Posted: Wednesday, August 29th 2012 at 2:41pm
Investigation ongoing, authorities keep details quiet in murder of Gainesville girl
By Derreck Booth/B.J. Williams
GAINESVILLE - As authorities run down leads and tips in the murder of a 16- year-old Gainesville girl, they say their tight-lipped stance in the case is to protect the investigation.
As family members mourned the death of Hannah Truelove in funeral services Wednesday, the Hall County Sheriff's Office continued to look for her killer or killers.
Sheriff's Major Woodrow Tripp said as much as authorities want to keep the family involved, they have to remain mum on details that could hurt the case.
While he stressed it has not happened in the Truelove investigation, Tripp said family members can inadvertently compromise cases.
"What you have to be careful of is that inadvertently, a family member could mention something to another person, who in turn mentions it to another, and that information could literally wind back up in the hands of the person who was involved in this," Tripp said.
"It may not be intentional, but the damage is done regardless of who got it there. So as a result of that, we have to be very tight-lipped as we proceed through this," Tripp added.
As far as cause of death, Tripp said it's something they're keeping investigatively close.
"I know as strange as this may sound, there are literally people, and this has been throughout the course of modern American history, that actually confess to crimes they haven't committed. One of the ways that helps us is when they're confessing and they're giving us a manner of death and in fact, it's not what occurred, it certainly helps us to weed those out," Tripp said.
He said investigators have received plenty of tips and information in the Truelove murder. While he said that's a good thing, the challenge is that much of that information ends up being irrelevant to the investigation. That's where the element of time comes in.
"We can't discount it. We have to investigate it, explore it and determine if in fact it's valid or not. There's a lot that we wade through. It's kind of like looking for that needle in the haystack."
Truelove had been the subject of a missing person's report last week. Her body was discovered around 7:30 p.m. Friday in a wooded area near the Lake Lanier shoreline off Dawsonville Highway.
Tripp said authorities don't believe the crime was random.
"We believe at this point that this was definitely somebody that Hannah knew."
The incident remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division, and anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call 770-531-6879.
Link: Online tip line
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