TCSO investigate simulated murder in training event at West Point Lake

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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On Friday morning, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office hosted a multi-agency training scenario at R. Shaefer Heard Park on West Point Lake.

The training scenario involved investigating a simulated homicide, recovering the body from the lake and performing a felony traffic stop on the suspect.

Deputies were called to the scene through 911 by witnesses following a script. They were told that gunshots were heard during an argument between a man and a woman with a child. The man was reported leaving the scene alone in a black pickup truck after the argument.

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Investigators arrived to find a simulated crime scene complete with fake blood, bullet holes and tracks indicating a body had been dragged into the lake.

While all agencies knew the scenario was just a training exercise, it was treated like the real thing with paramedics, firefighters and even the coroner being called to the scene.

The Columbus Fire Department also participated in the scenario, sending their dive team to recover a dummy serving as the victim along with the gun used in the simulated crime.

Deputy Carrla Querry served as an investigator for the incident after being one of the first to arrive on the scene. Querry was quick to pick up on clues at the scene, but just as important, what wasn’t there.

She quickly noticed there was no indication that a child had been present, which turned out to be correct. The witness had been told to say there was a child when there wasn’t to throw off deputies because witnesses can be unreliable at times.

Querry said the evidence she found indicated they had been drinking. The cooler had been turned over and there were shell casings and blood splatter, so a crime had likely occurred. After finding drag marks toward the lake and searching the shore, the dive team was called in.

In the meantime, a witness called in saying they saw the truck, so a simulated felony stop was performed on the suspect vehicle in a separate scene.

“It’s just a chance for us to work with all of our partners in this area,” TCSO Sgt. Stewart Smith said.