UPDATE: Lanier County Death Investigation Ruled Homicide

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The case of a south Georgia man found dead in February is now being ruled a homicide.

The body of 42 year old Keith Ervin was found behind an abandoned mobile home in Lakeland, Georgia three months ago. Ervin had been reported as a missing person in late January. The Lanier County Sheriff's Office has not released the exact cause of death. Deputies say the investigation is still ongoing, and they're not giving any more details at this time.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Lanier County Sheriff's Office at (229) 482-3545.

News Release: Lanier County Sheriff's Office

A deceased body discovered in the area of Burnt Church Road southeast of Lakeland on Friday morning, February 7th, has been positively identified as being that of 42 year old Keith Oliver Ervin of Dean lane, Remerton, Georgia. Mr. Ervin had been reported as a “Missing Person” in late January to the Remerton Police Department in the Valdosta area. Missing person flyers and billboards had been posted trying to learn of Mr. Ervins whereabouts and the Remerton Police Department was conducting ongoing investigations into the matter.

On Friday when the body was discovered, the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, began an investigation into the incident and immediately discovered information at the scene which led them to believe that the body was likely that of Mr. Ervin, however, that information could not be released until positive proof by scientific means was obtained. The GBI Crime Lab in Moultrie Georgia received the body and quickly began coordinating with the Sheriff’s Office Investigators assigned to the case concerning determination of the identification of the victim. On Tuesday, February 11th, the Crime Lab notified the Sheriff’s Office that fingerprint comparison had positively identified the body as that of Keith O. Ervin.

The body has now been sent to Atlanta for additional advanced forensic examination to assist in determining a cause of death. No clear cause of death was immediately determined at the scene by the Investigators, CSI ( Crime Scene Investigation) personnel or the Lanier County Coroner and additional forensic examination is then the next step.

The Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with close members of Mr. Ervin’s family since Friday. Release of the identification was pending the family responding back that remainder of the family had been adequately notified. In an early morning phone call with the family today, they advised that they felt the family had all been adequately notified and a release to the media here would be acceptable.

If you knew Mr. Ervin, or if you know of anyone locally that Mr. Ervin has been in contact with or that might have known him, the Sheriff’s Office is eager to receive that information and interview those persons to try and determine what has occurred in this case. This case is being investigated as a Homicide due to the undetermined manner of death. Anyone who saw anything unusual or has anything helpful to add concerning the case is encouraged to provide the information.

Anyone who has any information that might assist in the investigation is asked to call the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 229-482-3545, Detective Sergeant John Olsen.

News Release: Lanier County Sheriff's Office

A deceased body was discovered in a rural area just southeast of Lakeland on Friday morning.

At approximately 11:00 a.m. the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office was advised that the body of a deceased person had been found and investigators were summoned to the location. The person reporting the death had seen the body and contacted a relative to drive to the Sheriff’s Office to report it.

Upon arrival of the Investigators, the area was cordoned off, and the local Lanier County Coroner was notified and arrived within minutes.

Likewise, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit was requested to aid in examining the area in and around the body, and two GBI C.S.I. Crime Scene Technicians arrived on the scene within 30 minutes and provided invaluable assistance to the Sheriff’s Office.

Positive identification of the body has not been made yet, but that information will be made available when appropriate. Positive identification must occur first, and then compassionate notification of the next-of-kin must be made before information concerning the persons identity can, or will, be released to the public.

We ask that citizens and the media respect the family’s right to such notification.

If you think you know who this person is or may be, regardless of how you know, please contact the Sheriff’s Office with the information and do not discuss it with others to protect the rights of the family as well as to prevent any damage to the investigation.

The incident has been classified as an “Unattended Death”. However, in this case, as with all unexplained deaths, it will be investigated as a homicide to insure proper handling of evidence and information until (and only if) homicide or other foul play can be ruled out. The exact location of the incident is not being released until the investigation proceeds further.

Additional information concerning the case will be released when appropriate and as it becomes available.

Anyone who has any information that might assist in the investigation is asked to call the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 229-482-3545.

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