Glenn County, Ga. An autopsy is scheduled for the local woman who was shot dead at the end of the week.
Dawn Neubauer, 53, was found early Saturday morning with a gunshot wound to the back of the head outside the St. Simons Island restaurant where she worked.
Glenn County police have arrested 50-year-old Ricky Easterling and charged him with her murder.
Newbure was a mother of four and worked in the restaurant industry in the Golden Isles for 15 years, according to her stepson. He said she has a lot of friends and knows a lot of different people.
According to the Glenn County Sheriff’s Department, Easterling and Neubauer knew each other, but police did not release details.
Neubuer’s stepson, Matthew Neubauer, said he didn’t know about the relationship either.
“From what I understand, he was someone known to her,” said Matthew Neubauer. “I don’t know the extent of that relationship or how long they’ve known each other.”
Details of the crime are particularly troubling, said Matthew Neubauer, a Seattle police detective. Her body was found in the parking lot of the Retreat Village Shopping Plaza on St. Simons Island.
“She was lying on the trunk of her car. She was missing clothes from the waist down, and she had a gunshot wound to the back of her head,” Matthew Neubauer said.
He said that while the police worked to piece together what happened to his stepmother, her family was left grieving her loss – with many unanswered questions.
“Now we’re trying to plan things in the short term, plan the kind of memorial service that’s going to be worthwhile for our mother and think about the long term,” said Matthew Neubauer. “How do we explain this to her grandchildren, how my younger brother, her son, put us through the remaining years of college, things like that. We are still in shock.”
A GoFundMe page set up by her protégé has already raised more than $8,500.
This came as an absolute shock to us. Everyone says things like that, but she lit up every room she walked into. “She was the life of every party,” said Matthew Neubauer. “She was the kind who would become your best friend after a few hours. We have a hard time understanding why someone would want to do this to her. She certainly didn’t deserve that – the love she gave everyone.”
Matthew Neubur is a law enforcement officer for 15 years. He said he spent most of that time investigating major crimes and violent crimes.
“I’ve been investigating these kinds of things for years, and it just surprised me how shocking the scene was,” said Neubauer. “Most shootings are between known individuals, usually in the midst of passion, argument, or otherwise. In my professional opinion investigating these kinds of things, it was more violent than most seasoned law enforcement officers are used to seeing.”
A GoFundMe page reported that Dawn Newbauer was murdered after the restaurant where she worked closed.
Police said evidence found at the scene led the Office of Planning and International Cooperation to identify Sterling as a person of interest. The Department of Planning and International Cooperation said it continued its investigations and obtained several search warrants which resulted in the finding of important evidence, including a firearm believed to be linked to the crime.
Easterling has been charged with multiple crimes, including one count of first degree murder, and is currently being held at the Glynn County Detention Center.
“We are really grateful for the swift action the Glenn County Sheriff’s Department took to identify and apprehend the suspect in this case so quickly,” said Matthew Neubauer.
The investigation is ongoing, and the GCPD urges anyone with relevant information to contact Silent Witness at 912-264-1333.
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