A man accused of murdering his common-law wife more than 27 years ago is now behind bars.
Kevin James Lee, 53, is charged with murder and concealing the death of Ann Margaret Berry in July 1991.
According to Major John Lewis with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Lee and Berry were living together with their two children, ages 1 and 2, at a home on Glover Road.
On the night of July 31, 1991, Berry called her sister on the phone and asked if she and the children could come live with her. The sister reportedly told police she could hear the children crying and Lee screaming in the background.
The sister offered to come pick her up, but Berry declined, citing her unwillingness to leave her car with Lee at their home, according to the warrant.
Berry told her sister she would be on her way with the children in a few hours, but they never arrived.
Lee told investigators at the time that Berry left with another man following their dispute and left the two children with him, according to Lewis.
Berry was listed as a missing person and was never seen again. Shortly after Berry’s disappearance, Lee left Coweta County where he later married another woman in Kansas.
The woman told police Lee was often abusive, threatened to kill her and said she was afraid to inquire about the whereabouts of his children’s mother, according to the warrant.
Only a year before Berry’s disappearance, Lee was changed with battery against Berry, but the charge was later dismissed for an unknown reason, the warrant stated.
Relatives of Berry also told police she was nearly 6 months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.
Twenty years later, Berry’s remains were discovered by several children who were preparing to camp in the woods near the residence. As they attempted to dig a fire pit, the boys found what they thought were roots, but then realized they were human bones.
The area was around 95 yards from where Lee and Berry were living in 1991, Lewis said.
In a hole around 18 inches deep, investigators found a human skull, jaw bone and bra strap.
The bones, located in the 3-by-2-foot hole, were heavily decomposed. Investigators found a variety of bones along with a decomposing bra, a bathing suit top and small bracelet.
The death was ruled a homicide because officers found a plastic grocery bag on the skull and the shallow grave.
DNA analysis conducted on the remains was compared with two of Berry's relatives, and investigators were able to confirm the bones belonged to Berry, according to the warrant.
In May 2012, warrants were issued against Lee for murder and concealing the death of another person.
However, tracking down Lee took some time.
With the help of a tip, Lewis recently learned Lee was residing in Richmond, Calif., and with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, Lee was arrested and eventually transported back to the Coweta County Jail.