published Thursday, August 7th, 2014

4th person arrested after decomposing body found in Gordon County woods

A fourth person has been arrested and charged in connection with this week's discovery of a decomposing body in a wooded area of Gordon County, Ga., Sheriff Mitch Ralston said in a news release.

The body investigators found is believed to be that of John Wesley Wood Jr., 22, of 373 Baker Road in Gordon County.

Three people already had been charged in connection with the killing, and Stacie Charlene Ashworth, 20, of 227 Sequoyah Circle in Gordon County was arrested Tuesday evening at her home.

Ashworth is charged with giving false statements and concealing a death. She is jailed pending bond proceedings.

Nathan Michael Mahan, Lelion L. Siskey and Nathan Mark Neighbors are charged with robbery and murder.

Police said all the men were involved in Wood's slaying after he went missing on July 24.

Investigators began looking for Wood after he was reported missing by his mother, Sherry Lynn Ainsworth, on July 28.

Investigators learned from a neighbor that two strangers had shown up at Wood's apartment on July 24. The neighbor said she saw suspicious activity by the strangers, who entered Wood's apartment, according to a Gordon County Sheriff's Office incident report.

A separate witness told investigators foul play was involved in Wood's disappearance, but Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris did not say what foul play may have been involved or how the witness knew about it.

Ainsworth told a deputy that her son might have been involved with drugs, according to the incident report.

On Sunday, another witness told investigators to check a wooded area near a farm in northwest Gordon County. There, the body was found, and the sheriff's office is awaiting results from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab to confirm that it is Wood.

Detectives and GBI agents still are collecting and examining evidence. The case will be referred to the district attorney's office for prosecution, officials said.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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