Pair arrested for murder of missing Marshall County woman

Pair arrested for murder of missing Marshall County woman
Judith McElroy Carranza (Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Department)
Judith McElroy Carranza (Source: Marshall County Sheriff's Department)
Investigators are at the home of Elizabeth Austin on Wednesday afternoon. (Source: WAFF Staff)
Investigators are at the home of Elizabeth Austin on Wednesday afternoon. (Source: WAFF Staff)
The body was found near this road in Etowah County. (Source: WAFF Staff)
The body was found near this road in Etowah County. (Source: WAFF Staff)

ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A man and a woman were arrested in Panama City, FL on Tuesday for the murder of the woman's aunt, who was reported missing Monday.

Marshall County sheriff's officials say Judith McElroy Carranza's body was found near Little Cove Road at Cove Springs Road in Etowah County late Tuesday night. Carranza was 60 years old.

A search took place at a home on Walker Road in the town of Horton in Marshall County on Wednesday evening. Investigators say Carranza was killed by her niece and her niece's husband. It appears she died from strangulation, according to investigators.

The two warrants the pair is wanted for include fugitive from justice and murder by strangulation.

Bay County sheriff's deputies got information from Etowah County officials that an Elizabeth Dawn Austin was wanted in Alabama for armed robbery. Bay County authorities spotted the woman's vehicle and arrested her and another man, Curtis Lee Austin, in the parking lot of a JC Penney's in Panama City. 

Investigators then received information from the Marshall County Sheriff's Department that the pair might be involved in Carranza's death. After police read Elizabeth Austin her rights, she confessed to the armed robbery and admitted that she helped Curtis Austin bury her aunt in Etowah County.

Elizabeth is 29-years-old, according to the investigator.

The pair are being held being held on a $250,000 bond each. When they are returned to Marshall County, they will be charged with murder. 

They are both charged with child abuse in Etowah County. They were arrested in November and the case has been bound over to a grand jury. Court documents state Elizabeth Curtis "aided and abetted by not reporting or stopping the abuse by her husband."

Attalla Police Chief Dennis Walker says the robbery occurred at Babe's Lounge, a gentlemen's club in Atalla. Walker said there was evidence in the car in Panama City that tied the pair to the robbery, which happened on Saturday between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. Curtis Austin was the department's suspect in the robbery.

The man and woman's relationship is unclear. 

Sheriff's officials say even though the Carranza's body was found in Etowah County, authorities believe the crime was committed in Marshall County.

The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All right reserved.