Granddaughter charged with murder after house duck led police to body of missing woman | American News


A woman has been charged with murder after a pet duck helped US police solve the case of her missing grandmother in North Carolina, officials said.

Nellie Sullivan, who would be 93 if she were still alive, disappeared in 2020.

Since then, investigators have been searching for Ms. Sullivan without a trace.

But a breakthrough in the case came earlier this month, on April 14, when a pet duck ran under a trailer in Candler, North Carolina, leading its owners to discover a container containing grandmother’s body.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the report to Sky News affiliate NBC News.

Ms Sullivan’s granddaughter, Angela Wamsley, 46, and grandson, Mark Alan Barnes, 50, have been charged with first degree murder in her death.

Police say they do not have a definitive date when Ms Sullivan was killed, but believe she has been dead for some time.

The suspects had been under investigation in connection with his death since December 2020, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Aaron Sarver said.

They were first arrested on charges of animal cruelty and drug possession.

But in December 2021, Wamsley and Barnes had both been charged with covering up a death, the sheriff’s office said.

Marc Alan Barnes.  Photo: Buncombe County Sheriff's Office
Mark Alan Barnes faces the same charge. Photo: Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant Mark Walker of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said: “Apparently the duck ran under the trailer at 11 Beady Eyed Lane, and as they were chasing their pet duck they ran through the container in which they were found Nellie Sullivan.

“If I could give that duck a medal, I would.”

Police said they believe Ms Sullivan was killed at another location before being taken to where her remains were discovered.

Officers attended the autopsy and “made personal observations of the body and spoke with staff” and found probable cause for the first-degree murder warrants, police said.

The official cause of death will be released by the medical examiner’s office when it completes its independent investigation.

Wamsley and Barnes were collecting Ms Sullivan’s Social Security and retirement checks in her absence and refilling her prescriptions, officials said.

Their next court date is set for May 13, according to court records. It is unclear whether they entered pleas.

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