Murder charges filed in missing person case

Patrick Yost News

Officers with a regional crime task force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) were searching for evidence in a missing person case last week when they served a search warrant on a storage unit in the West Morgan Storage facility outside of Rutledge.

On Friday, officers with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said they had located a body wrapped in plastic inside a dilapidated pool used as a goat pen in a Loganville neighborhood. Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said authorities have not made a positive identification of the body.

The missing man, according to Capt. Kirk McLeroy, has been identified as 25-year-old Chase Loffler. Loffler was last seen at a Social Circle residence on March 29.

According to Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley, Morgan County authorities were contacted by the task force to provide surveillance and aid during the Tuesday search of the West Morgan Storage unit. Investigators sat on the storage unit during the night until federal agents arrived and removed items while wearing hazard material suits.

McLeroy said the unit and the area was in no danger. “It was a precautionary move for safety. There was no danger to the public.”

Three men have been arrested in relation to the found, unidentified body. Jonathan Britt Lester, 21, Loganville, and Kolbe Hadden Watters, 21, Social Circle, have both been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. Watters’ father, Roger Gene Watters, 44, has been charged with tampering with evidence.

Sheriff Chapman said Loffler was last seen at Kolbe Watters’ Roy Malcom Spur Road residence. “He went to a friend’s house and stayed for two days and nobody’s seen him since,” McLeroy said.

The unidentified body was found in the backyard of Lester’s Loganville residence.

Multiple agencies have been investigating. McLeroy said the missing person complaint was “one little piece of a very big puzzle.”

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