A 56-year-old woman is dead and her long-time partner has been charged with murder after Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's deputies found the woman's body in Cottondale shortly after midnight Monday morning.

Jack Kennedy, the commander of the multi-agency Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said police were called to the 1900 block of Ridgehaven Drive in Cottondale around 12:30 a.m. Monday.

He said deputies discovered the body of a 56-year-old woman, Tammy Ledbetter, and that it "was apparent that the deceased victim had been the subject of an assault."

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The deputies turned the case over to the VCU, whose investigators quickly developed Ledbetter's long-time domestic partner as a suspect in the killing.

Kennedy said his investigators processed the scene, gathered several items of physical evidence and interviewed witnesses before arresting 28-year-old Eric Fowler and charging him with the murder.

Fowler was booked in the Tuscaloosa County Jail and remained there later Monday morning on a $150,000 bond.