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A pet duck has led North Carolina police to the dead body of a 92-year-old grandmother who has been missing since 2020.
The waterfowl ran under its owners’ trailer where the decomposing remains of Nellie Lucille Sullivan were discovered in a makeshift grave.
As a result of the grim discovery, North Carolina couple Mark Alan Barnes and Angela Lucille Wamsley – granddaughter of Nellie – were charged with her death.
Mark and Angela used to live in the trailer beneath which Nellie’s remains were found, and the duck belonged to the new occupants.
Sgt. Mark Walker of Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office explained: “Apparently, the duck ran underneath the trailer at 11 Beady Eyed Lane and as they were chasing after their pet duck, they ran across the container that Nellie Sullivan was located in,” according to Oxygen.
Mark, who described the search for Nellie as ‘a wild goose chase’, added: “If I could give that duck a medal, I would.”
On 21 April, Angie Tullis, captain of the Criminal Investigation Division at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement: “Since the beginning of this investigation, we have sought to locate Ms. Sullivan’s remains, afford her the respect she deserved and restore dignity to the life she once lived.”
Although Nellie’s identity was confirmed by a subsequent autopsy, her cause of death has yet to be released.
Back in December 2020, Mark and Angela were arrested on charges relating to Nellie’s death, with North Carolina investigators accusing Mark of burying Angela’s grandmother in a ‘shallow grave’.
Nothing turned up during local searches and Nellie’s neighbours insisted she went missing years prior.
According to Oxygen, one of Nellie’s neighbours, Belinda Moody, described Nellie as a ‘sweet little old lady’ in 2020, adding: “It bothers me really bad. I want to know what happened to her.”
Mark and Angela are currently being held at a detention facility in Buncombe County and their bonds are set at $168,000 and $32,000 respectively.
No strangers to tangles with the cops, the couple faced charges including animal cruelty, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a synthetic cannabinoid to name just a few at the time of Nellie’s disappearance.
As of March, four counts of fraud and forgery, felony conspiracy possession, felony conspiracy transport and multiple heroin drug trafficking charges were added to that list.
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