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Dismembered body parts found in woods off Ga. Highway 212
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Newton County Sheriff's investigators located several severed body parts of a murdered woman Tuesday morning in a wooded residential area off of Ga. Highway 212.

According to NCSO Lt. Bill Watterson, the parts most likely belonged to a petit Hispanic or Caucasian female. So far, investigators have recovered 50 percent of the woman's remains, including at least one hand, which Watterson hopes can help identify the victim.

"The body parts were not badly decomposed," Watterson said.

The NCSO was first alerted to the situation at approximately 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning when a woman returning from work found her dogs fighting over what appeared to be a human foot. A crime scene was established, but investigators could not begin a full search until daylight.

Watterson said the remains were found between the back of an unoccupied house and Jackson Lake. Due to the lack of blood, investigators suspect the victim was actually murdered elsewhere. The body parts were described as "cleanly severed."

According to authorities, the victim probably knew her murderer.

"We have strong indications this was not stranger to stranger," Watterson said. "We think they had an intense motive."

Based on the evidence, investigators believe the woman was recently deceased. The body parts recovered so far do not suggests a cause of death or if the victim was alive during the dismemberment.

"But so far, we just have theories," he said. "Until we ID the victim, that's all we'll have."

While there are no missing persons reports in Newton or Henry counties matching the victim, investigators are checking restraining orders and other domestic cases, Watterson said. Because the crime scene is in such a secluded area, Watterson said the murderer was probably somewhat familiar with the neighborhood, which is heavily wooded and cannot be seen from the highway.

Cadaver dogs have been brought in to aid in the location of the missing body parts, but the investigation may move into the lake.

If you have information about this crime, please call the Newton County Sheriff's Office at (678) 625-1403. Tips may also be given anonymously at (678) 625-5007 or on their Web site