The search for a Fitzgerald teen continues - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The search for a Fitzgerald teen continues

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February 9, 2008

Telfair County -- Georgia's Department of Natural Resource boats have been racing down the Ocmulgee River for seven days now. This time using Sonar images.

"I've been involved with drownings for 10 to 15 years, and I've never had one that has taken this long to recover the body," said Telfair County Sheriff, Jimmie Williamson.

Everyone continues to search to find any trace that may lead them to 16-year-old Thomas T-J Spell.

"We've seen trees in the bottom. I reviewed all the pictures. We've seen all kinds of debris, but I haven't seen anything that resembles a body," said Department of Natural Resources Sergeant, Keith Byers.

And though they have dragged the river, used snag poles, and now SONAR images with no success, they are still confident there is a big chance Thomas Spell is somewhere in the river.

"The car was actually laying on its side on the driver side. The passenger window was rolled down giving us an indication that somebody did make it out of the vehicle," said Williamson.

"I believe because of the way the car went in that somebody is here and we are going to be here until we find him," said Byers.

During the search, Telfair deputies continue to investigate tips. "We have had a few tips where people thought they may have seen him, but we ran all of those down. And they have turned out negative," said Williamson.

And deputies are not completely ruling out foul play. "There is always a possibility there's foul play. But at this time we have no evidence to believe that," said Williamson.

For now the search efforts continue.

"We're doing everything we possibly can to recover this body. I have four or five people here at least everyday. Rescue units are here. The sheriff has his people here and we are going to continue until we find him," said Byers.

Spell is around six-feet-tall and weighs about 140 pounds.He has dirty blond hair and blue eyes. Anyone with any information on his location can call the Telfair Sheriff's Office at 229-868-6621.

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