comment
Share on email
Share on print
More Sharing Services
Share on twitter

Follow Crime & courts
ATHENS, Ga. -- A man found murdered in Oglethorpe County this week was losing the patience of a group of investors who expected him to use their money to start a poultry business, according to a lawsuit filed in Walton County Superior Court shortly after he went missing.
Parker Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Parker

The investors wanted their money back after they learned Charles Stephen Parker had spent some of the $500,000 he was supposed to have kept in an escrow account until he could secure a loan for a proposed poultry business, according to the lawsuit filed Feb. 7.
The investors — five people from Lithonia — also wanted to terminate a verbal agreement with Parker for the business venture because a month had passed, and he hadn’t obtained the $3.2 million loan he promised, according to the lawsuit.
The bulk of the money, or $475,000, was put up by a woman who began banking with Parker when he was with Georgia United Credit Union in Decatur, according to the lawsuit.
She and fellow investors tried to get their money back in December, but were unable to contact him, according to the lawsuit.
One month later, on Jan. 16, Parker’s wife reported him missing after he didn’t return home from a trip to Madison County, where Parker and a business partner from Athens went to inspect property for the poultry business, authorities said.
The same night Parker went missing, someone found his wallet in Athens, and the next afternoon a different person found a gym bag with Parker’s clothes, authorities said. Two days later, an Athens police officer found Parker’s car in the same general area where his other belongings were located.
Authorities also tracked Parker’s cellphone to the Smithonia community in Oglethorpe County, but they couldn’t locate the phone. Some men found Parker’s body Monday in a well in Oglethorpe County’s Sandy Cross community. An autopsy determined that he’d been shot more than once not long after he went missing and dumped in the well, authorities said.
The lawsuit was filed 23 days after Parker went missing, and 14 days before his body was found.
The complaint asks a Walton County judge to order Bank of America to return investors’ money and claims that the Athens business partner — Victor Blockum, who is listed as chief financial officer of Parker Poultry Farms — tried to withdraw the investors’ money two days after Parker disappeared.
Parker had introduced Blockum to the investors as “a person with expertise in poultry farm management,” according to the lawsuit, but “failed to disclose that (Blockum) would be added as a signatory to the account in which (the investors’) funds were held.”
In a response to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Walton County Superior Court, Blockum’s attorney says his client tried to withdraw money from the bank so he could return it to the investors.
“When it was learned that Parker was reported missing, (Blockum) attempted to withdraw funds from the Bank of America for the purpose of restoring money to the plaintiffs,” Blockum’s attorney wrote.
The attorney, James Smith of Athens, also claims that on Feb. 6 — one day before the investors filed suit — Blockum repaid them with a check made out for $489,603.
“A check was placed in the hands of the plaintiff for all of the money in the Bank of America account,” the attorney states in the response to the lawsuit.
The bank did not honor the check, according to court filings, which didn’t explain why.
Blockum reportedly was the last person to see Parker alive the afternoon of Jan. 15 when, he told authorities, Parker dropped him off after inspecting property in Madison County.
Authorities have spoken with Blockum and several other witnesses in connection with Parker’s disappearance, according an official with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The official would not say if investigators are focusing on the planned poultry business venture as a possible motive for Parker’s slaying.
“We are looking at any and all possibilities, and any and all leads,” said Jim Fullington, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Athens regional office.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2012-02-24/financial-woes-linked-man-found-dead-ga-well

Parker's death ruled a homicide

Memorial service planned Saturday

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 5:54 pm | Updated: 1:41 pm, Fri Feb 24, 2012.
By Robbie Schwartz

An autopsy Wednesday on the body of Charles Steven Parker concluded the preliminary cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not released an exact time of death but according to a press release issued Wednesday the “condition of the body upon autopsy was found to be consistent with the time in which Charles Parker was reported missing.”
http://www.waltontribune.com/news/article_833494f6-5da9-11e1-b062-0019bb2963f4.html

 

MONROE | Autopsy shows man found in well died of gunshot wounds
8:05 PM, Feb 22, 2012 |

ATHENS, Ga. (WXIA) -- A Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy showed the man whose remains were found in an Oglethorpe County well was killed by gunshot wounds.

Authorities said they were unable to determine the exact time of death as of this point. The condition of the body was, according to medical examiners, consistent with the timeframe that assistant bank manager Charles S. Parker, 25, of Monroe, was reported missing. He was reported missing Jan. 16.

GBI investigators said they were able to tentatively identify Parker's body through a tattoo.

The body was found in a well on an abandoned property in the Sandy Cross Community shortly after noon Monday.

Parker was last seen by his family at church on Jan. 15, 2012. That afternoon Parker dropped off a business partner in Athens. In the next two days, his wallet, duffel bag and car were found in varioius locations nearby.

GBI spokesperson John Bankhead said a man who managed the property where the well was discovered the body. He said, "He had detected an odor coming from the well and he looked down in the well, saw what he thought was a boot and contacted the sheriff's office."

Bankhead said an autopsy would be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur on Tuesday to determine a cause of death and a positive identification. "Based on a tattoo they found on the body they made a tentative ID as Mr. Parker," Bankhead said.

Parker's body was found about five miles from where a search was conducted days after he disappeared. That's where investigators tracked his cell phone.

Parker's family never gave up hope that he would be found. Armed with fliers and hope, family and friends searched for clues in the disappearance of the 25-year-old Sunday School teacher.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation called the disappearance of Charles Parker "suspicious."

"This is totally out of Charles' character for this to even be happening," Patrick Parker said of his brother. "Someone always knows where Charles is. I talk to him two or three times a day."

Family members said Parker was at church Sunday (Jan. 15, 2012) morning where he performed his rendition of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. He left his hometown of Monroe for a business meeting in Athens.

The GBI's Jim Fullington said Parker met with a man to discuss the possibility of purchasing land in Madison County for chickens. Fullington says the meeting between the two men ended at about 4:30 Sunday afternoon.

According to Fullington, someone in Athens found Charles Parker's wallet on Sunday evening. The next day, someone else found Parker's duffle bag in the same general area of town. Early Wednesday morning, authorities found the missing man's car parked on Hoyt Street near downtown Athens, not far from where his other belongings were spotted.

"We're all just saddened," said Parker's aunt Cynthia Parker. "We know Charles is a good person. He's the comedian of the family. We can't believe what's going on."

Friends said in addition to working at Bank of America, Parker taught 7th and 8th grade Sunday School and sang in the church choir.

"A person who only does good," said fellow church member Gary Cole. "He is a person who only tries to help and encourage. He doesn't deserve this."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the GBI's Athens bureau at 706-552-2309.

http://www.11alive.com/news/article/223234/40/MONROE--Family-searches-and-prays-for-missing-25-year-old