GBI investigators say they are close to solving murder of women found under bridge

ROME, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation believes it is getting closer to solving the brutal killings of two young women.

Vanita Richardson, 18, and Clarice Truvenia Campbell, 30, were found thrown off a bridge in Rome last week. They both had bags over their heads.

Police arrested two men in connection with their deaths but on less serious charges. On Friday, the assistant special agent in charge of the investigation told Channel 2 anchor Justin Wilfon that those men are considered suspects in the homicides.

Richardson would have been graduating from Armuchee High School in Floyd County on Saturday. Instead, she’ll be remembered as a young woman that her friends and family still can’t believe is gone.

“Vanita was a good kid,” principal John Rhodarmer said. “I think that our students, first of all, they obviously felt this. Vanita was well loved by her peers and her classmates. We’re doing a 30-second moment of silence for her in our program tomorrow.”


Desmond Brown, 28, and Devin Watts, 36, have been arrested and charged with the women’s deaths. They are considered suspects in the homicides.

“I think we’re starting to paint a pretty good picture of what happened to those two victims,” GBI assistant special agent in charge Brian Johnston told Wilfon. “We can say that they were brutally murdered, and we definitely want to hold those responsible for that accountable.”

The GBI said there are key pieces of evidence they’re still waiting on to help solve this case.

“We’re actually seizing and looking at evidence directly related to these girls’ murders and so we feel pretty confident that we’re going to be able to hold all of those accountable,” Johnston said. “The activities that they participated in during the course of this investigation and prior to us becoming involved in this investigation led to the arrests.”

The GBI has collected forensic evidence in the case, but investigators are waiting on test results from the lab.

They also still want to find Richardson’s car -- a gold 1997 Toyota Corolla with Georgia plate RTJ6295. The investigation has shown that both victims were in the car during the evening hours of May 12.

Richardson’s mother, Vanita Allen, recently told Wilfon how she wants the world to remember her angel.

“Remember her for the beauty that she looked like. Remember her for that beautiful smile,” Allen said.

At this point, the GBI will not comment on a possible motive in the case.