Sheriff’s investigators praised for quick case
Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 20, 2015
LaGRANGE — Members of the Troup County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division were awarded a Public Safety Unit of the Year Award on Tuesday at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards for their work capturing a man who murdered five people at a Woodstream Trail home in January.
The award is presented to public safety professionals who have performed their jobs with exceptional skill, expertise, innovation and results, according to a statement by the Chamber of Commerce.
Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Caldwell, Lt. Kelli Ellington, Sgt. Everette Brockington, Cpl. Curt Nation, deputy Jake Grace and investigators Chase Darden, Pat Tunnell, Michael Callaway, Matt Boswell and Shelly Downs were commended for their work capturing Thomas J. Lee, 26.
Lee pleaded guilty but mentally ill in August to the Jan. 28 slayings of his wife, Christie Lee, 39; his step daughter, Bailey Burtron, 16; his mother- and father-in-law Shelia and William Burtron, 68 and 69, respectively; and a family friend and neighbor, Iiaonna Green, 18.
After the victims were discovered Jan. 31, the Criminal Investigation Division was notified and responded.
They quickly determined Lee to be the suspect and were able to send the suspect’s name, description and possible vehicle to media outlets across the country. Just two days later, Lee was found in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The division worked closely with law enforcement agencies across the state and country to gather evidence and build a case against Lee.
On Aug. 12, Lee was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.