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Human remains found in Social Circle; identity unknown

LAWRENCEVILLE - Unidentified human remains discovered in a shallow grave in Social Circle on Tuesday may be those of a woman who disappeared 10 months ago off the streets of this quiet city in southern Walton County, officials said.

Authorities said it may be six weeks before DNA comparisons of the decayed remains can establish whether the remains are those of 39-year-old Tina Marie Hill, who went missing in May 2005. An autopsy was being performed Wednesday to determine the age, race and sex of the person found buried in a wooded area off Spring Street, said Chief Jeff Johnson of Social Circle Department of Public Safety.

Johnson believes the person buried at the remote site was probably a victim of foul play.

Someone in the community heard Hill's body was possibly buried in the location and notified police on Monday, Johnson said. The grave was discovered by officers on Tuesday.

"This one particular location was interesting because there was a depression in the ground, the ground was soft and it looked the area had been disturbed," Johnson said.

The body was buried about 18 inches underground and folded, he said.

Police searched extensively for Hill after she was reported missing, but found no sign of her. Hill was last seen walking down Holly Street on May 12, 2005. She was known to be involved with drugs, Johnson said.

Hill had also suffered an aneurysm several years prior to her disappearance that caused diminished mental capacity. A person who served as a trustee and supervised Hill's disability income reported her missing in late May.

"This town was combed from one end to the other looking for her in any place that she might possibly be," Johnson said. "I believe those woods actually were checked. Obviously, the grave wasn't noticed."