published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Husband charged in 2009 disappearance of wife from Cleveland, Tenn.

Donnie Ray Brantley
Donnie Ray Brantley
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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    Marsha Brantley was 51 years old when she was last seen in late May or early June of 2009.
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The husband of a Cleveland, Tenn., woman who has been missing since 2009 was arrested Monday after a grand jury charged him with first-degree murder.

Donnie Ray Brantley, 48, of Kingston, Ga., was arrested after an investigation by the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation into the disappearance of Marsha Brantley.

Marsha Brantley was 51 when she was last seen in late May or early June of 2009. She was not reported missing, however, until November that year, when a friend contacted an attorney who relayed the information to the district attorney's office. An investigation was begun by the TBI at the district attorney's request, a news release states.

According to a 2010 TBI news release, Donnie Brantley told investigators that his wife had left him and they were planning to divorce.

The TBI asked the Bradley County Sheriff's Office for assistance in 2011, and the matter has been under investigation since then, authorities said.

10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb called Brantley a "person of interest" in June 2011, but declined to elaborate. Bradley County investigators searched the Brantley home in November 2012, but did not say what they were looking for or if the search turned up any new information.

Donnie Brantley was taken into custody at the Judicial Complex when he appeared in court on a previous charge of hindering a secured creditor. He is being held in the Bradley County Jail under a $500,000 bond.

Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at 423-757-6592 or jlafave@timesfreepress.com.

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