Bodies found in burned truck after apparent murder-suicide

A search for a missing Georgia couple has ended after two bodies were found in a burned pickup truck on a property in neighboring Taliaferro County, Georgia.

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Taliaferro County Sheriff Marc Richards told WSB-TV that it appears they are dealing with a murder-suicide.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison said deputies have called off the effort to locate Steven Rhodes and his wife, Melissa Meeks Rhodes, who were reported missing on New Year's Eve. Harrison said the woman's daughter called authorities out of concern for her mother after she could not get in touch with her.

The couple were last seen around 11 p.m. Monday and were believed to be traveling in Steven Rhodes’ black modified Ford pickup.

Deputies used their own trucks and enlisted the help of several community volunteers to look for the couple. A system of storms in the area early Tuesday morning complicated the search.

"We were told Rhodes had a tendency to take back roads," Harrison told "With all the rain we've had, it didn't make it easy for patrol cars."

Once the rain passed, the sheriff called in the help of the Georgia State Patrol’s aviation unit. Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, deputies got a call that a truck matching the description of Steven Rhodes’ was spotted on a property across the Taliaferro County line.

According to Taliaferro Sheriff Marc Richards, the truck was found burned. A shotgun and spent shells were also found at the scene.

It appears to be a murder-suicide, he told WSB-TV.

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