Statesboro Police Det. Keith Holloway said he enjoys police shows on television where all crimes are solved in an hour. But that almost never happens in his own experience and for any detective he knows.
However, he does remember one case from a few years ago that fit that TV mold.
“We had a guy call in several years ago who lived on South Main Street,” Holloway said. “He said he was kidnapped by a guy who was burglarizing his house. The guy forced him into the back of his own trunk, took him to the ATM, got money out of the ATM, took him back to his house and left him in the trunk. He was able to get out and call us.
“I processed that scene and was able to get a fingerprint and we had the guy identified within an hour. He was later convicted and sent to prison. I was really proud of that one to solve it so quickly.”
Holloway was first hired as a patrol officer for the Statesboro Police Department in 2001 by then Chief Stan York and last month he was selected as the department’s Detective of the Year – an honor that stunned him.
“Honestly, I was shocked,” he said. “Because I didn’t expect to get it and I thought there were other detectives more deserving than I was. We’ve had nine homicides this year and a lot of those detectives come out to every one of them like I do. They work long hours like I do. Sometimes they carry 10 to 15 cases a month and they have to work them all simultaneously.
“Frankly, they put in a lot of work. More than I do. So I just thought one of them probably deserved it more than me. Now, I did do a lot of work with the crime scenes and I appreciate the people who did nominate me. I’m grateful for that. I just never thought I’d get it.”
Police Chief Mike Broadhead, however wasn’t surprised at all that Holloway, who is in charge of processing and gathering evidence at crime scenes, received the honor.
“Detective Holloway is very good at ‘paying attention to detail,’” Broadhead said. “That's a critical skill for a crime scene investigator and is also important in his role as the property and evidence custodian. He has an outstanding work ethic and these attributes are observable by all of his co-workers and I think that's why he earned the recognition this year.”
Plan for a different career
Before he joined the Statesboro PD 20 years ago, Holloway had a plan for a different career path, but one with a law enforcement aspect.
“Initially, I wanted to be a game warden,” he said.
Holloway went to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton and earned a two-year degree in criminal justice. But after he left ABAC, he said he soon learned there were not a lot of opportunities to pursue his goal of being a game warden and he needed a job. So, he was working at Jiffy Lube when he found out the police department was hiring.
He started on patrol, but got an itch to try other police work after about six years on the job.
“I never thought I would become a detective,” Holloway said. “I liked patrol. But at a certain point I wanted something different. A detective position became available so I put in for it.”
After working for several years, Holloway discovered a part of detective work that he thought would be both a challenge and appealing to his meticulous nature – crime scene investigation.
“I always have liked the detective part of the job in helping solve cases, but after several years I was looking for a change,” he said. “I always liked the processing part of the job because I’m by myself. I’m not rushed. I can take my time and do it. And then you help put all the pieces to together to solve a crime or that helps lead to the solving of a crime. I find it very rewarding.”
At crime scenes, some of Holloway’s duties include figuring out where all the evidence is at the site, deciding how to lay out placards by number so evidence can be easily referenced later and photographing and videoing the whole scene.
He gathers DNA and fingerprint evidence and any other physical evidence. Once the all evidence is collected, it’s brought back to the police department where he processes each piece. He even does a sketch of a crime scene.
Holloway also packages all the evidence, receives it in the evidence room to ensure a proper chain is kept and then makes sure that whatever needs to be sent to the crime lab in Pooler is shipped out.
Working as a detective for the past 14 years, Holloway has one unsolved case he would like to settle to give peace to a long-grieving family – the shooting death of Akeila Martin on Aug. 19, 2012.
“I have an open murder case that happened in the parking lot of the old Platinum Lounge on Proctor Street back in 2012,” he said. “Akeila Martin was the victim. We had a guy we actually did arrest. But after further reviewing all the interviews and evidence, I wasn’t confident in the case, so we released him. Not to say he was innocent of it, but I wanted to be sure that before someone is tried and convicted, that we have the right person.
“That’s one case that bothers me and want to get solved. And I hope to solve it at some point. She had family, children and a mother who want to find out who did it and so do I.”