Although forensic confirmation from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still pending, Glynn County Police are confident the human remains found Tuesday in western Glynn County are those of slain widow Linda Mansfield, county Police Sgt. Brian Scott said Wednesday.
Mansfield’s son, John William Rosevelt, was indicted in June for his mother’s murder by a grand jury. Despite the fact that the 72-year-old Mansfield remained missing, evidence presented by county police investigator Jeff Williams convinced the grand jury Rosevelt had allegedly struck his mother, and attempted to clean up “blood and other bodily fluids” from the home before “disposing of the body,” according to the indictment.
Rosevelt, 50, has been in jail on charges of stealing from his mother since May 23, the day police officially reported her missing. Rosevelt was living with his mother at her 103 MacKay Drive home, and Mansfield reported to a state Adult Protective Services worker that she suspected he was stealing from her, police reports show.
A massive hunt for Mansfield in the weeks after her disappearance turned up nothing. The search involved dozens of public safety workers, volunteers, cadaver-sniffing dogs and aerial observation.
Police were called at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to a wooded area off of Ga. Highway 32 near Thalmann to a report of possible human remains found, Scott said. A member of a nearby hunting club came across the remains in the woods, at least 100 yards off the highway, Scott said.
Evidence at the scene convinced police that the body is that of Mansfield, Scott said. Police made the announcement late Tuesday night, after detectives had combed the scene for hours.
“The person who found the remains realized they might be human, and not animal, and called police,” Scott said. “They called police and investigators were able to determine the remains were indeed human. With evidence that was found at the scene, investigators then were able to tentatively identify the remains as Mrs. Mansfield. Official identification will come from the (GBI) crime lab, but there’s evidence that identifies those remains as being Mrs. Mansfield’s.”
Mansfield was last seen alive sometime during the week of May 15. An Adult Protective Services worker arrived at the home to check on her May 22, but was met instead by Rosevelt. He allegedly told the worker that Mansfield went to Savannah with a woman named “Glenda,” police said.
Mansfield’s cellphone, pets and car were still at the home when police arrived the next day. Police arrested Rosevelt on charges of theft, alleging he wrote Mansfield’s personal checks out for cash to himself and stole her 2012 Honda Civic.
Police presented murder charges against Rosevelt to the grand jury a month later. While police were confident that sufficient evidence existed at the time to proceed to trial, recovering Mansfield’s body can only strengthen the case against Rosevelt, Scott said.
“The case they initially had was a strong case,” Scott said. “But, obviously, any time you charge somebody with murder, to have a body is helpful.”