Woman's body found in home and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Woman's body found in home and other news from areas around Chattanooga

October 18th, 2013 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

Woman's body found in home

MANCHESTER, Tenn. - The Coffee County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered Thursday morning.

Sheriff Steve Graves said investigators believe the death was a homicide. The woman, whose name was not released Thursday, lived on Powers Bridge Road in Manchester. Graves said deputies have had trouble locating the woman's family.

The sheriff's office did not have a suspect on Thursday.

Man finds KKK, swastika on door

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A Tennessee man awoke to find a swastika and the letters KKK drawn on his front door, as well as a pornographic picture with the same markings placed on a stool on his porch.

Rutherford County Sheriff's Detective Randy Groce is investigating who vandalized 32-year-old Michael Varnell's home outside Murfreesboro on Wednesday.

Varnell told The Daily News Journal that seeing the marks surprised and upset him and his family, who have lived in the area for about 12 years.

He said one of two things could have motivated the markings -- his son's struggle with autism or that his brother-in-law is black and their kids play together frequently at his house. Varnell said someone may have objected to that.

He and his wife have lived in Rutherford County for the past 12 years, Varnell said, and they were surprised that something like this would happen in this community.

"We moved here from a small town outside of Chattanooga," Michael Varnell said. "It was just like Woodbury; we didn't think Murfreesboro was all that big and bad."

Cars scratched at dealership

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Law officers in Northeast Georgia say a vandalism spree that damaged dozens of cars is the worst they've ever seen.

Chris Ellison, operations manager for the Carriage Automotive Group in Gainesville, said more than 32 cars were keyed at the Nissan dealership.

Ellison tells The Times of Gainesville that a man walked onto the lot at 1:22 a.m. Sunday and scratched up the trunks and sides of the cars. He estimates the damage at his dealership alone at $20,000.

Authorities say damage also was done at Milton Martin Toyota and at Milton Martin Honda, where four cars were keyed.

Gainesville police spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said the extent of vandalism at the lots is unprecedented.

Authorities are studying video surveillance of the crime as they search for a suspect.

Teacher charged with student sex

DYERSBURG, Tenn. - A Tennessee teacher has been charged with having sex with boys under the age of 18.

WMC-TV in Memphis reported that 37-year-old Beth Scearce faces a charge of aggravated statutory rape and is accused of having sex with two students.

Scearce teaches at Christ Classical Academy in Dyersburg. The charges were filed Wednesday in Lauderdale County, where she lives.

Scearce has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.