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One month later, Oconee Co. RaceTrac murder still being 'diligently' investigated

By Joe Johnson

It was a month ago this week that 23-year-old Watkinsville resident Elijah Wood was murdered while working as the night clerk at the local RaceTrac gas station and convenience store.

According to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, investigators continue to work as hard as ever to find the murderer.

"The Sheriff’s Office along with our federal, state, and local partners have been working diligently to identify and bring this murderer to justice,” the agency said in a post on its Facebook page. “While we have not been able to share many of the details of this case, we do want everyone to know this case is still active and solving it is our number one priority.”

Among other things, the sheriff’s office indicated that the following has been and is being done to solve the case:

• From the beginning the OCSO has worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and numerous other local agencies to ensure every possible investigative technique is applied to the case.

• Dozens of potential suspects have been called in through our tip lines.

• Through many hours of interviews, 10 people have been ruled out as suspects

• Investigators continue to sort through information contained in numerous tips that are being called in.

• Several Search warrants have been issued and the information gathered is being analyzed.

• Video surveillance has been collected from local businesses in the area.

• Countless hours of video surveillance has been viewed.

• Relevant video evidence has been sent away for analysis by the FBI and other L.E. agencies.

• A $25,000 reward has been raised.

• Deputies and Wood’s family members have passed out thousands of reward posters.

Sheriff James Hale said he was optimistic the case will be solved.

“We've rattled some cages," he said. "At some point someone generally talks to someone else about what they had done."

RaceTrac murder victim Elijah Wood
A surveillance video image of Elijah Wood's killer

Wood was killed early the morning of March 19 at the RaceTrac on U.S. Highway 441 at Hog Mountain Road.

The sheriff's office previously released video of the killer entering and leaving the store.

Hale would not say if anything was stolen by the killer, or speculate about possible motives.

“There already is too much case-sensitive information on social media,” he said.

Wood was not armed with a gun and there was nothing to indicate he was shot while trying to defend himself, the sheriff said.

When asked what might be the gender of the killer, whose body and face were mostly obscured with black clothing and a mask, Hale said, “All possibilities are being explored.”

The only publicly known evidence in the case is store surveillance camera footage that shows the suspect entering the store with a gun in their right hand, who went directly to the counter and shot Wood.

The sheriff's office has asked for anyone with information about this case to call (706) 769-3945.

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