• GBI hands over recruit death case to DeKalb DA

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    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - State agents have wrapped up their independent investigation into the death of a DeKalb County jail recruit and turned the case over to the DeKalb County District Attorney.

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began looking into George Ward’s 2013 death following a Channel 2 Action News investigation.

    Ward died in May of 2013.  He collapsed on his second day of jail training and died the following day.

    Channel 2 Action News obtained video of Ward's final moments, when he was forced to wear pink and visibly struggled during his workout.

    After Channel 2’s Erica Byfield showed the county's Chief Medical Examiner the footage, he changed Ward's manner of death from "natural" to "undetermined."

    Sheriff Jeffery Mann dodged our questions when we attempted to ask him why his office never investigated Ward's death.

    Following a series of Channel 2 Action News reports in early November, Mann asked the GBI to get involved.

    "When we were requested to do the investigation one of the things that we decided was that we were going to make this case a priority," said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

    Now, nearly a month after six state agents questioned jailers, we confirmed the GBI handed their findings over to the sheriff and DeKalb County’s District Attorney.

    Lang described her agency's investigation into Ward's death as "swift" and "thorough.”

    "When we do investigations we are just fact-finders," said Lang.

    A spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office said their staffers will now review the file and if needed conduct a supplementary investigation to determine if anyone should face criminal charges.

    Sheriff Mann released a statement calling his officer's recruit training program "textbook," and said it is "managed by experienced officers who share recruits desires to succeed."

    Mann also said he remains confident that his agency acted responsibly. He was second in command when Ward died. 

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