A pet duck has helped authorities in the murder investigation of a missing woman in North Carolina.
In 2020, Nellie Sullivan, in her early 90s, disappeared without a trace, prompting authorities to launch an investigation without avail.
However, on 14 April , a pet duck ran under a trailer in Candler, North Carolina. Its owners then discovered a container with Sullivan’s remains underneath the trailer.
According to Buncombe county sheriff’s office, “Apparently, the duck ran underneath the trailer at 11 Beady Eyed Lane, and as they were chasing after their pet duck, they ran across the container that Nellie Sullivan was located in.”
“If I could give that duck a medal, I would,” said Sergeant Mark Walker.
The police have charged Sullivan’s 46-year old granddaughter, Angela Wamsley, and her 50-year old grandson-in-law, Mark Alan Barnes, with first degree murder.
The pair have been under investigation since December 2020 and were initially charged with animal cruelty and drug possession.
However, a year later, Wamsley and Barnes were both charged with concealing a death, according to police.
Authorities believe the pair had killed Sullivan in another location before disposing of her body underneath the trailer.
Wamsley and Barnes were collecting Sullivan’s cheques, retirement and social security benefits, as well as refilling her prescriptions, said police.
The official cause of death of Sullivan has yet to be determined by the medical examiner, Sky News reports. Sullivan would have been 93 years old today.
“Since the beginning of this investigation, we have sought to locate Ms Sullivan’s remains, afford her the respect she deserved, and restore dignity to the life she once lived,” said Angie Tullis, captain of the criminal investigation division at Buncombe county’s sheriff’s office.
“We are dedicated to utilizing all available science, technology, and investigative skills necessary for justice to be served in this case,” she added.
According to court records reviewed by Sky News, the couple’s next court date is on 13 May.