WINSTON COUNTY - The ongoing investigation into two Cullman County men found dead in a car near Delmar on Wednesday, Nov. 8, has so far yielded five arrests, on charges ranging from trafficking fentanyl to abuse of a corpse.
Marvin Edward Grace, 67, of 522 11th Street, Haleyville, has been charged with two counts of abuse of a corpse, two counts tampering with physical evidence, possession of a controlled substnce, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime, according to Winston County Sheriff Caleb Snoddy.
Grace faces the abuse of corpse charges from allegedly moving the dark colored 2013 Chevrolet Impala, in which the bodies of Rico Rondarius Tannehill, 29, and Braxton Rayshad Thomas, 30, had reportedly already died from a drug overdose, according to Sheriff Snoddy.
In fact, Tannehill and Thomas had reportedly died inside the car, which was parked in the yard at Grace’s residence on 11th Street, but Grace allegedly drove the car containing the two already dead men to an old logging road off County Road 17 in the Delmar area, Sheriff Snoddy stated.
“When you move bodies, the appropriate charge for that would be abuse of a corpse,” Sheriff Snoddy pointed out.
After a passerby noticed the Impala parked on the old logging road and notified authorities, they responded on Nov. 8 to find Tannehill and Thomas both dead in the car, one in the front seat, the other in the back seat, investigators said.
“We believe the objective of Mr. Grace’s actions was so they would not be found on his property,” Snoddy said.
Others charged in connection with this case are April Nicole Gosa, 41, of 136 Gosa Farm Road, charged with trafficking fentanyl and criminal conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime, the sheriff said.
“Through statements and other means of investigation, we determined that she had supplied several fentanyl pills in the course of these crimes,” Snoddy said.
Brittiany Lashae Lewis, 33, of County Road 1114, Cullman, was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime and contempt of court from a separate case. Shawn William Dickinson, 40, of 136 Gosa Farm Road, was charged with theft of property third degree and tampering with physical evidence. Nicole Cline-Ikerd, 40, of 522 11th Street, was charged with two counts possession of a controlled substance--all according to Sheriff Snoddy.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, around midnight, Tannehill, Thomas and Lewis traveled to Winston County from the Vinemont area of Cullman County, with the three of them going to Grace’s residence on 11th Street where it is believed that both Thomas and Tannehill consumed controlled substances, Snoddy said.
Investigators also learned that Grace, Lewis, Tannehill and Thomas left the residence on 11th Street and went, with Thomas driving, to an address on Gosa Farm Road north of Double Springs where Gosa and her boyfriend Dickinson resided, sheriff’s officials added.
Tannehill and Thomas reportedly consumed narcotics at the Gosa Farm Road residence as well, according to Sheriff Snoddy.
From there, Lewis, Tannehill and Thomas left the Gosa Farm Road residence together with Grace driving Thomas’ vehicle back to Grace’s residence on 11th Street, sheriff’s officials said.
Tannehill and Thomas were believed to have died in the Impala parked at Grace’s residence of a suspected drug overdose, according to Sheriff Snoddy.
After their deaths, Grace was believed to have driven the Impala from his house to the remote area off CR 17, investigators said.
“A statement made by Grace was that he parked the car in a location where he hoped that they would be found,” Snoddy stated.
All of these findings led sheriff’s officials to obtain several search warrants, one of which was executed at Grace’s residence on 11th Street, where boxes of items were seized and removed from the residence, authorities indicated.
The bodies of Tannehill and Thomas were transported from the scene off CR 17 by the Winston County Coroner’s office and were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science to determine causes of death, sheriff’s investigators said.
“I appreciate the patience and understanding of the public,” Sheriff Snoddy stated. “I am a firm believer in those who have committed crimes, not only in this case but others as well, being brought to justice.
“Justice, however, would not be possible in some cases, and greatly hindered in others, if all of the gathered information is released and/or released too quickly,” Snoddy continued.
The entirety of the case and many details cannot be disclosed due to pending legal action, the sheriff said.
“And we do not wish this case, for the victims' and their families’ sake, to be put into jeopardy,” Snoddy continued.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Winston sheriff’s office had been made aware of the disappearance of Thomas and Tannehill, who were reported missing from Cullman County, investigators said.
The two males were reported missing by Cullman County on Monday, Nov. 6, when they were last seen around 1 a.m., leaving their residence with a white female (later determined to be Lewis) in a gray Chevrolet Impala, according to investigators.
Cullman County advised Winston County on Tuesday, Nov. 7, of the missing men and that a cell phone ping on the subjects had put them at one point in the Ashridge area near Macedonia Road, Bennett stated. This would be the Gosa Farm Road residence, investigators said.
Sheriff Snoddy commended his office, including investigative and patrol divisions, for putting many long hours into the investigation.
“I am very proud of the team and the job that they have done,” Snoddy said. “Hopefully the conclusion of this investigation will bring closure to the families of these two men.
“I am personally saddened by these deaths and by many others that I have encountered in my law enforcement career,” Snoddy continued. “My thoughts and prayers belong to the families of those involved.”
*When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.
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