UPDATE: Medical Examiner officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have positively identified remains as Tina Prince. Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran tells NewsChannel 6 “the official autopsy report is not complete. The investigation continues to be very active and ongoing.”
Prince’s body was discovered on June 4 off Pleasant Grove Road in Washington County.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and consideration for this is a very sensitive investigation,” Cochran says. “Please continue to keep the Prince Family, the Washington County School District, and our entire community lifted in prayer in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”
31-year-old Aaron Matthew Adams has been arrested in connection with Prince’s death. He has been charged with one count of concealing a death and two counts of making false statements. Investigators believe Prince met up with Adams the night she went missing.
Prince’s daughter says she was at dinner with her mom on May 28 when Prince got up to take a phone call. She told her family goodbye, left dinner and drove to a nearby convenience store. Surveillance video captured the last images of Prince alive. She then drove to a Walmart parking lot and met up with Adams, according to investigators.
Additional charges are pending as the investigation continues. Bond has been denied for Adams.
Arrest warrants for Aaron Matthew Adams can be found below:
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga (WJBF) – The search continues for 46-year-old Tina Prince, a first grade teacher in Washington County who has been missing since Friday evening. The entire Washington County Sheriff’s office, FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Natural Resources are aiding in the investigation.
On Thursday, June 3, DNR began a search of a pond just off Highway 24 West, in an effort to rule the area out in regards to the search.
Prince was last seen with her daughter at Puebla Mexican Restaurant in Sandersville. She got a phone call, told her family goodbye and left dinner early. Her family has not seen or heard from her since.
“I know she wouldn’t run off,” Kenzie Prince said in a statement to NewsChannel 6.
“This is totally out of character for her not to be in communication with her family,” Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran adds.
Surveillance footage shows Prince drove from the restaurant to a convenience store. She then drove to a nearby Walmart parking lot where she met up with the same man who called her at dinner. Investigators believe she had an “on-again off-again relationship” with the man.
“We have identified who that person is,” Cochran says. “We’ve talked with them. This person is a male acquaintance of hers who’s cooperating in the investigation.”
“Through surveillance, it appears that it was a consensual meeting,” he adds.
Prince’s car was found Sunday morning in the Walmart parking lot, but she was nowhere to be found. Her family has been unable to get in contact her, and she has been been silent on social media.
Tony Bryant met Prince through his late wife. He tells NewsChannel 6 he was shocked to learn she disappeared.
“She was a sweet lady,” Bryant says. “I don’t understand why she disappeared like she did. She was always sweet to me.”
Investigators have conducted conducted air and ground searches for Prince.
“It’s all hands on deck until we locate Ms. Prince,” Cochran says. “We concentrated on areas we knew she may have possibly been. Those are the areas we’ve searched up to this point. As far as moving ahead, we will search in any areas that possibly come up as places she could have been or could be.”
This type of case is unusual for Washington County. In his 26-year career, Cochran says this is only the second investigation of its kind in the area.
“It’s a high profile case since she’s a primary school teacher here in Washington County. To have this type of case where someone has basically fallen off the face of the earth is very rare.”
Prince is a first grade teacher at Ridge Road Elementary school. Washington County Superintendent Dr. Rickey Edmond provided the following statement to NewsChannel 6:
“The Washington County School District extends our support to Tina Prince, her family, and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been impacted by her disappearance. We remain hopeful for her safe return, and pray for comfort for family and loved ones during this time. The Washington County School District will continue collaborating with the local law enforcement agencies heading up this investigation.”Superintendent Dr. Rickey Edmond, Washington County Public Schools
Prince is 5’1” tall and weighs 140 pounds. She has burgundy hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (478) 552-0911.
A vigil will be held for Prince at First Church of the Nazarene in Sandersville on Thursday at 8 p.m.