The sister of a man killed near Swainsboro in 2002 is planning an event in hopes that it will raise awareness of unsolved murders and other questionable deaths.
Jeannie Willene Ellis Bryant, of Metter, has organized the Keeping the Memory Alive in Georgia event, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, in Swainsboro, as a way to remember and honor her brother, Terry Brooks “Bubba” Rewis, who was found dead off Highway 56 in Emanuel County 16 years ago.
Bryant doesn’t feel her brother’s death was accidental and has been struggling since then to find out who hit and killed him. But even after Emanuel County sheriff’s investigators reopened the cold case in 2015, no one has stepped forward, she said. A reward of $6,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest.
Through efforts to find out more about Rewis’ death, Bryant has met numerous people, many through social media, who have similar stories. She attended a Keeping the Memory Alive event in Indiana in June, where she met with others who also question the unsolved deaths of their loved ones, and she decided to bring such an event home.
The program will be held from 2–6 p.m. at Patriot’s Park at 102 South Main St. in Swainsboro. There will be a silent auction, karaoke, a performance by the Silversal band and special guest speakers. Also, the first 150 guests will receive a free barbecue sandwich donated by Jomax Barbecue, she said.
“Please join us to remember and honor our murdered loved ones and all crime victims,” Bryant said. “I hope this is the start of something bigger in the future.”
It is difficult to deal with the death of a loved one in any case, but an unsolved murder or disappearance makes it even harder, she said.
Travis Tankersley, reported missing in Screven County since August 2016, still has not been found, although authorities found his shorts near a dumpster on Buck Creek Road.
The case of missing Millen man Joseph Jenkins is another that has yet to be solved, Bryant said. Family members of both men are expected to attend the memorial event, as well as the family of a Statesboro man found dead in what was ruled suicide.
“They have questions, as things were found at the scene” that were suspicious, she said.
The event is free to the public. A 50/50 ticket sale ($10 for an “arm’s length” of tickets) will be held, with half of the proceeds given to the holder of the winning ticket and half going toward future efforts to build upon the event.
“I hope to start a nonprofit organization” to help families of missing persons or help solve mysterious deaths, Bryant said. Silent auction proceeds will also go toward the effort.
For more information about Keeping the Memory Alive in Georgia, call Bryant at (912) 314 6540.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.
This article has been updated to correct the amount of the reward offered and the correct address of the event.