The drive from Fairmont, W.Va., to the Bartow County remote trash site where Courtney Nicole Dubois’ dismembered body was discarded is around 580 miles. The traffic maps show it as a roughly nine-hour drive, mostly on interstates 81 and 75. Another route, on I-64 and then I-75, takes at least 40 minutes longer. The third route, using some less-traveled highways, comes in at almost 10 hours.
For authorities investigating the murder of the 20-year-old Arby’s employee, any route might as well take forever. The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, the Fairmont, W. Va., Police Department, the GBI and the FBI have solved just one part of the case: The identity of the tattooed woman found in pieces at the Bartow County Landfill on Aug. 13.
What’s next is solving how and why Dubois died as well as why her body wound up first at the Cedar Creek Collection Center at 15 Cedar Creek Road just off U.S. 41 and a bit of a drive from I-75.
Authorities believe the bags with her body parts were left between 3 and 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the center. It would be almost 48 additional hours until a sanitation worker at the county landfill spotted her torso.
It took another three weeks to positively identify Dubois, even as social media postings all but solved the mystery on Aug. 31 by using earlier photos of Dubois to match with the picture of her distinct chest tattoo released by the sheriff’s office. Bartow Sheriff Clark Millsap confirmed Wednesday evening that dental records were used by medical examiners with the GBI to confirm Dubois’ identity. The records had been provided by her family.
Said Millsap in a Wednesday night media release: “This is an important step in the investigative process and allows law enforcement to focus specifically on Courtney Dubois from this point and going forward.”
That “focus” likely means talking to former coworkers at the Arby’s in Fairmont, where Dubois moved after graduating from Limestone Community School in Limestone, Maine, in 2015. One of her three Facebook pages shows she’s from Green Bay, Wisc.; another lists McDonald’s as her employer. All three show similar images of friends and family.
Investigators will have to sift through the growing number of Facebook pages and posts about the case. As of Wednesday evening, several writers were exchanging details on her family tree, who reported what and when to Fairmont police and similar information. What’s real and what’s social media drama will be left to investigators to sort.
From Thursday’s The Times West Virginian:
It was confirmed by the Fairmont Police Department Wednesday that a person reported missing in Fairmont, Courtney Dubois, was positively identified by authorities in Georgia. “We are confident that Courtney’s demise was an isolated incident not connected to a random act of violence, and communities here and in Georgia need not be unduly worried about their safety,” Fairmont Police Chief Steve Shine stated in an email Wednesday night. “Our agency WILL NOT release information that will be detrimental to an ongoing criminal investigation, in which we do have leads. Our goal of being able to hold person(s) accountable is of utmost importance to us.” The lead investigator on the case for Fairmont is Detective Brice Fisher, Shine stated, adding that anyone with knowledge of Dubois’ death or disappearance can reach him at (304) 366-4200. Expanded story
The timeline of this case:
- Aug. 11: The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office believes Dubois’ remains were left at the Cedar Creek Collection Center at 15 Cedar Creek Road — between Adairsville and Cartersville — during the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.
- Aug. 13: A dumpster from that site was taken to Bartow County Landfill where the remains were found around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 13. Dubois’ body had been dismembered and placed in separate bags. A sanitation worker spotted the torso of a woman, which led to the discovery of the other remains.
- Aug. 13-31: The sheriff’s office, assisted by the GBI and FBI, continued investigating leads into the identity of the woman.
- Aug. 23: Sgt. Jonathan Rogers from the sheriff’s office joined us on Hometown Radio on WRGA 98.7 FM to say the agency was receiving 30 to 40 calls a day to the agency’s tip line.
- Aug. 26: A woman believed to be Dubois’ mother, Lisa Dubois, posts the following on Facebook: “My daughter has been missing for two weeks plz call if you have seen her or know what happened. I love u with all my heart I won’t stop till I find you.”
- Aug. 31: Social media users establish a link between the images of the victim’s tattoos to the Facebook page, Missing in West Virginia. The biggest link: Matching Dubois’ distinctive chest tattoo to her images in the above pictures.
- Sept. 5: GBI medical examiners, using dental records from the family, confirms the victim’s identity as Courtney Nicole Dubois, 20, of Fairmont, W.Va.
Link to our previous stories on this case. Courtney Dubois