Years after woman dies of drug overdose, 2 men face murder charges

7:58 p.m Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 Gwinnett County
Channel 2 Action News
Heather Chandler

“Our guys never quit!” 

That’s what the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said after filing murder charges against two men accused in the 2013 overdose death of a Gwinnett County woman.

Christopher Ryan Holcomb, 32, is accused of injecting Heather Chandler with a fatal dose of heroin, according to an arrest warrant signed Monday. His friend, 38-year-old Seth Burson Richie, is also accused in the death but has not been served with the arrest warrant because he is incarcerated at Lee State Prison in Leesburg, Walton County deputies said.

Seth Richie (left), Christopher Holcomb (Credit: Walton County Sheriff's Office)

The 26-year-old died June 3, 2013, in Holcomb’s bedroom in a house on Piney Grove Road in Loganville. Her parents always doubted the suspicious nature of her death and told Channel 2 Action News they were relieved by the arrests.

“I never once thought that she did it to herself,” her mother, Marsha Chandler, said. 

Her father, Melvin Chandler, found a bit of peace knowing authorities believed Holcomb was to blame.

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“To find out someone else was responsible for the taking of her life,” he said, “it was a relief ... a real relief ... just to know.”

Walton County authorities interviewed Holcomb and Richie when they called 911 to report Chandler’s death. They told officials she hadn’t been feeling well and they left the house for the day. When they returned, they told police, Chandler was dead.

But investigators believe the men cleaned up three syringes, thereby tampering with evidence, Holcomb’s arrest warrant states.

The tough task for prosecutors is proving a circumstantial case, Channel 2 reported.

Walton County District Attorney Layla Zon told Channel 2 she wasn’t aware of the charges ahead of time and said she is reviewing the case.

Meanwhile, Heather Chandler’s parents keep the faith.

“I’m sure we will find out a whole lot more than we want to find out,” Melvin Chandler said. “But we will be there.”

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