Connection between Kennesaw golf course suspect, victims remains a mystery

Police have identified 46-year-old Henry Valdez of California as the third victim in the Pinetree Country Club fatal shooting.

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

Police have identified 46-year-old Henry Valdez of California as the third victim in the Pinetree Country Club fatal shooting.

Information released Wednesday by Cobb County police about two men found dead in the bed of a pickup truck on a Kennesaw golf course added new layers of intrigue to an already complex investigation.

Neither of the victims was from Georgia. Police say they had no connection to the Pinetree Country Club, where their bodies were discovered on the 10th hole Saturday afternoon.

Golf pro Gene Siller, 46, “happened upon a crime in progress” police say, and was fatally shot in the head. Authorities later discovered the bodies of Henry Valdez, 46, of California; and Paul Pierson, 76, of Topeka, Kansas, in the bed of the truck.

If police have made any connection between the suspect, still unidentified, and the victims, they haven’t said.

Whether Valdez and Pierson knew each other is also unclear. Police have said that the truck, found lodged in a sand trap, was registered to Pierson, but have released few other details.

As for motive, investigators say it’s “too early to speculate.”

Officials also have released few details about the suspect, who is described as 6-foot-1 with long hair, last seen wearing a white or tan shirt and dark-colored work pants. The country club is located along McCollum Parkway, near Kennesaw State University’s main campus.

Residents of the surrounding neighborhood have been assured by police that no threat remains. But one homeowner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is taking no chances.

“It’s not that I don’t feel comfortable. I just want to be safe,” said longtime resident Tim Brown, who now brings along a 9 mm handgun when walking his dog. “I feel called to protect and take care of my family.”

The Pinetree golf course reopened Wednesday though the 10th hole remained closed out of respect for Siller, widely respected for his work with area youth.

“He was a role model to a lot of these kids here,” said club member Tom Dowling, 59. “His loss will be felt for a long time.”

Siller is survived by his wife and two sons. A GoFundMe page created to help the family with expenses has raised more than $610,000, exceeding its goal after five days.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be disclosed.

Cobb police are asking anyone with information on the incident to contact detectives at 770-499-4111 or email Officers have also asked residents of the neighborhood surrounding the country clubs to review their security footage in hopes someone captured an image of the suspect.