ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - What happened to Detrez Green?
The disappearance of 2-year-old Detrez has mystified law enforcement and the community after a January 2017 deadly tornado decimated a Dougherty County mobile home park he and his family lived at.
Adding to the mystery of the case, a photo of Detrez has never been made public — not even to law enforcement.
WALB has compiled an interactive timeline of events in Detrez’s case, from his reported disappearance to where the elusive case stands now. A day-by-day breakdown detailing his reported disappearance to the days-long search has also been compiled. The breakdown includes communications from the county’s emergency operations center and other officials following the deadly storm.
Below is the day-by-day breakdown:
January 22, 2017
- The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that a severe weather outbreak spanning multiple days hit the southeast United States in January 2017. According to the NWS, five tornadoes hit Southwest Georgia on January 22, 2017, including an EF-3 tornado. That tornado had an estimated peak wind speed of 150 mph. It started around 3:15 p.m. in Dougherty County, traveled through Worth and Turner counties, and ended just before 4:30 p.m. in Wilcox County. It was on the ground for more than 70 miles and its width was 1.25 miles at its widest. It led to five fatalities and at least 40 injuries.
- The other four tornadoes in Southwest Georgia on January 22, 2017 included an EF-2 in Thomas and Brooks counties causing three injuries, an EF-3 that went through Brooks, Cook and Berrien counties causing 11 fatalities, an EF-1 in Lowndes County, and an EF-2 that went through Clay, Calhoun and Randolph counties, causing one injury.
- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said that “at approximately 3 p.m., a tornado struck the Piney Woods Trailer Park in Dougherty County where the Green family resided at the time.”
- Green was reported missing from 3527 Sylvester Road Lot 8, Piney Wood Estates.
- Via Georgia EOC: 4:33 p.m.: Ten law enforcement officers requested via Georgia Emergency Operations Center for Dougherty County. “Staging point will be at Holly and Highway 19 Eastbound. Local law enforcement is conducting house to house searches and overwhelmed.”
- The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) sends 11 troopers.
- Officials: “Damage is so great in the area that they are having to walk. Information is that South Dougherty County is seriously damaged.”
- Georgia Department of Corrections (DCS) has five law enforcement officers on the ground searching house to house, sends 5-7 additional investigators to assist with house-to-house searching.
- Two initial response teams sent.
- 14 DCS officers en route to Albany. Eight work day shifts and six work night shifts.
- Via Georgia EOC: 7:42 p.m.: Three search and rescue task forces with Georgia Search and Rescue (GSAR) are requested for Dougherty County through Georgia EOC, to assist local agencies with search and rescue missions on Oakridge Drive and Radium Springs Road.
- GBI: “At approximately 8:10 p.m., police received a call about a missing child, later identified as Detrez Green, and immediately began a search.”
January 23, 2017
- The search for Detrez, 2, continued in Piney Wood Estates Mobile Home Park. The search took place among destroyed mobile homes and debris. At the time, law enforcement told WALB that the child’s mother told officials the child slipped away from her right as the storm hit. The mother reported that Detrez was last seen walking through the kitchen area towards the back door of the mobile home. That area was destroyed by a huge oak tree. Crews said they searched through the home on this date, sifting through every piece of the home.
- Via Georgia EOC: More law enforcement assistance arrives in Dougherty County.
- DPS/MCCD sends five additional officers assisting with damaged areas, patrol and traffic control in Radium Springs Road area.
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens have multiple CAT teams in the area assisting GSAR with search and rescue missions.
- GSP sends 12 additional troopers.
- Via Georgia EOC: 7:55 a.m. Search and rescue dog requested for Dougherty County. “SAR dog will be utilized in continuing efforts to locate a missing child as well as other SAR efforts in the affected area.” (2106 Habersham Rd. Albany) Two GSAR K-9 (live search) K-9s and handlers en route from Dawson County.
