Gadsden man charged with girlfriend's murder - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Gadsden man charged with girlfriend's murder

Leon Marbury. Source: Etowah County Sheriff's Office Leon Marbury. Source: Etowah County Sheriff's Office
Police were called to the Forest River apartments to conduct a welfare check on Vanessa Lee. Her body was later found several miles away. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Police were called to the Forest River apartments to conduct a welfare check on Vanessa Lee. Her body was later found several miles away. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) -

A Gadsden man has been formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend after her body was discovered on Monday night.

Police officers were called to the Forest River Apartments on George Wallace Drive around 8:34 a.m. on Monday to conduct a welfare check on the victim, 41-year-old Vanessa Christine Lee.

Police say they found blood on the carpet of the apartment Lee shared with her boyfriend, 53-year-old Leon Marbury III.

The crime scene was so large that one resident said she had to call in to work because she wasn't allowed to leave her apartment or drive her car through the parking lot.

The search of a dumpster ignited false but persistent rumors among the residents, but Captain Paul Cody confirmed detectives did find evidence there.

"We did search a dumpster, and we did find evidence in that dumpster, and that evidence was collected. We did not find any bodies or any victims of any sort," he said.

The Etowah County Rescue Squad was also called in to search the Coosa River behind Forest River Apartments.

"We had concerns about where Miss Lee was, and to rule out the possibility that she was in the Coosa River, we requested the assistance of the Etowah County Rescue Squad," Cody explained.

"They assisted us by putting in a diver and conducting a drag operation," he said.

Monday night, detectives with the department's missing persons division found Lee's body at the intersection of David and Fain Streets in East Gadsden, several miles away.

Police declined to give a cause of death or describe whether the body was wrapped up in anything. Her body has been sent to a state forensics lab for an autospy.

Marbury was taken into custody for questioning on Monday and charged with first degree hindering prosecution.

He has since been charged with murder and is being held on no bond in the Etowah County Jail.

Captain Cody said the two lived together, and that Lee's death being the result of a domestic dispute is "a pretty safe assumption at this point." He says the investigation is continuing.

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