Community mourning after woman found dead in ditch

Published: Dec. 2, 2018 at 4:03 PM EST
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By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

December 3, 2018

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Thomasville Police Department is investigating the death of 40-year-old Tatrika Roberts.

Police found her body early Sunday morning in a ditch off Green Street.

"I miss her and it's hard," said Latoya Smith, Roberts' cousin.

Monday, Smith placed a candle next to flowers and balloons where Roberts was found.

"I just want them to come forward and tell what happened because her family is grieving and want to know," said Smith.

Around 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Green Food Mart's surveillance camera captured a man in an SUV stop to look into the ditch. He then backs up and rushes into the store to call 911.

Minutes later, the video shows police responding to the area, but then driving off. TPD says the call was about suspicious activity in the ditch, but with the heavy downpour, the officer didn't see Roberts.

It wasn't until after midnight when a person walked up to a nearby patrol unit about a body in the ditch.

TPD investigators believe Roberts possibly fell in the ditch and drowned.

"It's a death investigation. However, there's nothing that would lead us to believe otherwise that it's more than an accidental drowning," said Maj. Wade Glover.

However, family and friends say Roberts walked Green Street often and question if her death is something more.

"You just think she drowned because she was found in water, but other things could've happened. She might've been poisoned or something. You never know," said Ray Franklin, a friend of Roberts.

This is still an active and ongoing investigation. Police say they'll have more answers to what happened once test results from Roberts' autopsy return from a GBI crime lab.

They're also reviewing the surveillance video from the Food Mart, which faces the area where Roberts was found.

By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News

December 2, 2018

THOMASVILLE Ga. (WCTV) -- The Thomasville Police Department is investigating after a passerby reported seeing a body in a ditch just after midnight Sunday.

According to police, the female victim was found near a drain line in the 100 block of Green Street.

The body is being sent to the GBI Crime Lab. Police say it appears the victim may have drowned, but an official cause of death has not been determined.

Thomasville Police said there was a heavy downpour in the area just before the body was discovered.

Authorities are not releasing the victim's identity until next of kin has been notified.