12-year-old Katelyn Davis broadcast her death via a livestream on her phone in late December 2016, which prompted investigators to get involved after it was also found that she’d left behind an extensive video diary online which police are investigating to find allegations of abuse.
The news of her last moments went viral, with well over 300,000 people viewing the story just on northwestgeorgianews.com alone.
There were many reports that Davis made allegations of abuse in her online journals and on social media accounts. Polk investigators sought warrants for Davis’ cellphone, social media accounts and other online records.
Throughout the year, an investigator went through hours upon hours of online video Davis left behind, Dodd said.
“Right now, we’re watching every minute of video, and if we see something that is considered cruelty to children, that’s something that we can potentially prosecute,” Dodd said in June. “The case is ongoing for the time being, but we have no evidence to prosecute anyone for her death.”
Another delay in the investigation happened when Polk County police detective Kristen Hearne — the investigator assigned to the case — was gunned down in September.
Hearne, along with officer David Goodrich, were investigating a resident’s complaint about a suspicious vehicle described as a Ford Escape when they were approached by Seth Brandon Spangler, 31, and Samantha Michelle Roof, 22, both of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
They began to talk and police say Spangler pulled out a handgun and shot both officers.
The suspects fled into the heavily wooded area of Polk County, but both suspects were captured hours later.
Hearne was taken to Polk Medical Center where lifesaving efforts continued for nearly an hour before she was pronounced dead. Goodrich, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was unharmed in the incident.
Both Spangler and Roof have been charged with murder, among other charges. In October, Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning filed notice with the court that he intends to seek the death penalty.