Police close the case of two friends murdered in Georgia despite family’s pleas for answers

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Authorities in Georgia have closed an investigation into a mysterious pair of fatal shootings that left three people dead, including two close friends who were gunned down in front of their home-office and a neighbor whose body was found days later, police said Thursday.

Columbus Police Department Det. Anthony Locey confirmed the status of the case in an email to NBC News.

The development has left the friends’ relatives furious, with both families questioning the investigation and saying they were never alerted to the department’s decision to officially close the investigation examining the March 7 killing of Ronisha “Nikki” Anderson, 51, and Juantonja Richmond, 52.

Solomon Adams, 51, lived next door to Anderson and was found dead inside his home on March 9.

“It’s pitiful that we have two women who were brutally murdered in broad daylight and from the start of this investigation it’s been riddled with issues and inconsistencies and a lack of attention,” said Brittany Anderson, Nikki Anderson’s niece. 

Juantonja Richmond and Ronisha "Nikki" Anderson.
Juantonja Richmond and Ronisha “Nikki” Anderson.Family photos

“They didn’t have enough decency to let the families know the case was closed,” she said. “That’s not only distressing, that’s disrespectful.”

Andrionna Williams, a spokeswoman for Richmond’s family, said her relatives had also not been notified.

“It’s extremely difficult on them,” she said.

Niether Locey nor a department spokeswoman responded to additional requests for comment. In a statement last year, the spokeswoman said the department’s violent crimes unit was “working diligently to bring the case to a resolve and, more importantly, bring the victims’ families closure.”

Besides a brief statement on Facebook, the department has said little else about the case publicly.

Nikki Anderson, a mother of three, was shot once in the head outside the home-office where she did billing for her ex-husband’s counseling practice, according to her death certificate. Richmond, a former Army sergeant who worked with Anderson, was shot in the neck and chest, according to her autopsy.

Adams, a convicted sex offender who served more than a decade in a Florida prison, suffered a single gunshot wound to the head that may have been self-inflicted, according to a coroner’s report. Authorities have not provided additional details about Adams’ death and it isn’t clear if it was ruled a suicide.

A deputy coroner who responded to his home found notes scattered around his home suggesting he had been targeted by “an individual and or gang members.”

Anderson’s sister told NBC News in December that the department had planned on closing the case and making an announcement about it after Jan. 1. Brittany Anderson said no announcement was made and there was no follow up with her family. She said she learned the case was closed after emailing Locey on Jan. 22.

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Locey previously told NBC News he planned on putting out a release on the case after the New Year. He did not respond to a request Wednesday for the release. He also has not responded to multiple requests for comment on details that one of Nikki Anderson’s sisters, Therasa Anderson, said he provided about the shootings during a December phone call.

According to Therasa Anderson, Locey said Adams appears to have “snapped” and killed the two women. 

Locey cited a witness who said she heard the gunfire and saw Adams in the home’s front yard in an apparent panic, Therasa Anderson said. Locey also pointed to Adams’ estranged wife, who told police that Adams confessed to doing “something bad” after the shooting.

Nikki Anderson’s relatives have said the motive doesn’t make sense — she had a good neighborly relationship with Adams — and investigators previously told the family there were no witnesses to the shooting, Brittany Anderson said. She said investigators told her a delivery driver who found their bodies dialed 911.

In an interview with NBC News last year, Adams’ estranged wife, Arimentha Adams, did not indicate that Solomon Adams said he’d done something bad. Shortly after the two women were killed, he asked her to summon authorities to his home the next day, Arimentha said, adding that she didn’t ask why because they were separated.

Arimentha said that someone from the Columbus Police Department later told her that Solomon Adams had nothing to do with the shootings.

NBC News has not been able to reach Arimentha for clarification.

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