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Contributed photo from the Dade County Sheriff's Office / Jeremiah Christopher Douglas, a sex offender who lives in Dade County, Ga., has been charged in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found in the middle of the highway.

A dead woman found earlier this month lying in the middle of Highway 299 in Dade County, Georgia, has been identified as 23-year-old Leea Abigail Raines.

Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross said that multiple witnesses described and surveillance video from local businesses showed Jeremiah Douglas, a 40-year-old registered sex offender from Wildwood, Georgia, pushing Raines out of a moving truck on Friday, Nov. 5. She was declared dead after first responders were called to the scene.

(READ MORE: Sex offender charged after woman found dead on Highway 299 in Dade County)

Douglas has since been arrested and charged with felony murder and a probation violation. He awaits a bond hearing to be held in front of a Superior Court judge.

Raines' funeral was held at Moore Funeral Home on Sunday, Nov. 14. She was preceded in death by her mother Starla Hixson, grandmother Susan Hixson and grandfather Floyd Lee Raines. She is survived by her father Donnie Raines, brother Brandon Raines and grandfather Billy Hixson.

An obituary described Raines as a charming and witty artist who loved to draw, write poems and listen to music. She was known to friends and family as "Leea Buggs."

Tammie Chapman Shavers, a cousin of Leea Raines' father, has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for memorial service expenses. Any money collected over the cost of those services will be donated to a local women's rehabilitation program in Raines' honor.

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"If you cannot afford to donate money, I ask you to please lift this family up in prayer," Shavers said. "They need as many of those as possible right now. Nothing can bring Leea back or make sense of what drives someone to murder, but maybe taking the financial burden off the family will help."

Raines' great aunt, Betty Raines Chapman, said she and the family have been leaning on their faith in the days since the killing in a Facebook post just before the funeral.

"May the peace of God and the comfort He provides dwell in our hearts and keep us wrapped in His love as we go through this day of closure with our beloved Leea Abigail Raines and His strength be drawn to Donnie and Brandon in their weakness," Chapman said. "Rest in Peace Leea. You are gone from sight but never from our hearts."

The investigation into what happened in the hours before Raines' death is ongoing but Cross said his office will do everything possible to ensure justice is served for her family and to prevent such crimes from taking place in the future.

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"Stuff like this is what we want to stop in Dade County from happening if we at all can," he said during a news conference earlier this month. "If not, we're gonna track them down and we're gonna find them."

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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