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Lawrenceville woman found dead, drugs suspected

Shara Clanton, 26, was reported missing on Sept. 12. Her body was found Tuesday night outside a Duluth hotel.

Shara Clanton, 26, was reported missing on Sept. 12. Her body was found Tuesday night outside a Duluth hotel.

DULUTH — The body of 26-year-old Shara Clanton, a Lawrenceville woman missing for more than a week, was found Tuesday night in the parking lot of an extended stay hotel. Police believe drugs were likely involved in her death.

Clanton’s mother filed a missing persons report for her daughter on Sept. 12, two days after she had failed to return to their Lawrenceville home and didn’t pick her 5-year-old son up at daycare. Clanton had a history of drug use but had been off of methadone for at least three months, her sister told the Daily Post.

At about 5 p.m. Tuesday, a body identified as Clanton’s was found in her vehicle outside the Candlewood Suites on Shackleford Road in unincorporated Duluth. “Quite a bit of decomposition” indicated she had likely been deceased “for at least a few days,” Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said, and drug paraphernalia was reportedly found in the car.

“Drugs are suspected,” Smith said, “but the detective is still looking into it. We do not have a toxicology report or autopsy report yet.”

There were no obvious signs of foul play, Smith said. A detective had been assigned to the case just hours before Clanton’s body was found.