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Husband charged with murder after positive ID

Tonya Faye Lynn

Tonya Faye Lynn

WINDER -- Barrow County authorities on Saturday charged a Winder man with murder after discovering his wife's body at the bottom of a well near the Gwinnett County line.

Authorities believe James Morris Lynn, 43, killed his wife, Tonya Faye Lynn, 38, whom family members had reported missing Wednesday.

Police recovered the body from a well off Etheridge Road in Auburn, and Georgia Crime Lab officials confirmed the body was Tonya Lynn, a mother of four. Records show the couple had a tumultuous relationship, and charges indicate the killing was domestic.

An autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is under way to pinpoint a cause of death. Police won't divulge what led them to the well.

No court appearances for James Lynn had been scheduled as of Saturday. According to the Barrow County Detention Center, he's charged with murder, felony murder, battery family violence and obstruction of an officer.

It remains to be seen if the first cause for alarm -- a cryptic text message sent Wednesday from Tonya Lynn's cellphone asking her niece to take care of the kids -- was actually sent by the victim, or a third party trying to paint the killing as a suicide.

Alarmed, the niece called Tonya Lynn's phone back to find it was turned off. She set out looking for her aunt, but found only her locked Chevy Tahoe abandoned at a public library near the Lynn residence, police said.

James Lynn was taken into custody early Friday on obstruction charges after police determined he'd lied to them earlier in the investigation, authorities said.

He was arrested in May for battery against his wife and obstruction of police. A temporary protective order was lodged between the couple as a condition of James Lynn's release following that arrest. Tonya Lynn reportedly requested that order be dropped after his release.

Tonya Lynn, employed by Athens Regional Medical Center, failed to report to work Wednesday. She'd last been seen alive by a neighbor at her residence about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

Her four children range in age from 7 to 14.