MCDONOUGH, Ga. -- The wife and children of a missing Henry County businessman, Doug Coker, Sr., missing since last Tuesday, found out early Monday that the body found late Sunday night is probably that of their husband and father.
Investigators believe Coker, 67, was murdered, and they have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect.
The nearly week-long search for Coker led investigators Sunday to the Jones County home of one of the last people Coker is known to have seen -- the woman who had had a business meeting with Coker at a McDonald's restaurant in Macon at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13, the day Coker disappeared.
"The victim and the suspect were in business dealings together, and he had contacted her to help write a government grant" for one of his projects, said Jones County Sheriff Butch Reece.
The woman was not home Sunday night.
But under her back porch, investigators found a body they have tentatively identified as that of Doug Coker, apparently murdered, they say.
Coker's car was not there. It turned up Monday night in Griffin.
Coker's wife and grown children in Henry County were told early Monday morning that his body had been tentatively identified.
"They are heartbroken," said one of Coker's close friends, Buddy Welch of McDonough.
Sheriff Reece issued an arrest warrant for the woman, Pamela Moss, on a murder charge.
Friends of Coker posted photos of Pamela Moss on a Facebook page, asking people for help finding her.
Capt. Earl Humphries of the Jones County Sheriff's Office said Pamela Moss served more than seven years in prison for the manslaughter of her mother.
Capt. Humphries said Moss's attorney is Frank Hogue of Macon, and that Hogue had told the Sheriff that Moss was going to surrender Monday. Moss had not surrendered as of Monday night. Hogue could not be reached for comment Monday.
Doug Coker, Sr., was a well-known businessman and real estate agent in Henry County, and he leaves behind his heartbroken wife of 28 years, Judy Cook Coker, four children (two of them from her previous marriage), and six grandchildren.
"He has always been a very quiet, peaceful and honorable person," Welch said Monday. "Everybody's just extremely sad to have lost him."
Hundreds of volunteers helped in the search for Coker in the days following his disappearance, an indication, Welch said, of the esteem people have for the Cokers, and of the good hearts of Henry Countians.
"If it happened to some other family," Welch said, "Doug and Judy Coker would have been there first to help them."
Coker was active with the McDonough Presbyterian Church, the Henry County Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Monday morning, Kay Pippin, president of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, issued this statement:
"It is indeed with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that missing Henry County businessman, Doug Coker, has been found, deceased and on property in Jones County. On behalf of all Chamber members and staff, I extend our profound sympathy to Doug's widow, Judy and the family. May the love of God, family and friends, comfort them in the days ahead."
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