Missing Craigslist couple’s SUV recovered, bodies found nearby

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Bud and June Runion went missing after going to check out a classic car on Craigslist. A warrant has been issued for Ronnie "Jay" Towns in connection to their disappearance. (CNN)

ATLANTA — The bodies of a man and woman were recovered Monday while searching for a couple from Marietta, Georgia, who went missing after contacting a car seller on Craigslist, authorities said.

The bodies have not yet been identified, said Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson. He said the couple’s car was also found submerged in a nearby lake.

“It’s not the outcome we had hoped for but, obviously, it’s the one we have to deal with,” Steverson said. “We’ll analyze the vehicle, the bodies and hopefully we can come to some conclusion as to how they met their fate.”

Earlier Monday, the suspect sought in the case who had posted a Craigslist ad turned himself in, the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page.

Authorities have said that Ronnie “Jay” Adrian Towns, 28, was wanted on charges of giving false statements and criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. His family was integral in securing his surrender, Steverson said.

‘Deceptive’ communication

Elrey “Bud” Runion, 69, and his wife, June, 66, placed an ad looking for a 1966 Mustang on the advertisements website and contacted a car seller on Craigslist.

They drove to the South Georgia town of McRae from Marietta, an Atlanta suburb, on Thursday to meet someone who responded to the ad, relatives said. No one has heard from them since.

“He was excited about the car. He had one when he got back from Vietnam,” daughter Stephanie Bishop told CNN affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Asked whether Towns owned a Mustang like the one the Runions were looking for, Steverson replied, “He does not. We feel that the entire communication he had with Mr. Runion was deceptive.”

Relatives filed a missing persons report after the couple failed to show up to baby-sit their grandchildren the next day.

‘Last known communications’

Towns, 28, had the “last known communications” with Runion, Steverson said.

Towns turned himself in just before noon Monday. He “is currently in custody and no further details are available at this time. Details will be posted as they become available,”the Facebook page for the Sheriff’s Office said.

It was unclear when his bond hearing would be held, Steverson said.

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