The DeKalb County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office has classified the disappearance of Felicia Ann Lindsey, 54, as a homicide after further details emerged in a murder-suicide investigation involving two Alabama residents.
Autopsy results indicate Max Ruben Zeller, 22, killed his aunt through blunt-force trauma to the head, authorities said. Lindsey's missing-person report was made known to police about 10 p.m. Monday.
The case took a grisly turn when Cherokee County, Ga., police located Zeller in a mobile home near Canton, Ga., Tuesday morning. When police attempted to search the mobile home, Zeller fled to the bedroom and killed himself with a pistol.
Zeller apparently had stolen the handgun from Lindsey, as well as her cellphone and Jeep that also were found in the mobile home's vicinity.
DeKalb County investigators continued to search for Lindsey's body in Fort Payne, Ala. After executing a search warrant, they found evidence of a crime scene at the residence.
Police say Zeller apparently killed Lindsey in her home and tried to hide her body in a crawl space underneath.
"This is a terrible tragedy for everyone concerned," DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends at this time. The Lindsey family is well respected in this community, and this is just unthinkable."
The investigation is ongoing, authorities said.