Tom Sublett was the Commissioner of Glynn County, Georgia. He body was discovered this past December in a lake. His hands were tied and he had a gunshot to the head. The Coroner ruled it a suicide.
- There was a gun found in Mr. Sublett’s car but not near the lake;
- Authorities also uncovered unused bullets, zip ties, empty prescription bottles (belonging to he and his wife), Mr. Sublett’s wallet, and blood evidence on the dock and the car;
- He was last seen playing poker with friends the night before his death;
- Was described as a well-liked, trusted man; and
- Had no history of substance use or abuse, depression or suicidal thoughts.
Mr. Sublett’s family “strongly disagrees” with the Coroner’s ruling as a suicide. There is a $70,000 reward for his any information about his death.
There are likely other facts of the case that have not been reported but its unclear how an individual shoots themselves in the head when their hands tied.
This story reminds me of a recent documentary that aired on PBS who asked the question: Should we abolish coroners? The National Academy of Sciences say yes.
Coroners are not necessarily trained medical professionals. Qualifications vary greatly state to state. PBS, citing the National Association of Medical Examiners, noted the following problems with coroners:
- Colorado recommends and encourages but does not require their coroners to be trained in forensic death investigations.
- Jay County, Indiana elected an 18-year old to the position of deputy coroner while she was still in high school.
- Georgia, the state discussed in the above story, only requires that their coroners be at least 25-years old, be a high school graduate, complete one week of death investigation training, and not be a convicted felon.
Watch this PBS Clip About Abolishing Coroners: