Man found dead near historical landmark in Thomasville

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 7, 2019

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Thomasville Police are investigating the death of a man found near the intersection of Crawford and Monroe Streets.

Sunday morning, a passerby discovered the man lying on the ground next to The Big Oak, one of Thomasville's famous historic landmarks.

EMS responded and 47-year-old Thanis Bell was pronounced dead on the scene. Officials don't expect foul play to be involved, but residents say they're still concerned.

Police response on Sunday didn't go unnoticed by neighbors. Residents say they were taking a jog or drive when they witnessed the crime tape go up in their typically quiet neighborhood.

"We noticed a gentleman laying on a grassy knoll by the Big Oak under a white sheet, and it was very obvious there was a person under the sheet from the outline. There were quite a few cops there with yellow tape up," said Christopher Linton, a neighbor.

The Big Oak is a popular historic spot in Thomasville. The tree is more than a century old and comes with its own camera that can take your picture. Just a few blocks from downtown, neighbors say people are always walking the nearby streets.

Although it's unknown as to how Bell ended up in the area, police believe his death was likely due to natural causes. They say Bell has an extensive medical history.

Authorities will continue to investigate as an autopsy is conducted.