A downtown business owner and member of the Dawsonville Planning Commission was found dead Tuesday morning in her restaurant on the square.
According to employees at Julia's Neighborhood Deli, 44-year-old Julia Cody was unconscious and not breathing when they arrived to open the eatery for the lunch shift about 10 a.m.
She was pronounced dead a short time later after emergency officials arrived.
"We found her when we got here this morning to open," said Pam Elledge, an employee. "That's all we know and all I can tell you."
Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten said authorities do not suspect foul play.
"This has been turned over to the coroner's office. He'll make the determination [on] what happens next," he said.
Since opening the restaurant in October, Cody had become actively involved in the downtown community.
She was appointed by late Mayor Joe Lane Cox to the planning commission, a group that makes recommendations on planning and zoning issues to the city council.
Mayor James Grogan described Cody as a caring, energetic businesswoman, who was well liked.
"Last Tuesday, when we were all out on the square waving and campaigning, she brought out tea for all of us and later that night called to congratulate on winning," he said.
In January at the deli's grand opening celebration, Cody said she was passionate about reviving the city's downtown and saw the eatery as a step toward that goal.
"Julia had a lot of great ideas and enthusiasm for the city," Grogan said. "Everybody wanted her to be successful. We're all saddened by her death."