BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) -The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has charged a man with felony murder in connection to the death of a Bulloch County woman on October 23rd.
The GBI says that 44-year-old Lee Allen Mayhew is also facing charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of crime, theft by taking motor vehicle, and burglary. He was taken into custody in Florida.
“Preliminary investigation indicates he was a federal fugitive from Tennessee fleeing from prosecution there with no connections to Bulloch County,” said Capt. Todd Hutchens with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI’s assistance in the investigation when evidence indicated that Bonnie Rushing had been murdered at her Stilson Leefield Road home.
Rushing was found dead with a gunshot wound. Authorities say that Mayhew entered the home and had some contact with Rushing. Additionally, Rushing’s car was stolen, where it was tracked and located in Florida.
Mayhew is awaiting extradition to Georgia.
As investigators focus on the suspect and the crime, people in the community focus on the person lost.
In Brooklet, the cliché that “everybody knows everybody” holds true. And in the death of Bonnie Lanier Rushing, everybody feels the heartache. Loved ones say her caption “faith over fear” was more than a catch phrase.
Her pastor says she was a tireless volunteer and constant encourager.
“She was always behind the scenes, making sure everybody had what they needed,” said Pastor Chip Strickland.
A social worker for decades, she was an active parent at Southeast Bulloch High, her own alma mater. Mike Sparks taught and coached her there and remained friends for life.
“Gentle as a lamb. And in all the years I knew her, I never heard her say a bad word about anybody. Always building people up,” said Sparks.
And protecting them. On the day of her death, she shared the Sheriff’s Office warning about a robbery the day before and a warning for the man suspected in her own death.
Both men say Rushing would have not only given up her car to the person who killed her, she would have given them anything else if it protected anyone else. Her pastor says this crime has the community in shock.
“It’s been a wake up call that there’s evil in this world everywhere, not just in the big cities. But it can come to our home as well,” said Strickland.
Something that will bother plenty of people whether they were close to her or not.
Pastor Strickland says Bonnie was one of the key organizers of an upcoming prayer service on the Sunday before Election Day to pray for the nation. He says they’ll go forward with it. But they’ll be praying for their community as well.
If you have any information, contact the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office at 912-764-1771 or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 912-871-1121.