Beloved Georgia Bookstore Owner Found Dead in Creek

An award-winning Georgia bookstore owner was found dead, floating in a creek over the weekend, just hours after friends noticed the front door to her home wide open and called police.

A fisherman found the body of 40-year-old Erica Atkins in Cedar Creek, several miles from her Locust Grove home on Sunday.

Investigators identified an ex-boyfriend and sometime employee of Birdsong Books, 38-year-old Romero Johnson, as a suspect in connection with her kidnapping and took him into custody, ABC News reported.

Deputies in a neighboring county later contacted Locust Grove Police about a body matching the Atkins’ description, and detectives obtained an addition warrant for Johnson, charging him with murder.

“To dispose of a body like that is just heartbreaking, senseless,” Locust Grove Police Chief Derrick Austin told WSB.

Austin said that surveillance cameras in Atkins’ neighborhood showed Johnson at her home, and detectives tracked his car to Putnam County, where the body was found.

“It’s such a sad situation,” Austin said. “Someone she obviously trusted enough to have at her home, who would do something like this to her.”

Atkins owned Birdsong Books in Locust Grove, which opened in 2021. The store was just named Microbusiness of the Year for 2022 by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, which called Atkins’ death a “tremendous loss.”

“As a business and community leader and a friend, she will be sorely missed,” the chamber said in a Facebook post.

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[Featured image: Erica Atkins/Facebook]