Police: Two more men helped conceal burned woman's death

Two other men helped conceal the body of a 38-year-old waitress whose body was found in a southeast Bibb County ditch almost a year ago, according to an arrest warrant.

Tommy Lee Zellner Jr., 26, was charged Monday with concealing a death in connection with the death of 38-year-old Melissa Peters Rushing.

Zellner’s arrest warrant lists the names of two other men who “did in concert” help conceal Rushing’s body. The men, both 36 and from Macon, have not been arrested or charged with a crime, however.

Bibb County sheriff’s Capt. Mike Smallwood said a grand jury will decide whether there’s enough evidence for an arrest.

“They did not take part in the killing,” he said.

Gregory Dewayne Miller, 37, of a Merriwood Drive address, was charged with murder June 4 and is being held at the Bibb County jail without bond.

The warrant alleges that Zellner drove Miller and one of the other men to Bondsview Road, where a logging crew later discovered Rushing’s badly burned body about 6 a.m. Aug. 7, 2008.

Authorities said she had been beaten to death and her body set on fire.

Rushing’s hands, feet and neck had been bound with cord and a plastic bag placed over her head, according to Miller’s arrest warrant.

Autopsy results showed Rushing died from a beating, facial trauma and asphyxiation.

Smallwood said Zellner and the two Macon men were acquaintances of Rushing and Miller.

Zellner, of Fairburn, is being held at the Bibb County jail on a $5,700 bond, according to jail records.

Miller is also a person of interest in a similar Clayton County death. Kennoa Janella Fitzpatrick, 19, of Macon, was found beaten and burned June 19, 2002, in College Park, authorities have said. He has not been charged in Fitzpatrick’s death.

Before her death, Rushing had worked as a waitress at Steak n’ Shake restaurants near Macon Mall and on Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard. She also worked at the now closed Macon Diner.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.