Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

Plant City man jailed

A Plant City man was arrested Friday, accused of killing a Tampa woman whose body was found in a river in Georgia, authorities said.

Joshua Lamar Helton, 25, was arrested late Friday night by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on a Georgia warrant for murder, jail records show.

Helton is charged with killing Judy Larue Murrow, 63, whose body was found Thursday in the Ocmulgee River in rural southeastern Georgia. Neither Murrow nor Helton is believed to have connections to the area where her body was found, according to Telfair County (Ga.) Sheriff Chris Steverson.

Murrow was shot in the head, Steverson said Saturday, and her body was probably in the river for several days before it was found July 4. Steverson did not have information on a possible motive for the crime, saying only that Helton and Murrow were former neighbors and that her family knew the Plant City man.

"We're still investigating," Steverson said.

Steverson declined to release any more information regarding the case, or what led his investigators to Helton.

Murrow's fully clothed body was found by a fisherman Thursday morning in the river near Jacksonville, Ga., according to the Telfair Sheriff's Office. She had no identification information on her, so her body was sent to a state crime lab in Atlanta, nearly 200 miles away. On Friday, investigators identified the body and obtained the arrest warrant for Helton.

Helton was taken into custody just before midnight Friday without incident, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. He remained in the Hillsborough County Jail Saturday without bail. He has not been convicted of a crime in Florida before, state records show.

Helton was a 2007 graduate of Plant City High School, where he played offensive line for the football team.

No other information about Murrow was immediately available Saturday. No one answered the door at her home east of Tampa, near Interstate 75.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or [email protected]

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