On Monday, Georgia police said missing mom Autumn Finlay was being held hostage by her boyfriend, who is wanted for murder. Now authorities say Finlay isn’t in danger but instead is aiding the suspect’s escape.
Finlay disappeared Sunday night after her beau, Cody Bryce Matthews, allegedly shot and killed a man in Jackson, Georgia, about 50 miles south of Atlanta. The Butts County Sheriff’s Office initially announced on Facebook that Finlay, 21, was “possibly being held against her will” and believed to be in “grave danger.”
But in a new post, the sheriff said Finlay “is believed to be assisting” Matthews and is wanted for aiding and abetting a fugitive. “If you know the whereabouts of these two individuals you are asked to call 911 immediately,” the sheriff’s office announced. “They are considered armed and dangerous. A cash reward is being offered.”
Relatives told The Daily Beast they were worried about Finlay, who has 2-year-old and 5-year-old boys at home. “She’s always been a good kid,” Finlay’s sister, Chrichelle Wood, said on Monday. “She doesn't have a track record of any trouble. She’s never gone off the wall and took off.”
After the latest announcement from investigators, Wood stuck up for her sister in a Facebook post, calling the news “bullshit.”
“All yall that know autumn know DAMN GOOD AND WELL IT AINT TRUE. she ain't helping him ‼‼‼” Wood wrote.
“REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING I WANT TO KNOW MY SISTER IS FOUND AND SAFE. I DONT GIVE A FLYING FUCK AFTER THAT. I JUST WANT MY SISTER SAFE AND HOME!” Wood added.
Matthews is accused of fatally shooting 30-year-old Ryan Ray on Sunday afternoon in the Jackson Glenn subdivision. The incident occurred near a swimming pool and tennis courts where children were outside and playing, according to the local newspaper Jackson Progress-Argus. On social media, family members said Ray had a fiancée and 10-year-old son.
Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the alleged murder, but Wood told The Daily Beast that Finlay and Ray’s fiancée once worked together at a Waffle House restaurant.
Denise Taylor, Finlay’s mother, also vented on Facebook. She claimed her daughter was not with Matthews when he allegedly killed Ray.
Finlay is missing without her car, cash, debit cards and has “zero money to help him financially,” Taylor wrote. “She HAS NOT SPOKE TO ANY FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND FOR HELP IN ANY WAY.”
“DO I AGREE WITH HER CHOICE OF BOYFRIEND ABSOLUTELY NOT BUT HOW MANY OF YOU PARENTS HAVENT AGREED WITH SOMEONE YOUR CHILD DATED OR BETTER YET HOW ABOUT WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER AND YOUR PARENTS DIDNT LIKE SOMEONE YOU DATED,” Taylor added.
Finlay is a “great mom” and her children “are her whole world and she never goes without speaking to them,” Taylor wrote.
Star Andersen, a friend of Finlay, told The Daily Beast that the missing mom’s loved ones “do not believe” she’s helping Matthews.
“We know Autumn. KNOW her. Not just as some random report a police station is doing but as someone we have watched grow up,” Andersen said. “We do not believe she is helping him. We believe she is trying to stay safe until she knows she can safely get away. She has children to live for and there is no way she would jeopardize them.”
“This whole situation never needed to happen, but, now that it has, we have to see it to the end,” Andersen added. “And all we want is for Autumn to be safe and for justice to be had for Ryan Ray’s family.”