Catoosa investigators, along with U.S. Forestry Department personnel, acting on a tip Sept. 13 found remains believed to be Callaway’s in the remote Cherokee Lake Reserve in Cherokee, N.C. While surveying the dense vegetation of the national park, a Catoosa deputy stumbled across what appeared to be a shallow grave, Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers said. An FBI evidence recovery team from Asheville, N.C. excavated the site and is conducting DNA tests on the recovered remains.
“I think we were meant to solve this case,” Summers said at a Monday press conference. “It was nothing short of a mira-cle that we found these remains. We’re talking about a huge national park.”
Investigators issued an arrest warrant for Callaway’s cousin, Jack Randall Webb, 43, of 4515 Bandy Road, charging him with her murder.
Webb was apprehended at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., by local law enforcement as he arrived at a job site, Summers said. He was scheduled for a Sept. 19 court appearance in Florida to determine a date and time of possible return to Catoosa authorities.
Money possible motivator
Webb, who had been living in Pensacola, Fla., apparently returned to Catoosa County this past spring and shot the woman during an altercation over money. The shooting took place at the Bandy Road address where Callaway had been staying to care for Webb’s ill father, Joe, the sheriff said.
“This was a family circumstance where an argument occurred,” Summers said. “We’re still investigating, but money is a possible motivator in this case.”
After Webb allegedly shot Callaway, he attempted to destroy the evidence by burning her body on Tennessee Valley Authority property in Tiftonia, Tenn., Summers said. As the local investigation intensified, Webb attempted to throw detectives off the trail by moving the skeletal remains in a tote bag to the North Carolina site, the sheriff said.
Federal charges likely
Because Callaway’s body was carried across state lines and was damaged in the attempts to destroy it, federal charges will likely be filed against Webb in addition to local charges, Summers said.
Callaway, 51, was last seen this past March 29. Family members did not officially report her missing until June 12, Summers said. Authorities are still searching for Calla-way’s pickup, a cream over orange late model Ford, last seen with Georgia tags “579DRA,” and believed abandoned in April in the Fort Payne, Ala., area.
“It’s ironic that it took them so long to get help,” Summers said. “We’ve been working on this investigation since June and we received information that foul play was involved.”
The sheriff is hopeful that Callaway’s friends and family who know details about the case will step forward.
“There’s actually a number of people who have information about what happened to Ms. Callaway,” he said. “We’ve got to tie up some loose ends in this case.”
Catoosa authorities have been called to the Webb residence in the past on domestic disturbance calls, including the last day Callaway was seen alive, Summers said. When officers arrived March 29, there was no one home at the
The Catoosa Sheriff’s Department, in conjunction with the Federal and Georgia Bureaus of Investigation, is con-tinuing its investigation. Anyone with information regarding the homicide of Shirley Ann Callaway is asked to contact the Catoosa Sheriff’s Department at (706) 935-2424