DeGhelder’s family grateful for jury after person of interest sentenced to life for other crimes

CSRA News

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The man questioned in a Grovetown murder is going to prison for his role in other crimes.

In March, Gibson was sentenced to 10 years for felony shoplifting. This week, a jury found him guilty for a 2017 armed robbery, kidnapping and assault that happened at a Grovetown Subway. The judge sentenced Gibson to life, plus 82 years in prison. 

Gibson has been in jail since last year and is considered a person of interest in the murder of Andrya DeGhelder.

DeGhelder was named a missing person in July 2018. A week later, her body was found in a dumpster behind the Gateway shopping center. The Grovetown mother lived in the Ivy Falls subdivision and investigators believe she was murdered in her home before her body was dumped. 

Friday, we talked to DeGhelder’s mother, Donna Morrison, about the new information. 

“[We’re] really astounded and grateful to the jury for recognizing who this man really is,” Donna says. “We loved [Andrya] very much. We miss her very much, but we know she’s at God’s right hand.” 

Donna and her husband Weldon live in Missouri, but they spent a lot of time in Grovetown after their daughter’s murder last July and they have processed their grief since. 

“We were at a gas station one day,” Morrison describes, “and all of a sudden this feeling came to me and just washed over me, that she is happy. My response to that was I am happy for her. My grief went away.” 

The coroner said DeGhelder was strangled to death before her body was left in a dumpster. Shortly afterwards, investigators named her neighbor, Christopher Gibson, as a person of interest. He has not been charged with her death.

Now, DeGhelder’s family focuses on the scholarship Augusta University set up in their daughter’s honor. 

“Andrya’s goal was to research blood disorders because she had had one and survived it and so she was going to try to find ways to cure that disease as well as others,” Morrison says. “She was stopped short obviously.”

A synopsis of her research is now on display in a school to inspire future scientists. “So the students here can see, small town kid, educated small town school can still do it,” Morrison explains. 

Morrison says Gibson’s sentence is a step in the right direction as their family waits for closure. 

“We’re just waiting patiently for an outcome, but he is not going anywhere and not hurting anyone else and we are grateful for that and respect law enforcement for accomplishing all of that,” Morrison says. 

As for the status of the murder case, investigators are waiting on DNA results to learn more. 

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