Georgia murder suspect found hiding in car trunk in I-81 corridor of Virginia

Car was about 4 miles off of Interstate 81 in southern Augusta County

Nakia Lanard West (Augusta County Sheriff's Office)

A Georgia man has been charged with murder in the death of a 59-year-old woman after he was caught hiding in a car trunk in Virginia.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that it had charged 26-year-old Nakia West with felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Annie Josie Chappell. She was found dead in her home in Dawson, Georgia, on Monday.

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West was arrested in Augusta County, Virginia in Greenville, on Wednesday after deputies found Chappell’s stolen Hyundai Elantra, apparently abandoned with the lights on in the middle of a road. Georgia investigators had been looking for the car.

The car was found in the 500 block of Stover School Road, about 4 miles off of Interstate 81.

Virginia sheriff’s deputies launched an intensive search in the area including dogs, but found no one. As they were towing the car, they found West hiding in the trunk with a gun. West is also charged with grand larceny in Virginia and is being extradited to Georgia.

It’s unclear if Annie Josie Chappell’s death is linked to a search for her cousin, Natonya Chappell, who is accused of murder in the Jan. 15 death of Tana Mullis in Leesburg, Georgia. The GBI didn’t immediately respond to questions Friday about whether agents believe Natonya Chappell, 41, was involved in Annie Josie Chappell’s death, or how Annie Josie Chappell died.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said authorities don’t believe Natonya Chappell was in Virginia at the time of West’s capture.

Natonya Chappell shot Mullis after a predawn argument with Mullis’ daughter, whom Natonya Chappell was dating, authorities said. GBI agents said a man who was a family friend was called to the home and also was shot and wounded. Officials said Natonya Chappell then broke into a nearby home, forced someone into a car and drove off. The carjacking victim jumped out and the car was later found abandoned.

WALB-TV reports Annie Josie Chappell was a lifelong Dawson resident who had 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.