By BRITTYNEY LOFTHOUSE
Macon County News contributing writer
Editor’s Note: This article is being republished here with permission from the Macon County News.
FRANKLIN – After a forensic investigation of the bone fragments recovered in May from a residence off Mulberry Road in Macon County, the victim has been identified as 42-year-old Tina Walkingstick Frizsell, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Frizsell was residing in Mountain City, Ga., when her brother, Gregory Justus, contacted local law enforcement reporting her missing in late May.
“Her family was instrumental in helping us identify her by providing DNA samples,” Macon County Sheriff Holland said. “Her family lives out of state and made trips back to Macon County to work with our staff.”
Frizsell, formerly of Cherokee, was thought to be murdered on May 16, one day prior to her 43rd birthday. Frizsell left behind two children.
“Based on credible information, two locations were considered to be possible crime scenes and meticulous searches would be conducted by our team,” Sheriff Robert Holland said in May. “The first crime scene was a location where the missing person was last seen alive and the second is where the missing person may currently be located.”
It is believed that Frizsell was shot in a shed on South Tryphosa Road near the border of Rabun County and then her body moved to an encampment off Mulberry Road where it was burned.
Christopher Shields, of Otto, was identified by Macon County Sheriff’s detectives as a person of interest early on and after initial investigation was initially arrested and charged with kidnapping. Three other individuals, Derek McCrackin, Jessica Smith, and Lenore Wilson were also arrested in connection with the disappearance of Frizsell and were charged with desecration of a corpse.
McCrackin and Smith were initially held at the Rabun County Detention Center after arrest while Shields was transported to Raleigh for safekeeping pending a positive identification of the remains.
After the remains found at the crime scene were identified as Frizsell, a Macon County Grand Jury heard evidence in the case and issued additional indictments for Shields, McCrackin, Wilson, and Smith related to the murder of Frizsell. As of press time, the indictments had not yet been served.