Gloucester native's body found after 10 days

Deanna Shirey

Several calls from concerned residents Thursday night led Georgia law enforcement officers to the body of a Gloucester native missing from her Georgia home since July 3. Her family says they plan to scatter her ashes at sea from Gloucester.


The body of Deanna Shirey, 70, was found behind the Thomasville, Georgia, residence of Robert Lee Carter II, the suspect in the case.

“She was wrapped in the comforter. She was in a shallow grave,” Thomas County Coroner Don Shiver said. The body was found under a shed, Shiver said.

The comforter was missing from Shirey’s home, also in Thomasville.

The body was within 50 feet of the house, said Maj. Wade Glover, Thomasville Police Department's public information officer.

The discovery of the body was between 11 p.m. and midnight Thursday, according to authorities. Shirey’s family members from North Georgia and South Florida were notified around 4 a.m. Friday. Family members, including Shirey’s three children, have been in Thomasville since early last week.

The body will undergo an autopsy at a state crime lab.

Glover pointed out that residents had become so concerned about Shirey that they were searching for her themselves.

A woman looking for Shirey late Thursday afternoon on the 319 bypass saw a bathrobe on the side of the road and called police.

Carter remains behind bars at the Thomas County Jail. He has been denied bond in the kidnapping and robbery of another Thomasville woman last week and in taking an Ochlocknee family hostage Friday.

Carter, 47, was captured during a massive manhunt Sunday afternoon. He was found hiding under a log in the Little Ochlockonee River.

Until early Friday morning, Deanna Shirey's family planned to take her home.

Shirey's family from North Georgia and South Florida has been in Thomasville since their loved one vanished 10 days ago. 

"Right up until 4 o'clock this morning, we were planning to take Mom home," Nick Abiusi, Shirey's son-in-law, said Friday. "I was praying going to the (Hampton Inn) lobby that Mom would be sitting in a chair waiting for us."

Instead, the family was met by Georgia of Bureau of Investigation agents, Thomasville police, an assistant district attorney and a victim's advocate.

They told the family about the discovery of the body.

"The medical examiner has some work to do before we can do a celebration of Mom's life," Abiusi said.

A celebration might take place in Thomasville. Another would be in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Shirey was born and grew up.

She moved to Thomasville from South Florida in 2005.

Abiusi said the community support the family received gave them strength to get through the ordeal.

"It's going to be difficult to lay Mom to rest," Abiusi said.

Shirey's instructions about her burial were known to the family: She wanted her ashes strewn at sea.

The ashes of her husband, Lloyd Shirey, who died about 11 years ago, are at her Georgia home. It was her wish that their ashes be strewn at sea. The family will board a Massachusetts relative's boat and cast the couple's ashes into the sea.

"They loved the ocean, yachts and the sea," Abiusi said.

Material used in this story came from reporter Patti Dozier of the Thomasville, Georgia, Times- Enterprise. She can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820,, on Twitter: @anniejoyce44.






Missing woman's body found near suspect's house

Start date/time:

Jul 13, 2018

01:00 PM


By Patti Dozier Twitter: @anniejoyce44