A paraplegic man suffered an unspeakably cruel death after his ex-girlfriend took him inside of a remote hunting camp in Georgia, where she left him in the cold to die.
According to Huffington Post, 33-year-old Troymaine Johnson had been in the woods “a good two nights and part of one morning” before the ex-girlfriend’s disturbing statements to police sent deputies on a search, said Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore.
“I can’t imagine the desperation he must have felt while lying in the middle of a cold, dark forest, waiting on death to take him,” Kilgore told The Huffington Post.
27-year-old Ruby Kate “Katie” Coursey, of Fort Valley, Georgia, admitted to abandoning Johnson, and has been charged with felony murder and felony neglect of a disabled adult.
On March 17, deputies found Johnson’s body in a heavily wooded area about 70 miles south of Atlanta. The search began after the sheriff received a call from relatives of Coursey, who said she had admitted to leaving Johnson in the woods.
“I did a bad thing,” Coursey allegedly said, according to police. “I hurt Troymaine. I took him out of the car and left him in the woods.”
According to deputies, Coursey said she couldn’t remember exactly where she’d left Johnson, leaving investigators on a search along back roads in southeast Upson County. On March 17, more than two days after Johnson had been last seen, deputies on a remote road came upon a driveway with a damaged entry gate.
“The gate had been pushed in ― hit so hard the concrete posts had pulled up,” Kilgore said. “They drove down in, some 150 to 200 yards off the road, and located his body on the ground near a hunting camp.”
Investigators were able to determine that Coursey had borrowed a friend’s vehicle on March 14 to commit the crime. The vehicle had front-end damage, consistent with hitting a gate, and paint from the vehicle matched paint found on the damaged hunting camp gate, police said.
According to his grandmother, Johnson lost his mobility at just 11-years-old, when a friend playing with a handgun accidentally shot him. This left Johnson with very limited mobility and only partial use of one arm. Since the accident, Johnson was dependent on a wheelchair and the care of those around him.
Johnson’s grandmother told police she’d last seen Johnson at their Thomaston home on the evening of March 14.
Johnson and Coursey “had a previous relationship, which had deteriorated,” Kilgore said. “That evening, she went to his home and picked him up. [His grandmother] assumed, since they didn’t take his wheelchair or anything else he needed, that they were just going to ride around. They were last seen near there around 8:30 that night.”
Autopsy results showed Johnson died from hypothermia due to exposure, Kilgore said. It was unclear just how long Johnson, who Kilgore described as “completely defenseless,” had suffered.
“It’s very hard to prove how long he lived after she cruelly left him out in that,” the sheriff said. “One would hope it wasn’t long. It was uncharacteristically cold here that week. Temperatures got down into 20s.”
The motive also remains unclear.
“I cannot imagine what would cause anybody to do something like that,” Kilgore said.
Coursey, according to police, has refused to speak since providing investigators the vague details on Johnson’s whereabouts.
Johnson’s funeral was held March 24.