Women bury family members in back yard in two separate cases

Augusta, Georgia: 43-year-old Melissa Lockhart is behind bars after she was found to have concealed her mother's body in a shallow grave in the back yard of a home they shared.


On the night of June 3 officers with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office were called to the residence for a "suspicious situation."


Lockhart was found inside the home with what was later diagnosed as a broken right knee. She was transported to Augusta University Medical Center for treatment.


While continuing to examine the residence officers noticed what appeared to be recently disturbed ground in the yard after receiving "word of a possible recent death at the residence."


Inside, the remains of Lockhart's mother, 67-year-old Miriam Lockhart.


During an interview with Lockhart, "Melissa Lockhart advised she located Miriam Lockhart deceased in bed on 05/31/21, Monday or 06/01/21, Tuesday." She told officers that "she did not want anyone to take" her mother "from her or to cut" on her.


An autopsy is underway to confirm identity and establish a cause of death.


WYFF reports that in February officers and medics were called to the home on a call of someone having difficulty breathing. They report that at that time Miriam told officers that she could barely move, hadn't left the home in years, and was afraid that her daughter would harm her.


Lockhart has been charged with concealing a death and probation violation.


In Tampa, Florida 67-year-old Debra Pais Patton has been arrested for the death of her sister, 66-year-old Karen Pais who she had allegedly buried in a shallow grave in the back yard of the home the two women had shared since approximately 2010.


According to a detailed account written by Tony Marrero of the Tampa Bay Times the two women had a strained relationship and while cohabitating, rarely actually interacted with each other.


Friends though, reported that Karen would occasionally tell them. "If you find me dead, it was Debra."

Friends advised her to have Patton move out, but she would reportedly tell them that she couldn't do that to family and that her sister had no where to go.


Karen was last seen by friends on May 24.


On May 30 officers responded to the residence after friends had called to request a welfare check.


Officers spoke with Patton and she is said to have given "inconsistent statements."


The following day officers returned with a search warrant and began to look into an area of recently disturbed dirt in the back yard. Approximately 2 feet down they located what would end up being confirmed as the remains of Karen wrapped in black trash bags and fabric, bound with bungie cords and duct tape.


Her death was ruled to be a homicide caused by a single gunshot wound to the chest.


Patton has been charged with abuse of a dead human body and second degree murder with a firearm. She remains in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail in lieu of $255,000 bail.