Magnet fisher reels in rifle, cell phone linked to 2015 double murder, Georgia cops say

A magnet fishing trip dredged up new evidence linked to the 2015 killings of an Atlanta-area couple, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

On April 14, someone uncovered a .22-caliber rifle while magnet fishing on Horse Creek in McRae-Helena, about an 80-mile drive southeast of Macon, investigators said in an April 22 news release.

Another trip to the creek on April 16 led to the discovery of a cell phone, as well as a bag with driver’s licenses and credit cards that belonged to Elrey “Bud” Runion, 69, and his wife June Runion, 66, according to the GBI.

The discoveries come nine years after the Cobb County couple traveled nearly 200 miles to Telfair County to purchase a 1966 Ford Mustang advertised on Craigslist, The Telegraph previously reported.

It turned out to be a ruse, investigators said, and the retirees were shot dead in a robbery, according to the outlet. Their accused killer, Ronnie Jay Towns, was arrested days later.

Authorities found additional evidence during a search of a home on Webb Cemetery Road on April 17, followed by a second search on April 19, investigators said. Authorities didn’t say how the home is connected to the case, however.

The evidence will be taken to the GBI crime lab for analysis, investigators said.

Towns was indicted on charges of murder and armed robbery in the couple’s killing, WMAZ reported. Investigators said his trial is set to begin in August 2024.

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