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New information in Johnson murder case; public’s help sought

Several developments have arisen in the Donna Johnson murder cold case investigation and the public’s help is being sought. Investigators are going back to a composite drawing, rendered in Sept. 1984, of a possible suspect seen in the area at the time. They had the GBI do an age progression of the same drawing. They are pictured side by side above with the age progression drawing in color. The age progression depicts a man who would be about 67 years old today. This man was seen on The Rock Road several times on the day Johnson’s body was found. He was seen in the area between the dumpsters where Johnson’s car was found and the bridge near where her mutilated body was discovered. He was spotted between the hours of 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on July 16, 1984. Johnson’s car with her dogs still inside was found at the dumpers about 4:30 p.m. that day. The man could have been driving a maroon car – possibly a Buick Electra 225, Cadillac or Oldsmobile Delta 88 or similar vehicle – with spoked wheels. Investigators noted there was a cattle sale at the sale barn on Hwy. 74 near Yatesville on the day Johnson was killed. Many cattlemen travel that road to the sale and the hope is one of them saw something. Additionally, investigator Shannon Williamson confirmed investigators have comparative DNA evidence. They would like to outsource DNA testing on clothing and other evidential items but the cost is prohibitive. Jimmy Johnson, who was married to Donna at the time, told Williamson of reward money that was collected after the murder which should amount to about $20,000 by now. No one is sure what happened to the money which was in an account at First National Bank. That money would pay for the DNA testing which will run about $17,000. United Bank officials are trying to determine what happened to the reward money. United Bank bought the assets of First National when it failed on Oct. 22, 2010. Some four hours after her car and dogs were found, Johnson’s body was located. She had been gagged with her own bra and panties. Her blue jeans had been cut and pulled down to thigh level. She was hogtied, sexually violated with a metal rod, run over by a vehicle and finally dispatched with three blows to the head from a roofing hatchet or similar tool. If you have any information about the man in the photos, the maroon car or the reward money call the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office at 770.358.5159. UPDATE: About $9000 of the reward money collected has been located. It has been learned another portion of it went to the state’s unclaimed property division when First National Bank failed. Sheriff Brad White is making inquiries about those funds.

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