Lee Co. college student laid to rest, investigation heats up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. college student laid to rest, investigation heats up

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November 15, 2007

Albany-  Funeral services were held Thursday for a Lee County college student, but the criminal investigation into Jarrod Wills' death is just unfolding.

WALB News Ten has learned that Wills died after a night of partying, and now one of his friends is in jail. Our investigation revealed that it's possible the friend drove around with an unconscious Wills in his car, didn't get medical help for him, then dumped his body inside his Fussell Road house in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Cars lined the small drives of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Dawson as friends and family said farewell to 21 year old Jarrod Wills. As they mourn the death of the Georgia Southwestern State student, details unfold over what is described as a wild night that lead up to Wills death. The GBI is interviewing everyone who may have seen Wills Friday night or Saturday morning.

"There are quite a few individuals that have been interviewed, and we have a lot more people we have to talk with," said GBI Special Agent Mark Pro.

WALB has learned Albany Police were called this Maryland Drive home at 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Friends called police for a possible deceased person. When the officer arrived they told her Matt Blankenship had stopped at the house earlier and was pacing and talking about his wild night. The report indicates Jarrod Wills was in the car, witnesses say, he was unresponsive. The report states that Blankenship told the friends that Wills had taken six Xanax, prescription tranquilizers.

"The possibility of alcohol and drugs being involved is there but we don't have any definite information at this point as to whether they are contributing factors," said Pro.

Blankenship left the Maryland Drive home before police arrived, but when police called his phone, Blankenship told the officer he took Wills to his Fussell Road home because he was sick. The report says, police tried to call Wills home, but got no response and left a message. The Lee County Sheriff's office never got a call from Albany Police and responded to the home only after calls came into Lee 911 from family and friends. Now the GBI is trying to figure out where Wills and Blankenship may have been before turning up at the Maryland Drive home.

"We're trying to create a timeline and interview all the individuals that may have information regarding the events that occurred that night," said Pro.

That may give them a better idea of when Wills died. So far, no one has been charged in the case, but the GBI says they haven't ruled out that possibility.

Matt Blankenship is in the Lee County Jail on a probation violation from a previous criminal trespassing charge.

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