GBI returns to neighborhood of Arbery killing with drones, digital documenting equipment

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — Crime scene techs with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation returned Wednesday to the neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while out jogging.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne went down to Glynn County, where GBI investigators also met with the FBI.

Following that meeting, Winne spoke with the GBI’s head investigator who gave him new insight into the case.

“The arrests are only a part of the investigation. There’s a lot more work to be done. A lot of work has been done,” said Scott Dutton, head of the GBI’s investigative division. “(We’re doing a) reexamination of the crime scene, the location itself, capturing video, reviewing interviews and going over statements.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: The Ahmaud Arbery Shooting]

The GBI said the cellphone video of the fatal shooting of Arbery released weeks ago, shows only part of the investigation into his death.

The agency was back out in the Satilla Shores neighborhood to get a different kind of visual record — using special cameras on the ground and a drone in the air.

“We are basically digitally mapping this neighborhood,” said Bryan Smith, assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Americus office. “We’re using what is commercially used as surveyors’ equipment to digitally and photographically memorialize the scene. It actually captures billions of data points.”

[TIMELINE: The investigation into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery]

The GBI is hoping these measures will help in the investigation that has already led to three arrests in the case.

“We’ve pulled resources from across the state to bring in their subject matter expertise,” Dutton told Winne.


GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said the overall forensic picture that comes from crime scene mapping could be used with getting clarity on things like comparing witness statements versus suspect statements.

“Are you coordinating with the FBI?” Winne asked Dutton.

“Well, on many cases very similar to this, when we know that there is a potential for overlap or duplication of efforts, we do confer with the FBI,” Dutton said. “We did have conversations with the FBI today.”

Dutton said the GBI is leading the murder investigation, along with the state investigation into how the case was handled in the early weeks of the investigation. The FBI is looking into whether federal hate crime charges should be filed in this case.

As investigators documented the neighborhood Wednesday, attorneys for the man who shot the video showing Arbery’s killing were in court filing motions in the case.

Attorneys for William “Roddie” Bryan filed motions to make sure Arbery’s family and his representatives are not speaking badly about him. The motion also asks the district attorney and GBI to keep track of all contact they have with the family to ensure Bryan gets a fair trial.