UPDATED 10:50 a.m. Friday:

We're learning more details about Shirley Hodges' death.

NEWS7's Holly Pietrzak just spoke with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office's chief investigator Bo Jolly.

He says when Shirley Hodges' body was found in Alabama, there were no obvious cause of death.

Jolly says the body was found by kids who were hunting.

Hodges' remains are in Huntsville, Alabama, with the medical examiner.

They will eventually be released to the family.

Jolly tells NEWS7 that in his 13-year career, this is the first time they've found a body and had little indication whose it was.

Hodges was last seen August 31 with Stanley Crotts.

Crotts killed himself in Texas.

Crotts had done day labor work in Alabama.

Here is the news release from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office:

According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, the human remains found on October 1, 2011, by hunters on property off Alabama Highway 68 near Sand Rock have positively been identified as 64 year old Shirley Ann Hodges.  Ms. Hodges was last seen by family members on August 31, 2011, just before dark arguing with her boyfriend, Stanley David Crotts, in the yard of her home in Rocky Mount, Virginia.  Hodges vehicle was also missing.  

Crotts had made statements over a year ago that he could kill Hodges in her sleep and dump her body in Alabama, and she would never be found.  He was described as a drifter or loner and had done day labor work in Alabama and Louisiana.  By checking cell phone and financial records, Virginia authorities tracked Crotts’ movements through Alabama to Texas, and they issued a BOLO for Crotts in Texas.  Crockett Texas Police Department located the vehicle at a motel, and as officers attempted to make contact, Crotts shot himself in the head and died.  Other evidence found with the vehicle confirm Crotts as Hodges’ killer.

The Calhoun/Cleburne County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force assisted with the examination and processing of the crime scene.  Based on results of the scene examination and communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the Task Force a potential victim was identified.  Coordination between the Cherokee County Alabama and Franklin County Virginia Sheriff’s Offices and the Task Force resulted in the remains being identified through DNA testing at the Center for Human Identification in Fort Worth, Texas.

Sheriff Shaver would like to thank Mark Hopwood for assisting Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Investigators Seth Rochester and Bo Jolly in the investigation and identification of the victim in this case.


A missing woman from Franklin County has been found dead.

Shirley Hodges disappeared from her Rocky Mount home on August 31.

NEWS7 has learned that she has been found dead.

The last person to see her alive, Stanley David Cross, was found dead in Texas on September 2.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Hodges' remains were found by a hunter on Oct. 3 in Cherokee County, Alabama.

Through DNA analysis, the remains were identified as Hodges' on Wednesday.

NEWS7 spoke with Hodges' daughter, Tracy Ayers, on Thursday.

She told us that Alabama investigators told her in October that a body had been found.

She said she they confirmed to her at 3:30 p.m. Thursday that the body was her mother's.

Tracy Ayers says she plans to bring her mom back to Franklin County and bury her with family.

She also plans to eventually drive to Alabama and put a cross where her mother's body was found.

Here is the news release from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office:

On Friday September 2, 2011 the family of Shirley Hodges reported to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office that Ms. Hodges had not been seen or heard from since Wednesday August 31, 2011. Investigators learned that Ms. Hodges had an argument with her boyfriend Stanley David Crotts Wednesday afternoon and Mr. Crotts and her 2004 Chevrolet Malibu could not be located.  Investigators, through financial and phone records, contacted Crockett Police Department in Crockett Texas on Friday night to attempt to locate Hodges, Crotts, or the vehicle.  Crockett Police Department located Ms. Hodges’ vehicle at a local motel.  As authorities were attempting to make contact with Mr. Crotts in the motel room, he took his life with a handgun very similar to one reported missing from Ms. Hodges. 

Investigators from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Crockett Texas and attempted to track down any potential leads or clues to the whereabouts of Ms. Hodges.  Investigators suspected foul play after Ms. Hodges’ trailer in Franklin County and the Texas scenes were processed.  Ms. Hodges was entered as a missing person and her DNA profile was entered in a National Missing Persons Database.  Searches were conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office using canines in Franklin County as well as the family organizing searches on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Through the course of the investigation, Investigators learned that Crotts had made threats in the past that he could kill Ms. Hodges and take her to Alabama and no one would ever find her.  Crotts had lived and worked in Alabama in the past and had ties to Florida and Texas.  Franklin County Investigators had been in contact with numerous agencies around the country in regards to any missing or unidentified remains and compared case facts.

On October 3, 2011, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama located unidentified remains reported by a property owner scouting for the upcoming hunting season.  The remains were at the edge of a clearing or pull-off off of Hwy 68 a few miles from Interstate 59.  Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office after receiving a bulletin from the Regional Organized Criminal Information Center.  They informed us of the located remains and advised they would be conducting DNA analysis on the remains.  On January 11, 2012, the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification confirmed, with statistical certainty, the remains located in Cherokee County Alabama were those of Shirley Hodges.  At this time the cause and manner of death have not been determined. 

Investigator Sigmon with the Franklin County Sheriff’ Office would like to express how supportive and cooperative the family of Ms. Hodges has been during the entire investigation.  Tracy Ayers, the daughter of Ms. Hodges has been extremely strong during this investigation and has diligently worked to locate her mother.  We now hope the Hodges family can start to emotionally heal from this tragic event.