Overview of Rhonda Sue Coleman
Rhonda Sue Coleman was born on January 18, 1972, and was raised in Hazlehurst, Georgia.
Rhonda was a senior at Jeff Davis High School and a member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America), and the Epilogue Y-Club. She worked as a cashier at a local grocery store, Piggly Wiggly and was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church of Hazlehurst.
She had plans to attend Georgia State University in the fall and had dreams of being a pediatric nurse.
Rhonda rarely went out on school nights.
May 17, 1990, was different. Rhonda and her friends were decorating their graduation banners ahead of their June 2nd graduation. It was a senior tradition, so her parents obliged. She left home at 7:00 pm.
By 10:00 p.m., Rhonda left the decorating party. She wanted to leave herself enough time to stop at Hardee’s on the way home in time for her 10:30 p.m. curfew. Rhonda was punctual; therefore, when she didn’t return home in time for her 10:30 p.m. curfew, her father feared the worst. During this same time, one of Rhonda’s friends, Layla found her 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier along a dirt road. Layla did not attend the decorating party due to work.
It was approximately 20 feet from Bell Telephone Road. The lights were on, the motor was running, the door adjar and her purse was still inside. There were footprints leading from her car toward tire tracks of another vehicle. These tire marks indicated that another vehicle, other than Layla’s, had pulled over on the side of the road that night. Layla turned the car engine off, and returned back to her boyfriend's house to contact police. After they call the police, Layla and her boyfriend return back to where Rhonda's car is parked.
After approximately 20 minutes and no sign of the police, Layla returns back to her boyfriend’s home to call the police again. By 11:00 p.m., Rhonda’s father, Milton decided to look for her. By 11:40 p.m. the police had arrived on the scene, and there was no sign of Rhonda.
Three days later, Rhonda’s body was discovered by a man walking his dog through the Montgomery County Woods. Her remains were found partially burned.
Where the case stands today.
Rhonda’s case remains unsolved. In 2023, the Coleman-Baker act was signed into Georgia law. The act aims to provide $5.4 million to aid in solving cold case homicides by establishing a unit dedicated to solving cases with the GBI. Tara's family is still demanding justice.
If you have any information regarding the unsolved murder of Rhonda Sue Coleman, please contact the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103.