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Thursday July 18th, 2019 9:12AM

GBI announces arrest in Banks County 'Jane Doe' case

By Rob Moore Reporter

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has announced the arrest of a Louisiana man in connection with human remains found in Banks County in February 2017.

In February 2017, the GBI Region 11 field office in Athens was requested by the Banks County Sheriff’s Office to process a scene where human remains were found in a wooded area there. 

On Tuesday, April 23, the GBI and the Moultrie Police Department, with the assistance of the St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana arrested Michael Heads, 49, for the murder of Shada Esther, that occurred on Aug. 23, 2016. Heads also was charged with two counts of felony financial transaction card fraud.

Heads was located in Slidell, La.

On Aug. 25, 2016, the Moultrie Police Department requested the GBI to assist with a missing person investigation after Shada Esther was reported missing by family when she did not pick up her three children at the school bus stop on Aug. 23, 2016. The investigation determined that she was last with her live-in boyfriend, Michael Heads. Heads left Moultrie and traveled to Atlanta within an hour of Esther’s last contact with anyone else. 

With the assistance of the GBI Region 10 field office in Conyers and Gwinnett County Police Department, Heads was interviewed, and his vehicle was processed for evidence, but Heads was not taken into custody at that time, according to GBI. Leads in the investigation continued to be followed. Heads later moved to Slidell, La.

In August 2017, after review by an anthropologist, it was noted that the remains had similarities to Esther, according to GBI. After reviewing a GISAC intelligence bulletin about the found remains, the assigned case agent contacted GBI Region 11 agents to learn more about evidence collected at the scene and specifics of the remains. That eventually led to the identification. 

In April 2019, the remains were confirmed by DNA analysis to be those of Shada Esther.

The GBI and Moultrie Police Department obtained arrest warrants and traveled to Slidell, La., to locate and arrest Heads. 

The St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office provided crucial assistance in locating and arresting Heads, according to GBI. The St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office also obtained search warrants so that additional evidence could be secured. 

The extradition process will begin in Louisiana to return Heads to Georgia to face criminal charges. 

The investigation is still active and ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Moultrie Police Department at (229) 985-3131 or the GBI Thomasville office at (229) 225-4090.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, U.S. News, Local/State News, Georgia News
  • Associated Tags: GBI, Banks County, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, arrest, death, investigation, human remains, Moultrie
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