The owner of a popular downtown Dawsonville eatery was found dead Tuesday morning.
Julia Cody, 44, of Julia's Delicatessen was found by a restaurant employee shortly after arriving at work.
Police and emergency medical personnel responded to a call from the restaurant at 10:02 a.m. Captain Tony Wooten of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office said the restaurant was not being treated as a crime scene.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, but officials say foul play is not suspected.
Tommy McKee, who said he dated Cody for nearly two years, said he had spoken with her on Monday.
"I told her just yesterday, she had great vision and a tremendous amount of talent in the kitchen, " he said.
Deli employee and friend Pam Elledge was hired by Cody eight months ago.
"She was in her own turmoil and tried hard to fight it, but couldn't," she said. "I loved working for her. She had the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known. She had a bubbly personality and was very artistic and very loving."
Deli Clerk, Allyson Decker, began working for Julia's Deli in January.
"She was such a loving person, and tried to donate something to everyone who asked," she said. "It's very sad. That's all she wanted was love. She hugged me 20 times a day."
County Coroner Ted Bearden stated that Cody's body was being taken to the forensic lab at the Georgia Bureau of Investigations in Atlanta for full toxicology testing.
"It will be eight to twelve weeks before the cause of death can be determined," he said.
On a personal note, Bearden said having a deli in town was a vital part of the community. "It is sad for something like this to happen."
Mayor James Grogan said it is a loss for the city.
"Julia was full of hopes and dreams for what dawsonville had in store for her and for what she had in store for Dawsonville," Grogan said. "She had a lot of great ideas and a lot of things she wanted to do."
Julia's Deli was closed on Tuesday, but plans are in place to re-open on Wednesday.
"Julia would have wanted us to stay open," Elledge added. "It's what she wanted, so we're going to do it."