Missing man's body found in Meriwether
By Alex McRae
A Moreland area man reported missing by his family earlier this week was found dead in Meriwether County Wednesday afternoon of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Maj. James Yarbrough of the Coweta County Sheriff's Office.
Jeffrey Dennis Fontana, 43, reportedly left for work at Delta Monday at 3 a.m. Fontana never reported to work and did not return home later that day and was reported missing by his wife, Yarbrough said.
At the time, authorities said Fontana was taking medication for depression but was not believed to have his medication with him. He was also believed to be armed with a handgun at the time he went missing. At the time she reported him missing, Fontana's wife told authorities she was concerned he might try to harm himself.
After Fontana was reported missing, a lookout was issued for his 2000 Buick LeSabre.
Wednesday afternoon, a deer hunter spotted a similar vehicle on the side of Highway 362 between Greenville and Alvaton in Meriwether County. The hunter reported the vehicle to Meriwether County authorities who confirmed it was the vehicle being sought by Coweta authorities, Yarbrough said.
Coweta authorities were asked to assist and dogs from the Coweta County prison were brought in to search the area. The Coweta Sheriff's Office helicopter was also sent up to perform an aerial search, according to Yarbrough.
The helicopter was only airborne a few minutes before Coweta deputy Jeff Bugg, riding in the helicopter, spotted what he believed to be a body less than 100 yards from the vehicle, Yarbrough said. Search teams went in on foot and recovered the remains, soon confirmed as Fontana's.
Yarbrough said while the search was in progress, a Coweta deputy was with Fontana's wife to offer any comfort or assistance needed. Following standard procedure, the remains were taken to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy although foul play is not suspected, Yarbrough said.