ST. SIMONS ISLAND - A lawyer representing the family of the late Glynn County Commissioner Tom Sublett said Thursday he expects a state medical examiner to conclude Sublett killed himself.
Mark Johnson also said the family would contest that finding.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner James Downs met with the family recently and indicated Sublett’s death “was consistent with suicide,” Johnson said.
“The family strongly disagrees with the conclusion and will challenge that conclusion in the proper forum,’’ he said. “We’re not experts, but we have reasons to believe that is an incorrect conclusion.’’
Sublett’s body was found floating in the Frederica River about 6 a.m. Dec. 12 between a dock and a boat at the St. Simons Boating & Fishing Club. His car was found parked nearby in Gascoigne Bluff Park and divers have repeatedly searched the river around a county fishing dock about 150 yards south.
His hands were bound in front of his body and he had been shot in the head. Downs, who conducted the autopsy, said Sublett had drowned.
He was last seen the night before after dropping off a friend at a car north of Brunswick following a regular friendly card game at a home on Oak Grove Island.
The family expects the finding to be released in a matter of days and is researching the best way to challenge it, Johnson said.
“We may hire a private qualified expert to review,’’ he said.
Among the family’s doubts are that Sublett was preparing for a Christmas celebration with his family and there had never been any signs of depression or any other issues that would have led to him taking his own life, Johnson said.
He said the family has no criticism of the Glynn County Police Department or the GBI, the lead investigators in the case.
“The family’s belief is they’re working hard on the investigation,’’ and that the work will continue, Johnson said.
Stacy Carson, assistant special agent in charge of the GBI’s Kingsland office, said investigators are still working on the case. She declined comment on any other aspect of the investigation.
Glynn County Coroner Jimmy Durden said he was told that Downs intended to meet with the family about two weeks ago but doesn’t know what was said.
Meanwhile, the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for Sublett’s death is now at $70,000 after private donors contributed $20,000, Johnson said.