Valdosta Daily Times

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April 15, 2012

Murder suspect hangs himself

Lowndes County Jail locked down after incident

VALDOSTA — Officers at the Lowndes County Jail discovered murder suspect Terrell Rashaun Rizer,19, hanged himself in his cell Saturday at approximately 12:50 p.m.

Rizer was arrested Friday by the Valdosta Police Department for the murder of Timonthy McKinney, the man whose body was found lying across railroad tracks on Wednesday.

Upon the discovery of Rizer’s body, emergency medical personnel were immediately summoned to the jail.

According to Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine, the jail was placed on immediate lockdown.

“We always lock it down with something like this,” said Prine. “And we cancel visitation.”

Soon after the arrival of an ambulance, Rizer was transported to South Georgia Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Rizer was being housed in a cell by himself due to the seriousness of his charges. In a press release from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, a medical screening was performed during Rizer’s intake to the jail and nothing was found to indicate that Rizer intended to cause harm to himself.

Sheriff Prine has requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation were also notified as the incident involves the death of an inmate.  The investigation is ongoing and an autopsy will be performed in the near future to determine an exact cause of death.

Sheriff Prine also notified Chief Frank Simons of the Valdosta Police Department as Rizer was being held in relation to the VPD's ongoing murder investigation.

On Wednesday,

McKinney’s body was found by two students walking home from school. The 33-year old Valdosta man appeared to have been shot, and was lying across railroad tracks behind the 1400 block of Baymeadows Drive.

Residents in the area reported to police that they heard gunshots in the early morning hours on Wednesday. The Valdosta Police Department actively worked the scene and canvassed the area neighborhoods for leads through which they found Rizer only two days after the discovery of the body.

According to Valdosta Police Commander Brian Childress, the death of Rizer affects their case tremendously.

“Obviously it changes it,” said Childress. “We were prepared to present a case to the District Attorney.”

Childress stated that there are no additional suspects as the evidence gathered shows that Rizer acted alone in the murder, and he gave a full confession to police on Friday.

“As of Friday morning, he showed us where he disposed of the firearm that he used in the murder,” said Childress. “We recovered the firearm.”

According to Childress, a motive was developed but they will not be prepared to share any further information until they are able to discuss the case with the District Attorney on Monday.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

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