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Slaying suspect in custody

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Shelbyville man has been charged in connection with the slaying of a Murfreesboro woman whose body was discovered two weeks ago near Wartrace.

Donald Ray "Donnie" Sachs, 40, of Scudder Drive, is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Joyce Mattis, 52, whose remains were found June 4 in a wooded area off Cannon Road, Sheriff Randall Boyce said. The charge was filed late Tuesday afternoon.

Other charges may eventually follow, according to Boyce.

A preliminary hearing for Sachs is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 25.

"She was a prostitute," Boyce said. "He (Sachs) picked her up in Murfreesboro and brought her over here."

Mattis was beaten to death where her body was found, Boyce said. The state medical examiner's office said last week the cause of death was determined to be "blunt trauma."

Talks with Sachs led to the charge, the sheriff said. Sachs had reported the death to Bedford County authorities June 4, Detective Brian Farris said, telling authorities at the time that he had stumbled upon it while fishing.

Mattis' body was found an estimated seven or more days after her death, according to investigators. Fingerprint and DNA tests were used by the state to determine Mattis' identity.

"This was a very long, hard deal," Boyce said. "We, Detectives Brian Farris and Billy Smith, working with the TBI, spent a lot of hours and went to a lot of time and trouble, but finally got to the truth.

"It was a lot of police work, that's all I can say right now."

Rutherford County investigators said the woman had been reported missing by her husband four days before the body was found.

Murfreesboro radio station WGNS previously reported that Mattis and her husband were homeless, lived in a tent and communicated with walkie-talkies.