The body of a Tuscaloosa man missing since early October was recovered by police from a wooded area off a roadway in Tuscaloosa County and two people have been arrested in connection to the grim discovery.

Captain Jack Kennedy, the commander fo the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said police have been searching for 35-year-old Braxton Connell for several weeks - the Tuscaloosa man was last seen at the Piggly Wiggly in Alberta on October 3rd.

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Kennedy said the search for Connell led police to a group of individuals and a residence in Coaling, where Connell was last known to have been.

Two people interviewed, 45-year-old Ricky Duncan and 64-year-old Bettie Williamson drew suspicion from Tuscaloosa Police investigators, and the VCU was called out to work the case further.

On Thursday night, investigators recovered Connell's body from a wooded area off Highway 216, Kennedy said. His cause of death is pending autopsy, but Kennedy said drugs are believed to be a factor in this case.

Duncan and Williamson have been arrested and charged with abuse of a Corpse and committed to jail.

State law defines abuse of a corpse, a Class C felony, as when someone "knowingly treats a human corpse in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities." In Tuscaloosa County, the charge has historically been filed when someone chooses to hide a body rather than report a homicide, overdose or other unnatural death to law enforcement.

Kennedy said the investigation is ongoing and further charges are possible.

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)


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