Bulloch County sheriff's deputies on patrol Sunday captured a man wanted in connection to a murder in Liberty County.
An alert posted by Liberty County sheriff's deputies had authorities on the lookout for Randall Joey Futch Jr., 32, Luke Road, Midway, and the vehicle he allegedly stole from the murder victim, said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
On Sunday, Bulloch County Sheriff's Sgt. Rey Rodriguez spotted the reportedly stolen Buick Century on Highway 119 near Eldora, he said.
When Rodriguez noted Futch was driving, he radioed for backup, but when he learned it would take deputies several minutes to respond to his location, he decide "to risk a traffic stop by himself, rather than risk the murder suspect escaping," Anderson said.
Rodriguez stopped Futch near Stilson Elementary School, ordering him to exit the car and lie on the ground, using his patrol rifle.
Rodriguez took Futch into custody without incident and transported him to the Bulloch County Jail, where he was held until Liberty County authorities picked him up, Anderson said. The car was towed to the Bulloch County Jail to await investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
GBI agents are probing the death of Dana Ziegler, 52, Luke Road, Midway, according to media reports. Ziegler was found dead in her home Friday evening. Investigators issued a lookout for Futch, who was wanted for questioning regarding Ziegler's death. Bulloch County deputies charged him with felony theft by receiving stolen property, according to jail records.
Anderson praised Rodriguez for his actions, noting that the sergeant was awarded the department's Meritorious Service Ribbon for bravery shown in the arrest.
Rodriguez also was honored in 2010 with the Bulloch County Sheriff's Medal of Valor for his actions during a Statesboro Police Department incident in which a suspect shot an officer. Rodriguez returned fire and shot the suspect, who later died.
"Rodriguez's dedication to duty is a reflection of actions taken daily by understaffed ... patrol deputies in responding to all manner of calls for service," Anderson said. "They are the backbone of this agency and serve the citizens of Bulloch County each day with honor."
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.