By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Suspect identified in fatal hit and run in Covington found dead of gunshot wound
Monticello resident apparently died from self-inflicted shot
Deanna Mattheus
Deanna Mattheus is shown in this image from a GoFundMe account set up for funeral expenses for the Covington mother of seven. (Special | GoFundMe)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County sheriff's investigators' chief suspect in a Jan. 30 hit and run that took the life of a Covington mother was found dead from an apparent suicide.

The suspect, James Jenkins, 50, of Monticello, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Jasper County, said Newton County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Caitlin Jett.

"Our agency has continued to work diligently to locate the person responsible for the hit-and-run pedestrian fatality incident on Jan. 30 that took the life of Covington resident Deanna Mattheus," Jett said. 

"After a thorough investigation, our agency identified the suspect as well as the location of the vehicle," Jett said.

A GoFundMe account set up to pay for funeral expenses for Mattheus, 44, who died after being struck as she walked along Georgia Hwy. 36 late on Jan. 30 had raised $2,060 as of today, Feb. 28.

Jett earlier had said investigators narrowed the timeline of the incident down to a 12-minute interval between 11:48 p.m. and midnight on Jan. 30 on Hwy. 36 south of County Hwy. 213 near Laurie Lane and Bethel Bara Baptist Church.

"Debris located at the scene identify the suspected vehicle as a Ford, and the vehicle will have damage on the front passenger side," Jett said.

The mother of seven was struck and killed as she walked along foggy Hwy. 36, which is also known as Jackson Highway, the sheriff’s office reported. The vehicle then left the scene, which was about a mile south of the Covington city limits.

Deputies were called to the incident and found the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to information from the sheriff’s office. 

Mattheus was an Atlanta native and lifelong resident of Covington. She attended Newton County High School, according to an obituary from J.C. Harwell & Son Funeral Home. 

She was survived by seven children, two grandchildren, mother, sister and brother.

The GoFundMe account is at: