GBI Seeks Public’s Assistance in 2011 Toccoa Murder Investigation

Featured Stories

Toccoa, GA (March 5, 2020) – This month marks the nine year anniversary of the murder of
Robert Lee Simmons, Jr. The GBI is seeking the public’s assistance with any information about
Simmons’ last days and his murder. Simmons, 46, was found dead at his home at the Glendale
Apartments on Norman Drive on March 1, 2011 by a family member. The Toccoa Police
Department responded to the scene after receiving a 911 call. Simmons’ death was determined to
be a homicide.

This case has remained active for the past nine years and both the GBI and Toccoa Police
Department continue to work to solve this case. Recently, investigators have received new
promising leads in this investigation and are asking for help from those who knew Simmons.
Even the smallest detail may help police with this investigation.
Both law enforcement and Robert Simmons’ family and friends implore anyone with information
to contact the GBI or Toccoa Police Department. GBI Special Agent Shilo Crane is the case
agent and may be reached at 706-348-4866. Tips can also be made on the GBI Tipline at 800-
597-8477 or online submissions may be made on the GBI website: The
Toccoa Police Department may be contacted at 706-282-3244.

Young Harris shooting leaves community baffled

Dawn Thurman shooting

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Limited details released by authorities surrounding the recent shooting of Dawn Thurman Wright have puzzled a community concerned with Wright’s well-being and their own sense of security.

As previously reported, Wright – the ex-wife of late Hiawassee Police Chief Jimmy Wright – suffered a non-fatal gunshot wound at a residence on Chicken Pit Road in Young Harris during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec 3, following what was later described to authorities as a three-man home invasion. According to the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, Wright’s neighbor summoned emergency responders at 5:35 a.m. on Wright’s behalf.

FetchYourNews (FYN) has since learned through sources that Wright purported that she was forced to consume pill medication by the unidentified male subjects, prior to sustaining the bullet wound to her left shoulder. As a result of the gunshot, Wright was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries for medical treatment.

While county law enforcement has asked the public to report suspicious activity in the area of the alleged attack,  descriptions of the involved perpetrators have not been issued, nor identifying details of a getaway truck which was allegedly utilized in the commission of the crime. “The weapon believed to have been used has been recovered,” Towns County Chief Deputy Terry Conner divulged, however, in a press release issued Dec. 6. Conner did not indicate where the retrieved handgun was located.

The GBI, who is assisting Towns County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation, has remained equally tight-lipped on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Special Agent in Charge of Privacy and Compliance Brad Parks responded that information requested by FYN is “not subject to dissemination until the investigation is concluded, which may also include prosecutorial actions and the appeals process.”

The shooting investigation remains open and active at this time.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office continues to ask anyone with information on the case to dial 706-896-4444.


UPDATED: Shooting confirmed in Young Harris

GBI: Rep. Powell’s death not considered suspicious at this time

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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga – Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) called to investigate the death of Georgia District 171 State Representative Jay Powell, 67, who passed away at Brasstown Valley Resort on Nov. 25, 2019.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) called the GBI to assist with the investigation into Powell’s death. GBI Special Agent Kim Williams told Fetch Your News that they will have more information after the autopsy, but at this time, there appears to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. TCSO asked for the GBI’s assistance due to the high profile nature of the case. “We have limited resources and only two investigators,” commented TCSO Captain Jim Couch, “The GBI has numerous investigations, and as he was a state official, we want to ensure that everything was done properly.

The Georgia legislator was at Brasstown Valley Resort for a GOP house leadership retreat. He served as the Chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Fetch Your News spoke with Brasstown Valley Resort General Manager Charles Burton, who corroborated Speaker Ralston’s statement that Powell collapsed late into the evening. Burton stated that he got the call around 1 a.m.

“They were just on the patio with a few guests talking,” explained Burton, “I think they are still uncertain as to what caused it. They are going to do a full medical examination.”

Burton also added that Towns County EMS/EMA Responders took Powell to Chatuge Regional Hospital, which is the protocol for the resort whenever a guest is found unconscious or in need of medical attention. The statement released by Speaker Ralston indicates that the representative passed immediately, however, this can’t be confirmed until the autopsy is completed.

Two TCSO deputies also responded to the call before turning the investigation over to the GBI.

Powell represented portions of Colquitt, Decatur, and Mitchell counties, near the Georgia/Florida border. He served on the Appropriations, Governmental Affairs, Judiciary, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules, and Ways and Means committees. Previously, Powell chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, and in 2016, Georgia Trend magazine named him as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians.

He was elected to office in Jan. 2009 as a Republican and worked as an attorney when the legislation wasn’t in session. He was married to Deidra White-Powell. She and other family members have been notified.

This story is still developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Ralston and Collins release statements about Rep. Powell

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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston and District Nine Rep. Doug Collins have sent out heart-felt statements addressing the sudden passing of District 171 State Rep. Jay Powell.

The statement below was just sent from Ralston concerning the passing of beloved Rules Chairman Rep. Jay Powell:


It is with profound sadness and a broken heart that I write to inform you of the passing of our colleague, dear friend and brother Jay Powell.

Jay collapsed last night at a Caucus leadership retreat and, from all indications, passed immediately.

At this time of heartbreak, we take solace in the fact that our brother is now with our Lord Jesus Christ. We lift up his wife Deidra and his beloved family. We pray for God’s mercies and comfort for them.

I know this loss touches us all and leaves a hole in our hearts and in the heart of our House family. Jay Powell served with integrity and his leadership truly moved Georgia forward.

We will get through this together, with God’s grace. If you need anything, please reach out to one of our fellow members. We will support one another as we grieve and celebrate his life together.

-David Ralston

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released a statement following the loss of State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla).

Today is a sad day for the state of Georgia and a very hard day for me personally. Jay Powell was not only a respected leader in our state, but more importantly, my friend and brother.

“When Jay was elected to the state house, he was seated next to me on the floor. Over those many hours on the floor, he shared his thoughts about life, law and politics that made me a better person.

“Jay always had my back even through the storms of politics, which means more than anything. He helped me as a new attorney and provided wise counsel over the years regarding our public service.

“I saw Jay last Friday night for what I now know was the last time. We talked, we laughed, and we picked on each other as only friends can do. When it came time for the event to start, he hugged Lisa, hugged me and said, ‘I love you man, let’s talk again soon.’ If I had only known it was the last time I would hear his voice and get that needed bear hug, I would have held on just a little bit longer.

“I will miss you, my friend.

UPDATED: Attempted murder suspect captured in Clay County

Crystal Carter

HAYESVILLE, NC – Towns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Crystal LeAnn Carter, an attempted murder suspect in a September shooting, was arrested Tuesday, April 16, in Clay County, NC.

On Saturday evening, Sept. 8, 2018, Towns County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Chatuge Regional Hospital in Hiawassee in reference to a male subject who was brought to the hospital with a bullet wound to the chest. The victim was identified as William Craig Henderson of Young Harris, GA. The victim was air lifted from Chatuge Regional Hospital to another medical facility with a trauma center. The victim remains in stable condition.

Crystal LeAnn Carter

Crystal LeAnn Carter

Towns County Sheriff’s Investigators were called to the hospital to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident. Upon investigating the incident, the investigators identified and secured warrants on Crystal LeAnn Carter for the following:

  • One Count of Attempted Murder
  • One Count of Aggravated Assault

Crystal Carter, upon dropping off the victim at Chatuge Regional Hospital, left driving the victim’s Chevrolet Tahoe. A lookout was placed on the Tahoe and the suspect. The vehicle was found abandoned Sept. 8, in the parking lot of the Marathon station on Highway 75 North in Hiawassee. Investigators determined that Carter left the Marathon station in a red Ford pickup that belonged to the suspect. Investigators, following leads Sept. 9, located the red Ford pickup at a residence in Clay County North Carolina.

Acting on yet another tip, Deputies of the Clay County Patrol Division returned to a residence that had been searched multiple times in the past. Carter was at the residence and taken into custody without incident.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) expressed their gratitude for the assistance of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in their “relentless efforts to finally bring a dangerous fugitive to justice.” This is just one more example of our two communities helping each other to keep the fine people of Clay and Towns Counties safe, Clay County Sheriff’s Office stated. Sheriff Deese said, “One of my goals was to develop and maintain the best of relationships between my office and all our neighboring law enforcement. The relationship between Clay and Towns County Sheriff’s Office is the best its ever been and I thank Sheriff Clinton and his staff for that.”

Carter is awaiting extradition to Towns County Detention Center. The GBI is leading the investigation.


UPDATED: Press Release from Clay County Sheriff’s Office

Hayesville, NC – (April 18, 2019) Clay County resident, Joe Tiger, has been charged with a Felony for his part in assisting GA fugitive, Crystal Carter. Clay County Deputies took Tiger into custody Thursday morning without incident as investigators executed a Search Warrant at his residence. Evidence of Crystal Carter’s crime was located and seized from inside Tiger’s home along with Carter’s personal property.

Law enforcement authorities from GA and NC had responded numerous times on tips of Carter’s presence at Tiger’s home. Authorities had spoken to Tiger on multiple occasions and advised him of Carter’s fugitive status.

Carter will be extradited to GA to answer for her 2018 crimes in Hiawassee. Tiger was given a $5000.00 unsecured bond and a 05/06/2019 court date in Clay County for his charges.

Hiawassee man charged with sexual exploitation of children

Arrest Reports, News
Edward Trusky

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Towns County Sheriff’s Office investigators and deputies assisted agents from Homeland Security Investigations with the execution of a search warrant at a residence located within Bald Mountain Park.

Agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and State Probation Officers assisted with the warrant.

During the course of executing the search warrant, law enforcement officers recovered evidence which resulted in the arrest of a suspect.

Edward Lee Trusky, 38, of Hiawassee, was taken into custody on the following charges:

  • One Count of Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • One Count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon


The investigation is active and ongoing.  

The case will be forwarded to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Trusky is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties as well as Clay and Cherokee counties in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.

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GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Habersham County, GA

State & National

GBI Bomb Disposal Unit Visits Hiawassee


Hiawassee, GA – Citizen Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA) alumni and current participants in the 8-week CLEA VII course gathered at Towns County Beach on Tuesday afternoon, September 5, for a special presentation featuring Bomb Disposal Unit #601, courtesy of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Towns County Sheriff’s Office.

After enjoying conversation and a cookout under the park’s pavilion, Sheriff Chris Clinton introduced GBI Special Agent Ryan Hilton to the sizable turnout of attendees.

GBI Ryan Hilton

GBI Special Agent Ryan Hilton

Special Agent Hilton, from the Region 8 field office in Cleveland, began by explaining the purpose of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “We’re what’s called a requester agency,” the Special Agent told the group, “We can be requested by the Governor, Judges, District Attorney, Sheriff, or Chief of Police to assist in criminal investigations.”

Special Agent Hilton went on to explain the GBI often investigates homicides, public corruption, crimes against the elderly, allegations of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers and other incidents throughout the state.

Special Agent Hilton led the group to the Bomb Disposal truck, one of eleven within the state of Georgia, and described the bomb suit used by bomb technicians while engaging an explosive device. Weighing 84 pounds and similar to those worn by firefighters, the suit provides substantial thermal and overpressure protection. It also lessens the impact of injury in the event an explosive device detonates.

The agent described the functions and capabilities of the small, but mighty 426 pound robot used to disarm explosives. Valued at a quarter of a million dollars, it is equipped with cameras, a speaker, an electronic grip, and dual barrels that are similar in strength to a 12 gauge shotgun and proficient enough to shoot the battery from a device without disturbing the attached explosive.

CLEA Towns County

GBI Bomb Disposal Unit

“The most common call the Bomb Unit receives is suspicious packages and found ordnance,” Special Agent Hilton said. Found ordnance consist of commercial explosives and war remnants, a familiar find in areas such as Savannah where battles once took place.

The agent demonstrated the operation of the robot for the CLEA class before taking several questions from the interested audience.

CLEA VII commencement is scheduled for September 26 at the Towns County Courthouse.

East Ellijay Police Officer Arrested. Theft by Taking

Featured, Featured Stories

The GBI arrested East Ellijay Police Office Michael McClure at approximately noon today February 14th 2018.  A copy of Booking report and warrant below.  FYN has requested a statement from the GBI and East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan.

Below is a Press Release Statement from East Ellijay Chief of Police, Larry Callahan.

GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body Found in Banks County.


GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body

Commerce, Georgia – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is seeking the public’s help in identifying human remains found near Interstate 85 in Banks County.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, a skeleton was discovered in a wooded area near New Salem Methodist Church, at 2170 Highway 59, in Commerce.  The body’s location was one mile south of I-85, Exit 154 for Toccoa/SR 63/Martin Bridge Road.  The Banks County Sheriff’s Office requested GBI’s assistance with the investigation.

A forensic anthropological examination estimates the remains to be of an African American/Hispanic female, approximately 30-44 years of age, and approximately 4’9’ to 5’6” in height.  The date of death is estimated to be up to 4 years prior to the time of discovery.

Found among the remains, was a metal ring and a butterfly necklace charm (see attached photographs). Blue, purple, and gray in color fabrics were also collected from the scene. Dental is available for comparison.

Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the GBI Athens office at 706-552-2309 or the Banks County Sheriff’s Office at 706-677-2248. Information may also be submitted on-line here.

The GBI Crime Lab Receives Synthetic Opioid Carfentanil

Featured, Featured Stories, News

Decatur, GA – Within the past week, the GBI Crime Lab’s drug identification unit received three cases from separate seizures of the synthetic opioid carfentanil. Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog used as a tranquilizer on large animals such as elephants.

It is purported to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl and suspected of playing a role in hundreds of overdoses in the Midwest part of the country this past month. It can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and very toxic in small quantities. The cases that came in the lab were from the metro Atlanta area and were all suspected to be heroin. As a result of this drug coming into the GBI Crime Lab, lab scientists have enhanced their safety protocols to protect them from the potential dangers.

Some of the changes include wearing a face mask as well as testing any case suspected to contain heroin under a ventilated hood. Officer safety is of grave concern and all officers are strongly encouraged to take extreme caution when handling any suspected opioid.

Carfentanil is not intended for human use and the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan may be effective but only after multiple doses. The public is urged to be aware of the extreme dangers of handling and consuming carfentanil.

GBI Investigating Inmate Death


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Corrections are currently investigating the death of Christopher Verner, 23, an inmate at Appling Integrated Treatment Facility in Baxley, Georgia.  On Friday, August 26, Verner collapsed at the Appling ITF and was ultimately transferred to Savannah Memorial where he died August 27, 2016.  The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the autopsy and the results are pending.





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