Special Report: What happened to Brandon?
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A single photo is all that is known to exist of Brandon Price, a 10-year-old boy who died mysteriously.
A year after his death, the case is not close to being resolved.
A WALB News 10 investigation aimed to find out: What happened to Brandon?
Drivers regularly speed by an old family cemetery in Webster County, GA, oblivious to the heartbreaking story told by an unmarked grave inside.
It's the final resting place of Brandon Price, whose short and troubled life ended tragically on May 3, 2014.
District Attorney Greg Edwards is leading the ongoing investigation.
"My job is to find the truth," he said. "We don't want to rush to judgment against any individual."
Brandon lived in an east Albany home with his paternal grandparents, but other adults were often there.
District Attorney Edwards said there are still several persons of interest in the case.
On May 3rd, 2014, grandparents John and Symanthia Price made the 15 minute drive from their home to the Phoebe Putney Hospital emergency room with Brandon. When they arrived, he was dead.
They told police Brandon was alive when they left home, and they believed he may have been bitten by a snake while playing in a hole in the floor of a bathroom closet.
But we obtained police and Division of Family and Children Services records that tell a different story.
An officer who responded to the hospital wrote that Brandon "had bruises all over his body and several open wounds to his hands and feet with marks all over his back."
The coroner stated that he thought Brandon "had been dead for at least the past 6-7 hours."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors denied our request to see the autopsy report, but in a DFACS report, a case manager wrote that preliminary autopsy results showed "non-accidental injuries to the brain." Brandon was underweight, just 55 pounds, and "there was no food observed in his stomach."
The DFACS report referenced "his emaciated condition and apparent neglect" and suggested Brandon was forced to sleep on the floor and was sometimes locked in a closet as punishment.
Questions about Brandon's mother surfaced, and we learned that she lived in Florida at the time of his death and did not have legal custody.
"There is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, but we still need to identify who did it," said District Attorney Edwards.
Multiple times last year when we asked D.A. Edwards for updates on the case, he told us his office was waiting for additional forensics tests from the GBI crime lab. But we uncovered those tests were not requested until February and only after we questioned the GBI director.
Edwards said he didn't know where the disconnect was for that issue.
Two weeks ago, Edwards told us he was still waiting for trace evidence testing, but our investigation found those results came back from the crime lab in July and no further trace evidence testing was requested.
When pressed on that point, he conceded the inaccuracies.
"If I made representations that everything was done, maybe I was not really accurate, and I'll acknowledge that," Edwards said.
But he is still standing by the way his office and police have handled the case.
"I haven't seen anything done that is a measurable mistake," Edwards noted.
He insists the case always has been and remains a priority for his office.
"Every homicide or death of a child is of utmost importance," Edwards said.
The case is difficult, Edwards said, because of the factors led to Brandon's death. Investigators have to determine whether those factors involved criminal activity and who is responsible.
"I wish this was an open and shut case, but it's not, and so we gotta work," he noted. "Getting it right is more important than getting it [done] quickly."
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