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Investigators await toxicology in mans death
Sheriff's office: No indication of foul play

An autopsy Wednesday revealed no immediate cause of death for a man found dead in his home Tuesday, but there is no indication of foul play, said Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Akins.

Brenton Copeland, 35, of Bull Bay Drive off Old Riggs Mill Road, was found by his fiancée Tuesday morning lying on a weight bench in his garage, with a barbell on his chest, according to Bulloch County Sheriff’s incident reports.

Akins said Thursday initial autopsy results were inconclusive, and investigators are now awaiting toxicology and histology reports to determine the cause of death.

According to, histology is the “study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues.” Toxicology tests will determine whether a substance could have contributed to Copeland’s death.

Cpl. Brian Nessmith responded around 7:36 a.m. Tuesday to Bull Bay Road for a call about “a man with a barbell on is neck,” but Akins said Thursday the barbell was found on Copeland’s chest. Bulloch County EMS arrived before Nessmith did and pronounced Copeland dead at the scene, according to reports.

 The victim’s fiancée, unidentified in reports, told deputies she went to bed at 12:30 a.m. and left Copeland in the living room watching sports on TV. Reports stated she told deputies she awoke about 7:30 a.m., went to put clothes in the dryer and noticed the garage light was on. She said she found Copeland unresponsive, lying on a weight bench with a barbell across his chest.

According to reports, she told Nessmith she did not recall if there were any weights on the barbell but she was able to remove it and call 911.

Nessmith reported finding a three-fourths empty, half-gallon Jose Cuervo tequila bottle on the living room coffee table and of cans of weight gain powder, whey protein powder and creatine on top of a refrigerator. However, Copeland’s fiancée said he had not used supplements in a while.

Nessmith also found a bottle of Atorvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, prescribed to Copeland. The fiancée stated the victim had suffered a stroke last year.

Akins said it could be months before toxicology and histology tests results are returned, due to crime lab backlogs.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.



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