A pet duck helped locate the body of a murdered woman early last month at a home in Candler, investigators said.
Angela Wamsley and Mark Barnes are charged with murdering Wamsley’s grandmother, Nellie Sullivan. Sullivan, in her 90’s, was determined to be missing in 2020, according to Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.
“It became pretty apparent almost immediately that Miss Sullivan had disappeared under what can be said suspicious circumstances,” Sgt. Mark Walker said.
Walker said Wamsley and Barnes, who were already in jail, were previously charged, in mid-December 2020, with concealing a death in connection to the case, but investigators didn’t find Sullivan’s body until mid-April of 2022.
According to Walker, years of search warrants and state and federal assistance led nowhere.
“Mark [Barnes] actually sent us on a wild goose chase which resulted in us digging for several days in a site that he knew she was not located at,” Walker said.
That goose chase eventually ended, thanks to the pet duck.
“Apparently, the duck ran underneath the trailer at 11 Beady Eyed Lane, and as they were chasing after their pet duck, they ran across the container that Nellie Sullivan was located in,” Walker said. “If I could give that duck a medal, I would.”
Investigators said they believe Sullivan was murdered at a different location, then brought to the trailer.
According to Walker, Wamsley and Barnes concealed the body, then continued to collect Sullivan’s social security and retirement benefits. He said they also filled her prescriptions.