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Father and son claim they unknowingly picked up hitchhiker wanted for murder
Featured Image Credit: Hall County Sheriff's Office / 11 Alive

Father and son claim they unknowingly picked up hitchhiker wanted for murder

He claims he didn't catch light of the massive manhunt before picking up the stranger

One father and son duo claim they unknowingly picked up hitchhiker who was wanted for murder.

The man was simply driving down the road when he happened upon a hitchhiker in need of a ride in the midst of a heated manhunt.

Allegedly unaware of the situation at bay, Russell Jimmerson picked up the stranger and has since opened up about the whole situation.

Russell Jimmerson claims he wasn't aware of the manhunt for murder when he picked up the hitchhiker.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has since released an official statement on the matter.

It stated that last Sunday (6 August), the GBI was requested by the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office to assist them in a murder investigation.

"The Rabun County Sheriff’s Office received information that a man killed a person and disposed of the body in Rabun County, Georgia," the statement explains.

It continues: "Based on the information received, agents and deputies found the body of the victim on Monday, August 7, 2023, in the Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest."

It was just two days later on Tuesday (8 August), that officials announced the identities of who they were looking for.

"Keegan Cleve Phillips, age 23, of Otto, North Carolina, has been charged with murder. Robert Lee Peppers, age 62, of Lula, Georgia has been charged with concealing a death and unlawful disposal of a body," the GBI statement continues.

Keegan Phillips was arrested and charged with murder.
Rabun County Sheriff's Office

However, when all of this was going on, it seems Jimmerson didn't catch light about the suspected criminals on the loose and picked up a hitchhiker on the side of the road that very same day.

Speaking to WXIA, Jimmerson recalled: "He just stuck his hand out, just very quickly. I told my son, 'Let's get him.' I help everybody.

"He'd been up all night, walking from Rabun County."

The hitchhiker, who was traveling with a backpack, appeared to have an 'indescribable smell' emanating from him before dropping him off.

Jimmerson then claimed he later found out the hitchhiker was at the very centre of a huge manhunt in a murder case.

His friend allegedly told him at the time: "You won't believe what happened.

"A guy in Rabun County murdered someone last night and has their head. And I said, 'Man, you won't believe what I'm fixing to tell you. There's a smell in this car that's awful.'"

Robert Lee Peppers was charged with Concealing the Death of Another and Abandonment of a Dead Body.
Rabun County Sheriff's Office

Jimmerson went on: "My buddy said, 'Is this a joke? Did you pick up the hitchhiker?' I said, 'No, I really did'."

During the investigation, Rabun County Sheriff’s Office announced: "[They] received reports that a female named Martha Angela Ledford was missing.

"Investigators began looking for the whereabouts of Angela Ledford and determined she was last seen the week prior."

The sheriff's office added: "Investigators and agents have been in contact with Ledford’s family and we are currently waiting for the remains to be positively identified by the GBI Crime Lab."

At this point, police have not yet officially revealed details about the state of the 'remains', including whether there was a severed head as Jimmerson's friend had claimed when informing him of the manhunt.

Additionally, officials have not confirmed if the hitchhiker Jimmerson picked up was actually Phillips or not.

Both Phillips and Peppers are being held in the Rabun County Detention Center with no bond.

Topics: US News, Crime