No motive released in case of homeless man accused of killing father, burning body

Waylon Vernon Russell
Waylon Vernon Russell

A homeless Salisbury man has been charged with killing his father nearly 11 years ago in Georgia.

Waylon Vernon Russell, 42, was taken into custody at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the 300 block of East Liberty Street and is being held without bond at the Davidson County Jail awaiting extradition to Wayne County, Ga. He’s accused in the violent murder of Ronald Wilbur Russell, 63, of Wilmington, on Oct. 26, 2002.


Waylon Russell allegedly stabbed his father in the neck and then set him on fire, a U.S. Marshals Service news release said. He was arrested at the request of the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Asheboro Master Trooper W.A. Dees, who is assigned to the Task Force, aided in the arrest of Waylon Russell. Dees was not available for comment.

Mike McDaniel, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Kingsland office, said Ronald Russell was Waylon Russell’s father. McDaniel would not comment on what may have led to the killing.

McDaniel did confirm the body was burned to conceal the identity. According to a 2002 newspaper article published in the Georgia Times-Union, the body was found by fishermen at the edge of the Satilla River in Wayne County and was burned beyond recognition.

Ronald Russell’s body had been unidentified until recently. He was identified earlier this month through DNA comparison conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, officials with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Waylon Russell is charged with murder and additional charges are possible, the agency said.

Waylon Russell is believed to be homeless, authorities said. Officials at Rowan Helping Ministries said they could not comment on whether Russell had been a client.

There were multiple agencies involved in the investigation of this case including Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputies, crime lab and agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, investigators from Wilmington Police Department and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Social Security Administration also assisted in the investigation.

Wayne County Sheriff John G. Carter said in a statement he was thankful to all of those agencies involved for their assistance and persistence in the case. McDaniel also echoed the same sentiment saying he was appreciative of individuals and investigators who helped with the case.

The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force for the Middle District of North Carolina is comprised of the investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, Chapel Hill Police, Durham Police, Greensboro Police, High Point Police , Winston-Salem Police departments as well as the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Probation and Parole Division and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.


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