Updated: Apr 10, 2021
By Joe Johnson
A Barrow County man on Wednesday was being held without bail after a woman’s body was found buried beneath his home Tuesday morning.
Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith said he hoped to learn Kim Mason’s cause of death from the results of an autopsy that was scheduled to take place today at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Crime Lab, but he doubted the information would be immediately available due to a backlog of cases at the lab.
The sheriff said there were no obvious signs of trauma to the woman’s body.
"I am hoping the autopsy will reveal any possible injuries and they can advise on a cause of death," Smith said.
In the meantime, 40-year-old Adam Heard is being held on charges of concealing the death of another, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of theft by taking and violating his probation.
“Based on the cause or manner of death will depend on if additional charges are taken,” Smith said.
Family members reported Mason missing from her Gwinnett residence after her vehicle was found abandoned in a parking lot Saturday afternoon.
Barrow County investigators went to Heard's house at 31 Tanners Bridge Road in Bethlehem Tuesday morning after receiving information related to the search for Mason, according to a media release from the sheriff’s office.
The missing woman’s sister posted on Facebook that she believed Mason, the mother of four boys, had been taken against her will.
While at Heard’s house, investigators “determined there was evidence of a crime and obtained a search warrant for the residence,” sheriff’s office said in its release.
During the search, authorities found Mason’s body buried in the crawl space underneath the house.
Deputies arrested Heard at the scene.
According to Smith, Heard and Mason had been romantically involved.
The case is being investigated by the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, the Gwinnett County Police Department and the GBI.