- Via Georgia EOC: 8:05 a.m. Dog, cadaver (land air scent) requested for Dougherty County. “Cadaver dog will be utilized in continuing efforts to identify and locate victims from affected area.” (2106 Habersham Rd. Albany) Two K-9s and handlers en route to Albany Police Department.
- Via Georgia EOC: 10:39 a.m. Aircrafts, rotary wing (light) requested for Dougherty County. “Aerial search-missing person. Albany PD request assistance locating missing 2 year old child.” (US 82 & Ramsey Rd. Albany) 1:50 p.m. “Subject not located. Albany PD advised to stand down and return to the airport. Ground teams will continue search.”
- Via Georgia EOC: 12:18 p.m. Search and Rescue Task Force (GSAR) requested. “Dougherty County EMA requests a 20 member GSAR team to assist with ongoing SAR/Recovery and debris removal operations. Staging point is Oak Ridge and Radium Springs Road at the old Winn Dixie parking lot.” (requested to arrive January 24, 2017)
January 24, 2017
- On Jan. 24, they searched through surrounding homes and the woods. Albany Dougherty Rescue and Search Team and Georgia Search and Rescue Team took part in the search.
- Now-former DCP Chief Jackie Battle told WALB at the time that this was day three of the search. Battle said the child’s parents are from Ashburn. When the tornado hit, they said a tree crashed through the trailer, and they hadn’t seen the child since.
- As of this date, the search was only being conducted by trained personnel. It was not open to civilians because of the massive destruction.
- As of the evening, Dougherty County Police Capt. Tom Jackson said they only had one official missing person they were searching for: Detrez. He wanted to clarify that just because people were unable to get in contact with a family member did not mean they were missing.
- Albany Dougherty Search and Rescue Teams and some groups from the state level were searching as of that evening.
- The preliminary search for missing people and for people that may be hurt in the tornado-damaged areas in Dougherty County was complete, and a second, wider search, was underway. An incident management team brought in by GEMA was on the ground to help other search and rescue crews, and more disaster teams were expected.
- Several fly-overs of the tornado-damaged areas were completed, as teams also worked to figure out just how many structures not only sustained damage but were destroyed.
- Via Georgia EOC: 12:57 p.m.: Two cadaver dogs (land air scent) requested for Dougherty County. Requested for January 25, 2017. (1215 Radium Springs Road) Five cadaver dogs were deployed.
January 25, 2017
- The search continues for Detrez. Detrez is still missing as search and rescue crews continue to make their way through the area on Sylvester Road. Between 10-15 organizations are teaming together to comb their way through the heavily wooded, heavily damaged area. They’re using chainsaws to cut through the trees and thick brush- and heavy machinery to move it as they continue to find this toddler. Albany Fire Department Capt. Bobby Spargo said the search expanded into some wet areas including a pond, where they’re trying to pump out that water so they can make their way through easier. It’s not easy at all. It was a heavily wooded area to begin with and now, it’s a storm-damaged area so crews are having to cut down and pull back the downed trees and all the brush to make their way forward.
- Via Georgia EOC: 4:12 p.m. Three water pumps requested. “3 5-6” discharge water pumps to assist in pumping a pond regarding the search and rescue mission in Dougherty. Resource en route to location (Ramsey Road @ Highway 82) “GFC will be providing three large irrigation pumps to assist in draining a pond so that SARS can look for a missing child.” "Pumps were in place and started pumping about dark. They ran all night (into January 26, 2017) and dropped the water level about 6-8 feet.”
- Via Georgia EOC: 5:31 p.m.: Dive team requested for Dougherty County. “Request per IMT on scene in Dougherty County for dive team plus equipment to search retention pond for missing 2-year-old child. Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team has been contacted and is en route.” (US 82 & Ramsey Road).
January 26, 2017
- The emergency management teams on the ground in Albany are moving from search and rescue to the recovery phase. Dougherty County’s EMA Director Ron Rowe, at a press conference, said that the entire tornado disaster area has been thoroughly searched, and that everyone is accounted for in every area, except for Detrez. Rowe said the search for Detrez, who went missing Sunday after the tornado hit, has been extremely labor intensive, since the search area is thick with trees and high debris piles.
