A memorial service for Debora Gail DeLoach Moody was held Dec. 14 in Long County, bringing some closure to her family and to a community that spent the last 12 years hoping she would be found alive.
Her father Bill Clark spoke about his daughter’s memory and her son Christian Merrill wrote a poem in her memory. Family and friends clung together, tears flowing as Pastor Tim Parrish offered prayers and words of encouragement.
And while it offered much closure, for at least one person the questions still lingered.
“I would like to know why he did what he did and I would like to know where her body is,” said Moody’s mom, Melanie Clark.
Moody was reported missing by her family Dec. 10, 2007. She was last seen by a friend late on the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2007 at her home located off of S. T. Morris Road N. E., Long County.
Over the next 11-½ years, the Long County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation followed leads and conducted searches in hopes of locating Moody, each time unsuccessful.
A possible break in the cold case emerged in September 2010 when former Liberty County Jailer Kenneth William Lumpkin was arrested and later pled guilty to the murder of Lori Arrowood. Lumpkin was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and remains in jail.
Due to similarities in the cases between Arrowood and Moody, investigators explored the murderer’s past in an effort to determine any connection to Moody. They found Lumpkin knew Moody but there was no evidence linking them to one another at the time of her disappearance.
Lumpkin remained one of several suspects in her disappearance and was interviewed by authorities multiple times over the years. Each time Lumpkin denied having any information pertaining to or being involved in Moody’s disappearance.
However in June of this year, Lumpkin was again interviewed by investigators, including a representative from the Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
After consulting family members, Lumpkin was offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for information concerning Moody’s disappearance and the location of her remains. Lumpkin agreed to this and confessed to her slaying, giving authorities an approximate location where he hid her body.
Investigators have searched the area multiple times and as of this date have been unsuccessful in locating any items of interest.
Lumpkin’s confession reportedly was corroborated during the investigation and authorities said they have no reason to believe that anyone else participated or had knowledge of Lumpkin’s actions.
At the service Clark said things will still never be the same but are slowly getting better.
“She is at peace and I’m getting to the point where I have peace,” Clark said.
Below is Merrill’s poem.
Only Angels ask you to make a wish
By Christian Merrill
Your smile, your tender loving eyes pierce my soul.
Waiting, wishing only another day with your arms wrapped around my neck.
Softly and tenderly kissing my cheek as the words, “I love you,” flows from your lips.
The sky turns from orange to red as tears fall from angels overlooking the lost and weary.
Dark falls, the stars wince from the Heavens.
I wish upon the emptiness on the shimmer of hope, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight.
Yet, I awake to find the walls are still empty and the barricades are still strong.
Another day goes as another is soon to come.
Your smile never seems to fade: your skin never seems to grow old.
Another year has gone by, I blew my candles out, and I sang Happy Birthday.
But it doesn’t feel the same without the voice standing behind me, saying make a wish.
“I love you.”