Editor's note: in the print edition of this story, we made an error we didn't catch until this morning. Note that Rayburn was reported missing the weekend of Aug. 3 and 4. - KM
A family waits for the return of the body of a loved one found dead in the Tolbert Town area south of Rockmart in recent days, and are left searching for answers as to what happened to him and why.
Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier reported the body is still at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab waiting for medical examiners to finish their inquiry into how 49-year-old Terry Rayburn died in days past. That was as of this morning.
His step-father Wayne Edwards said in an interview late last week the family also awaits answers as well.
Rayburn went missing on Saturday, Aug. 4, and wasn’t found until several days later when Edwards had gone back to look for any evidence of what might have happened to his stepson.
His return to the mountain around the Tolbert Town Road area ended with a hike toward the edge, then spotting a well-worn Georgia Bulldogs cap he instantly thought might be the one Rayburn wore regularly.
“I squatted down to look at his cap, and then looked out further and saw him,” Edwards said.
Edwards said he hadn’t intended on finding his stepson’s body when he returned to search for clues as to what happened to him, but that he felt he was drawn there by God.
He said he had no real idea as to why Rayburn had been in the area at the time, or what could have happened. He’d lived with his mother and stepfather for several years, Edwards said.
Until investigators at the crime lab finish their inquiry, Rayburn’s body hasn’t yet been turned over to the family so they can complete funeral arrangements.
Rayburn was reported on the weekend of Aug. 3 and 4, and was later found by Edwards on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Police initially found his truck at least a quarter mile east of where he was later located on Tolbert Town Road. Detective Josh Smith said several people noticed the truck but didn’t realize it was for someone missing, and didn’t immediately have information on who ultimately reported it missing.
Smith added they are working on numerous leads provided to the police department at the moment, but have no specific reason to believe any foul play was involved in Rayburn’s death.
Arrangements are being handled by Alvis Miller and Son Funeral Home of Rockmart.
Several messages of support for Rayburn’s family were posted in the days following the discovery of his body in Tolbert Town, with many of them offering prayers of support and condolences.