This is a very difficult case, and it is still actively being investigated. From the start, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted by the GBI, FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals, D.A. Investigators, Office of Community Supervision, Athens Clarke County Police Dept. and numerous other local law enforcement agencies and private companies. The case information has been shared through the law enforcement intelligence network. Our goal has been to bring every possible resource to bear on this case in order to ensure all possible avenues and techniques of solving this crime are covered.

Hundreds of tips have and continue to come in and all information received is followed up on. Nearly 50 persons of interest have been investigated, 12 search warrants have been executed, and countless witness, tipster, and field interviews have been conducted, and thousands of flyers have been distributed. Each person of interest has to be fully looked into in order to either include or exclude them as a possible suspect. These types of investigations take time.

Oconee Sheriff’s investigators have worked with multiple law enforcement agencies both in Georgia and out of state to determine if our suspect(s) was involved in similar crimes in their jurisdictions. Surveillance video has been analyzed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies with forensic video analysis equipment. Two private-sector companies have also analyzed the surveillance videos.

The Morgan County Chief Deputy, Keith Howard, who is a certified criminal profiler and former GBI Agent has reviewed the case. His observations along with other evidence and the observations of the GBI’s forensic artist, Kelly Lawson, helped to lead to the suspects description.

In the following video Morgan County Chief Deputy Keith Howard explains the criminal profile and his method for developing the information.

As an additional precaution, a reputable private investigative firm, Chesley Brown International, Inc. was retained to review this case. Dell Spry, who is their Director of Corporate Investigations and a 20 year veteran of the FBI, was sent to conduct the review. Below is an interview he did with Sheriff Hale.


Release of information/Evidence

Many have called for the release of more information/evidence in this case. The amount of information released in this case has only ever been to allow the public to help us identify the suspect and not to investigate the crime. As stated above, the law enforcement investigation into this murder is being conducted in a thorough and professional manner. The Sheriff’s Office must be careful with the information released to the public in order to maintain the case’s integrity and ensure a successful prosecution of the perpetrator(s).

Some citizens have taken the small amount of information/evidence released to the public and tried to launch their own investigation into this crime. These private investigations have unintentionally produced some false or highly speculative information. We ask that the public keep an open mind and not be distracted by information which has not been officially released by law enforcement.

Anyone with knowledge of or pertinent information about this crime is urged to contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office by phone at (706) 769-3945, email at zeaton@oconeesheriff.org, or through the tips portal on this website.