- Via Georgia EOC: 5:10 p.m.: Pumps are no longer needed and are being packed up at this time.
January 27, 2017
- The search for Detrez is turned back over from EMA and search and rescue teams to the Dougherty County Police Department (DCP).
- A GBI report shows that around 2:30 p.m. on this date, Battle requested the GBI Region 15 Field Office to assist with “a missing child since the Sunday, January 22, 2017 tornado in Dougherty County, Georgia.”
- Rowe said more than 200 personnel spent the past four days searching every possible place they could to find the child. He said they have cleared all the area near the site, drained most of a pond and sent dive teams in. Now that the search is complete, the police department will continue handling the case. DCP has already begun interviewing to find out where this child may be.
January 31, 2017
- Ashburn police and the GBI confirmed that they were at a home on Pineknot Road, a home that is the former residence of the family of a missing 2-year-old boy. An investigator with the GBI confirmed that this used to be the home of Kevian Green and his girlfriend, Detrez’s parents. The Ashburn police chief confirmed that police and the GBI were there for about two hours. Neighbors reported that law enforcement agents were digging in the backyard.
- Police chief also confirms that Ashburn police were called to this home back in November 2014 for a domestic violence case. The Tri-County swat team was called to the house after the woman’s father called 911, saying his daughter was being harmed. Kevian Green was taken into custody after police say he had a gun and was holding the woman and two small children inside the home. Green was not charged with anything in this incident.
February 22, 2017
- One month since the tornado and Detrez was reported missing. The GBI is assisting DCP in the search for Green.
March 23, 2017
- Two months after a tornado hit Dougherty County, Detrez has still not been found. To date, there has been no picture released of the child and no leads into his disappearance.
November 27, 2017
- Over ten months later, investigators said they’re no closer to finding the truth about what happened to Detrez. His disappearance is considered a cold case. DCP Capt. Tom Jackson said the GBI is assisting in this investigation, but until someone speaks up, the truth about what happened to Detrez will never be proven.
- Dougherty County Police said they are frustrated with this case. They hold firm that someone knows something, and until someone speaks up, they may never know what happened to Detrez.
- Jackson said there’s no real progress in finding the truth. He said that will only happen when people start to speak up.
- Investigators still don’t have a picture of the boy, which adds to the mystery of the case. Jackson said the last he heard, Detrez’s two siblings were under DFCS custody.
January 22, 2018
- A year later, there is still no picture of the child that has been released to the public.
January 22, 2019
- For the first time since Detrez was reported missing two years ago, WALB talked with one of his family members. Willie Rainey lives in Ashburn. He says he’s Detrez’s great-grandfather. His granddaughter, Adaijah Rainey, is Detrez’s mother. Rainey said he never saw the boy that he knows of.
- For the purposes of WALB’s follow-up story, the GBI released a press release asking for the public’s assistance in the missing child investigation.
- Here is the full release: “Police are seeking the public’s assistance in a nearly 4-year-old missing child’s investigation. On January 27, 2017, the Dougherty County Police Department requested the GBI to assist in the disappearance of two-year-old Detrez Green. On January 22, 2017, at approximately 3 p.m, a tornado struck the Piney Woods Trailer Park in Dougherty County where the Green family resided at the time. At approximately 8:10 p.m., police received a call about a missing child, later identified as Detrez, and immediately began a search. The child’s parents reported that a tornado hit their home, and a tree crashed through the trailer. Law enforcement and search crews spent days searching for Detrez. A nearby pond was drained and searched providing no results. Throughout the course of this investigation, no picture of Detrez has been provided to the police. Agents and Investigators worked together on numerous investigative acts. They included conducting interviews and searched the parents' former home in Turner County. Anyone with information related to the disappearance of Detrez is urged to call the Dougherty County Police Department at (229) 430-6600, the GBI’s Regional Office in Sylvester at (229) 777-2080 or Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.”
October 28, 2020
- This mark’s Detrez’s sixth birthday and he is still missing.