Newton County

Skeletal remains found near search area for missing metro Atlanta grandmother

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — Police confirm skeletal remains were found in Newton County, not far from where police have been searching for a missing grandmother.

Right now, it’s still unclear if the remains could be those of 64-year-old Debra Ashby.

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Neighbors told us they’re concerned.

“Definitely because it’s so close to where I live,” said neighbor Allison Moss. “Nowadays with women, being alone, it’s scary out here.”

The Newton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed with Channel 2 that the remains were found somewhere along Henderson Mill Road over the weekend.

It’s only a few miles from where police have been searching for a missing woman.

Grandmother Debra Ashby vanished in late October, but it’s still unclear if the remains belong to Ashby.


Her family did not want to talk on camera, but told us over the phone they don’t believe it’s her.

Last week Ashby’s daughter-in-law said they’re trying to hold on to hope.

“We’re hoping she’s still alive, but unfortunately as the days go by, it doesn’t look too good,” said Heather Collette, Ashby’s daughter-in-law.

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We’ve also learned the remains are now with the GBI, where a spokesperson tells us they’re awaiting autopsy.

Covington police have identified a person of interest in Ashby’s disappearance – Arnithal Freeman.

Police arrested him after Ashby’s disappearance on a stalking charge. Officials say he violated a protective order to stay away from her, after an alleged domestic violence incident earlier this year.