Police treating man's death as homicide

By Kathy Jefcoats

Henry County police are treating the death of a man found inside a Stockbridge home Friday afternoon as a homicide but declined to discuss what led them to that preliminary decision.

Henry police Maj. M.L. Brooks said a white male was found dead on the floor inside 121 Belair Trail around 2 p.m. Friday.

"He's not been identified, we've not notified the next of kin," he said. "We're not even sure of his identification."

The possible cause of death has not been released.

Brooks said the resident's employer called the Henry County 911 Center around 12:43 p.m. Friday because he was concerned the man had not shown up for work all week. Officers spent the next hour or so trying to find either him or someone who might know where he was.

"Once we exhausted all attempts to find someone, we entered the house around 2 p.m.," said Brooks. "A man was found dead on the floor."

Declining to discuss any items officers might have found at what is now a crime scene, Brooks said only that the manner of death is being treated as a homicide.

"Obviously, no one else was at home," he said. "We saw enough that suggested he died under suspicious circumstances."

Brooks said preliminary information shows the man was last seen Monday.

The county coroner, police cars and local and state crime scene units in front of the dark brown home seemed oddly out of place in the otherwise quiet neighborhood populated by families with children of all ages.

Tino Mejia has lived with his family across the street from 121 Belair Trail for three years. He said he knew little about the resident and was surprised to find police there.

"We hardly talked to him," said Mejia, who described the home's occupant as "an older man, in his 60s or 70s, with white hair."

Mejia said the man occasionally had female visitors but he didn't know if anyone lived there with him. He also said he witnessed the police arrest the man once.

"We never heard or saw any signs of violence there," said Mejia.

Brooks said he expected investigators to remain at the home the rest of the day and into the night. It is possible, he said, but not definite, that the dead man could be identified sometime today.

The body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for an autopsy to determine the manner and cause of death.