Betsy Mercer woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a text message and read that an armed robber could be on the loose in her Gilmer County, Ga., neighborhood.
"There's been a break-in and shooting within Coosawattee River Resort," the text message read.
Jumping to her feet, Mercer and her husband ran to lock the doors and windows to their house in the peaceful gated community.
Hours after the alert went out across the 5,550-acre resort early Wednesday morning, neighbors began hearing that the robbery was a hoax.
Police said they believe 76-year-old Donald Bossa tied himself up and pretended he had been robbed to cover up the killing of his wife, Barbara.
Bossa later confessed to the slaying and was charged with murder, Gilmer County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Frank Copeland said.
The Bossas were married for 20 years and had moved from Florida to their house on Eagle Mountain Drive about five years ago, Copeland said.
Investigators still are trying to determine what led to the killing.
Police believe Barbara Bossa was killed before 4 a.m. Her husband then drove a little more than a mile to Flat Creek Baptist Church where he parked his car, tied himself up and walked to a nearby neighbor's house to call 911, Copeland said.
He told dispatchers two white men had broken into his house and kidnapped him, Copeland said. He told them to check on his wife.
Investigators found his wife dead and Donald Bossa still tied up at his neighbor's house, Copeland said. But as they began to look through the couple's house, Bossa's story didn't add up, Copeland said.
Gilmer County Coroner Jerry Hensley said Wednesday that the cause of death is under investigation. The autopsy report wasn't complete Wednesday evening.
Donald Bossa is being held in the Gilmer County Jail, authorities said. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is investigating the case.
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 ...