Supporters of over the weekend said authorities didn't try hard enough during the search for 27-year-old Joey Holloway.
On the Canton-Sixes Patch message board, people who identified themselves as relatives and longtime friends said the family's pleas for help were brushed off by authorities who profiled Holloway based on his past, which included recent arrests in Bartow and Cherokee Counties on theft and burglary-related charges.
They said Lumpkin County officials interrogated Holloway's wife and assumed her husband left the campsite on Forest Service Road 28-1 off Camp Wahsega Road so he could plan a burglary.
Holloway, family and friends said, would never leave his family behind.
They said authorities suspended their search, leaving them with no other choice but to search for Holloway themselves.
Today, the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office addressed some of the charges leveled against the agency.
Lt. Wesley Burnett, the spokesman, said the local deputy fire chief was on the scene when a family member found Holloway's body at 1:27 p.m. Saturday. Preliminary findings indicate , he said.
In a statement just released to Canton-Sixes Patch, Burnett had this to share:
In a case such as Mr. Holloway’s, we (Sheriff’s Office) assist the Lumpkin County Emergency Management (Fire/Rescue/EMS) in searching. If at any point criminal activity is suspected or believed to be afoot, the Sheriff’s Office assumes control/command of the search. When a deceased person is located, the Sheriff’s Office is notified and responds to ensure criminal activity has not taken place. The coroner’s office is also notified and responds.
Lumpkin County Communications received the call from Ms. Holloway on June 8 at approximately 6:49pm reporting that her husband had went for a walk 12 hours earlier and had not returned.
The sheriff’s office arrived at the location at approximately 7:57pm, after Fire/Rescue personnel were already on scene. It was after 4:30am on June 9 when Sheriff’s Office personnel left the scene (campsite), but still remained in the area for a while.
The deceased was located by a family member around 1:27pm on June 9. Sheriff’s Office personnel arrived back on scene at 1:47pm. (The Deputy Fire Chief was on scene when the deceased was located.) Our Criminal Investigations Division responded to the location, as they do in most all deaths, to ensure the death was not a result of criminal activity. The deceased was then turned over to the Coroner’s Office. An autopsy is being conducted, no results currently, and an investigation is pending.