Missing woman found dead

Published 3:28 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A 62-year-old woman who went missing after leaving a house in eastern Shelby County last Friday was found dead Tuesday morning in St. Clair County.

Diane Donahoo Rice’s body was discovered in a wooded area off Camp Winnataska Road in St. Clair County, according to a news release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of Rice’s death.

Sheriff’s investigators have named 28-year-old Randy O’Neal Davidson as a person of interest. Davidson, who is being held on $200,000 bond at the Shelby County Jail on previous charges of burglary and theft of property, was found in Jefferson County where Rice’s missing vehicle was recovered at the time of his arrest.

Davidson is also accused of breaking into a Jefferson County home on Monday brandishing a machete knife, strangling a kitten in front of children and trying to sexually assault a 27-year-old woman. Davidson has not been formally charged in Monday’s incident. He is expected to be charged today with assault, burglary, attempted rape and animal cruelty in Jefferson County, authorities say.

Rice was reported missing last Friday after leaving a residence in the 16000 block of Highway 55 in eastern Shelby County.