Body found in national forest sets off manhunt in Georgia, cops say. Now two arrested

A Georgia man and his son were driving to pick up a paycheck when a hitchhiker on the side of the road stuck his hand out, he told news outlets.

“I told my son, ‘Let’s get him,’ Russell Jimmerson told WXIA. “I help everybody.”

He didn’t know it at the time, but he told the news outlet the man he picked up was later identified as a murder suspect from North Carolina wanted in a multi-agency manhunt, according to state officials.

Police told McClatchy News the man had been hitchhiking before he was found.

Deputies had “received information that a man killed a person and disposed of the body,” Rabun County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. They reached out to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Aug. 6 for assistance in the investigation, deputies said.

A day later, state and county law enforcement found the body in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, according to the sheriff’s office.

That prompted a manhunt for 23-year-old Keegan Cleve Phillips that ended near a small town of Gillsville, about 50 miles from where officials said the body was found.

Several county sheriff’s offices, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office and the Georgia State Patrol descended on the area near Gillsville Highway, according to a new release.

They found Phillips Aug. 8 when a resident of Gillsville tipped off local authorities, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. A K-9 unit located him, and he was arrested and charged with murder, officials said.

Another man was arrested in connection with the killing, deputies said. The 62-year-old man from Lula was charged with concealing a death and unlawful disposal of a body. He and Phillips are being held at the Rabun County Detention Center, records show.

The investigation is ongoing, authorities said. They have not released the name of the victim.

Gillsville is about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta.

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