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Death at Oconee Co. Walmart remains a mystery

By Joe Johnson

Two days later, mystery continues to surround the death of a person whose body was found in the parking lot of Walmart off Epps Bridge Parkway in Oconee County.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office called the death “suspicious.”

At 12:12 p.m. Thursday, the agency posted on its Facebook page: “The Sheriff’s Office and the GBI are investigating a suspicious death in the parking lot of Walmart. There is no concern for public safety at this time.”

When Classic City News attempted to learn more about the investigation, including who the deceased person was and why their death was deemed suspicious. Sheriff James Hale referred CCN to the Georgia Bureau of investigation.

GBI Public Affairs Director Nelly Miles had no information, other than to say, "An autopsy will be conducted to determine a cause and manner of death.”

In an updated Facebook post Saturday afternoon, the sheriff’s office explained that they turned over the Walmart death to the GBI so that deputies could focus on solving the March 19 murder of Watkinsville resident Elijah Wood.

Wood reportedly was working as the night clerk at RaceTrac on U.S. Highway 441 and Hog Mountain Road when he was fatally shot by a lone suspect.

“As for (the Walmart case), anytime there is a death in which the cause is not apparent, we must investigate to determine the cause. While the GBI is in charge of the investigation from this point forward, we do not feel there is any need for concern or fear from the public.

The sheriff’s office said it would provide an update on the Walmart death as more information becomes available.

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