Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett said this afternoon that a body found near the Chattooga River on Monday is that of missing Walker County 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker.
Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said the family of 911 dispatcher Theresa Parker, missing since March 2007, was relieved to learn her remains were found this week.
“We never let up looking for her,” the sheriff said during a Wednesday news conference when authorities announced that Parker’s remains had been positively identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Parker’s husband, Sam Parker, a former LaFayette, Ga., police officer, was convicted a year ago of murder after her disappearance.
Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett said a farmer discovered skeletal remains about 100 feet from the shore of the Chattooga River on Monday. More remains were found Tuesday.
Wilson said the next step is to determine the cause of death before Parker’s remains are returned to the family.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.
March 21, 2007 — Theresa Parker, a Walker County 911 operator, is reported missing.
April 1, 2007 — Sam Parker, a LaFayette police officer and Theresa Parker’s husband, is identified as a “person of interest” by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
April 13, 2007 — Parker is fired for having explosives in his locker at the LaFayette police station. Police go to his home that night after a caller says Parker was trying to harm himself.
Feb. 4, 2008 — Parker is arrested on charges of killing his wife. He claims he is innocent.
Feb. 26-27, 2008 — At Parker’s bond hearing, Theresa Parker’s former sister-in-law Tabitha Thomas testifies: “[Sam] told me, ‘I have killed before, and I will kill again.’” Parker pleads not guilty.
May 18, 2009 — Parker is denied a renewed bond request.
Aug. 12, 2009 — A jury is chosen from Bartow County, Ga. The trial begins Aug. 17.
Aug. 18, 2009 — Harbin Chaffin, a former LaFayette police officer and friend of Sam Parker, testifies: “[Parker] said he’d [killed his wife] or was really going to do it. He said he had a place [to hide a body that was] hard to find and that he’d shot Theresa through the head.”
Aug. 25, 2009 — GBI agent James Harris testifies that Parker told the agency that his wife could be in Mexico with a man named Elvis, whom she had met on a trip to Cancun a few years before.
Aug. 27, 2009 — Theresa’s niece, Arica Patterson, testifies: “[Parker] called [his badge] his get-out-of-jail-free card.” Family members testify that alcohol was a big problem in the Parkers’ relationship. The prosecution rests its case.
Aug. 28, 2009 — Sam Parker’s ex-wife, Denise Parker, the last witness from the defense, calls Parker “quiet and gentle and loving” before the court.
Sept. 3, 2009 — Sam Parker is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus five years on felony convictions of murdering his wife, violating oath as a public officer and making false statements during an investigation.
Jan. 30, 2010 — The show “48 Hours Mystery” on CBS airs an episode called “The Secret” about the Parker case.
Monday — Human remains are found near the Chattooga River.
Wednesday — The remains are identified as those of Theresa Parker.
Source: Newspaper archives
— Compiled by staff writer Michael Stone
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...