Couple dead in Tift County -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Couple dead in Tift County

September 10, 2002

Tift County- Tift County Sheriff Gary Vowell breaks the news of Joy and Bobby Hill's death to a family member, not just a family member of the Hills, but his own. Joy Hill was sheriff Vowell's cousin.

"Never pleasant, but when it's kin folks, it's pretty tough," Vowell said.

Also difficult, determining just what happened to the couple, reportedly happily married for thirty years. Bobby and Joy Hill were supposed to show up at the Tifton Lodge to work the polling place, but when they didn't, a poll worker went to check on them.

"House was not locked, he walked in, walked out, and immediately called 911," Vowell said.

"Me and my daughter saw coroner go up, so knew something was wrong just didn't know what," neighbor Carolyn Ritter said.

More than 50 people gathered about noon to hear the latest from Tift County's sheriff, though so far he isn't saying much.

"Preliminary investigation, shows no forced entry into house, no foul play involved, nothing stolen or taken from residence," said Vowell, choking back tears.

We asked the sheriff what he meant by no foul play, and whether this is being classified as a murder investigation, but he says investigators will wait until a cause of death is determined to answer those questions.

Meanwhile back at the polling place, with the book of voter's names retrieved from the Hill home, voting goes on as they say the Hill family would have wanted it. But something's will never be the same.

"Losing Bobby and Joy tremendous for Tifton, work they did for the community can't put it into words," Terry Kelley, Tifton Exchange Club president said.

Joy Hill is a past United Way and exchange club president. The couple were owners of J and B Power Equipment. Sadness marked there Tuesday with a black ribbon on the door, and the American flag, flying at half staff.

Joy and Bob Hill created the Bids for Kids Auction in Tifton to raise money for child abuse prevention. Joy chaired that event for nine years. The Exchange Club's president says he expects this year's 10th anniversary to be held in their memory.

posted at 6:40 p.m. by dave.d'


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