An additional arrest has been made in this case:

Janet Rittenhouse, age 53, of Waycross is arrested and charged with two counts of felony murder and one count of party to the crime of burglary. Rittenhouse was booked into the Ware County Jail. She is the wife of Bernard Rittenhouse, previously arrested.


Waycross, GA (July 13, 2022) – Bernard Rittenhouse, age 55, of Waycross, has been arrested and charged with two counts of felony murder and one count of burglary, in connection to the deaths of Charles M. Barnett and Virginia D. Thomas. Rittenhouse is Virginia Thomas’ son. He was taken to the Ware County Jail on July 12, 2022.

On Monday, July 11, 2022, the GBI Douglas Regional Office was requested by Ware County Sheriff Carl James to conduct a death investigation. A relative made a 911 call at 8:49 a.m. saying Charles M. Barnett, age 75, and Virginia D. Thomas, age 73, were found deceased at their home at 2906 S. Lakeview Drive, Waycross, Ware County, GA. Deputies arrived and found the couple deceased with apparent gunshot wounds.

This investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Ware County Sheriff’s Office at (912) 287-4326 or the GBI Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

Once the investigation is complete, the case file will be given to the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.



Special Agent in Charge Mark Pro


ASAC Jason Seacrist