By MYRA THRIFT, City Editor
An exhaustive seven-month search for a murder suspect has resulted in the man’s arrest last week in Mexico, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Zeb Hall Murray, who was 31 on July 9, 2016, the day his roommate Adam Douglas Noel, 25, was murdered at the mobile home they shared together at 510 Sawdust Trail just east of Waycross, was arrested in Acapulco, Mexico Wednesday, Royal said.
Murray was taken to the Harris County, Texas jail where he fell seriously ill, Royal said. He was transported by ambulance to a Texas hospital and emergency medical care was administered. After he was stabilized, he was returned to the jail in Houston.
Royal, who did not know the nature of the illness, said Murray is en route to Ware County.
Royal said he was relieved the search for Murray finally bore fruit and that he hopes the arrest will bring some closure to those who were affected by the death of Noel.
“This has been a tough case, but we never gave up and I can say with assurance that the people from my department and (others) who assisted gave it all they had as they worked hard to bring about a result,” said Royal.
Royal said two investigators, Sgt. Mike Thrift and GBI Agent Joe Hilton, were sent to Texas over the weekend to deliver Murray back to Ware County to face charges.
Noel’s body was found just after noon on July 9, said Royal. Noel’s car was reported missing, and his roommate, Murray, was nowhere to be found. Murray had become Joel’s roommate just prior to the day of the murder, said Royal.
The victim’s car, a 2007 Hyundai Tiburon, turned up in Laredo, Texas, along the Mexican border several months ago, said Royal. Investigators developed numerous leads after finding the car that took them on a search for Murray, but he was able to elude police until last week, the sheriff said.
The manhunt included law enforcement authorities from Georgia to the Mexican border, Royal said, and lawmen in Texas continued the search for Murray on a constant basis.
No information is being released about evidence in the case.
Back in July Royal said there was obvious trauma to the body of Noel, which was sent to the GBI State Crime Lab for an autopsy and analysis, Royal said.
“We can’t release anything else,” said Royal this morning. “All I can say is that he will be brought here to face the murder charges.”
Once Murray is here, court hearings will begin.
“I have to thank a long list of people who have worked on this case,” said Royal. “I am proud of the work my investigators did and thankful for assistance from the GBI and Texas authorities.”