In May, Elizabeth Lipsey reported her adult son missing. Statesboro police opened an investigation, but no clues as to Victor Sweet's location arose, until his remains were discovered in a shallow grave in Jenkins County two weeks ago.
Teenage hunters found a partial skeleton, which was apparently scattered by logging equipment, in some woods off Edna Lanier Road in Jenkins County on Dec. 31, said Jenkins County Sheriff Robert Oglesby.
He said foul play is "definitely" suspected, and the investigation was turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Lipsey said her son's body was found in what looked like a shallow grave.
"They were doing some pulp wood work and where it looks like they put him in a shallow grave was dug up," she said.
Oglesby said a wallet was found with Sweet's remains, but the sheriff had no further information to release other than the remains appeared to have been scattered. He said preliminary tests proved DNA confirms the remains are Sweet's; both he and GBI Special Agent-in-Charge Catherine Sapp of the Statesboro office confirmed Sweet's remains have been sent to a crime lab in Tennessee for further forensic tests to possibly determine the cause of death.
Sweet was last seen alive by his family on May 3. Lipsey said she came home from work that morning to find her son, who lived with her at their Proctor Street home, asleep. He had walked to Ellis Meat Market, where he bought food for breakfast, and cooked himself a meal, she said. He walked because his car was in the body shop for repairs after an accident a few weeks earlier.
She later took him to his cousin's home at Wildwood Villas in Statesboro. The cousin, who is legally blind, told her Sweet "got a call and said he was leaving," Lipsey said. The cousin didn't know who picked Sweet up, and could not identify a vehicle due to his blindness, she said.
Sometime that evening she missed a phone call from Sweet while she dined with friends. When she called him back to ask what he wanted, "he said, ‘Nothing, Ma,'" she said. "Those were the last words I ever heard from my child."
Sweet, who turned 24 in September, was "quiet, humble and respectful," and liked playing video games when he was not working at a landscaping job with Georgia Southern University, she said.
He had graduated from automotive college in Nashville, Tennessee, three years earlier, but decided to work full time at Georgia Southern so he could "buy nice things," she said. He was making payments on his car, which he loaned to friends often, she said.
"People took advantage of him. He was so easy and helped everybody," Lipsey said. "I really don't think he had any enemies."
She wonders daily what happened to her son. Questions repeat themselves over and over. "Why? Who did this? What happened?" she said. "Somebody knows. Somebody saw him with somebody. Please, tell the police. Call the hotline (and leave an anonymous tip)."
The emotional pain never ends, and Lipsey said she won't rest until she knows what happened to her son.
"Just come out and tell me," she pleaded to those who know what happened to Sweet. "Why couldn't they just bring him home? He had to know the person who picked him up. We just don't know what happened."
Anyone with information about Sweet's disappearance and death may call Statesboro police at (912) 764-9911) or the Statesboro GBI office at (912) 871-1121.