Police report: Glynn commissioner's hands bound, was shot in head

The Glynn County Police Department released its standard incident report Monday in the investigation into the Dec. 11 death of Glynn County Commissioner Tom Sublett.

The 32-page report includes the identities of persons who have been interviewed and possible evidence that has been gathered. The written narrative in the report simply gives the time and location when police responded to a missing person call from Sublett’s wife, Carol Sublett, at 2:36 a.m. Dec. 11.

It gives no explanation of the possible significance of items to the investigation and, in the case of DNA and blood evidence, offers no identification of whose it might be.

Sublett’s body was found at about 6 a.m. Dec. 11 in the Frederica River at Gascoigne Bluff Park, on St. Simons Island, between a boat and a dock at the St. Simons Island Boating and Fishing Club.

His hands were bound in front of him with a plastic zip tie, such as used to band wires and cables, and he had been shot once in his head.

Among items police found in his car at the park, about 150 yards from where his body was found, were five black zip tie straps, a loaded gun magazine and loose bullets. Police did not list a gun as being found.

Divers have been searching the Frederica River since Dec. 11 for undisclosed evidence, and at one point dropped a 12-pound weight into the river to see how far currents would move it.

Friends told investigators they last saw Sublett Dec. 10, after he left a friend’s house on Oak Grove Island, in western Glynn County, at about 10 p.m. after a regular low-stakes poker game.

After the game, Sublett reportedly dropped off a friend at 10:30 p.m., then started driving toward St. Simons Island, where he lived in Hamilton Landing, a development about a half mile from where his body was found.

Evidence gathered from his 2005 silver Toyota Avalon that was found Dec. 11 at the park included a holster police identified as being owned by Sublett. Police also found a Smith & Wesson magazine loaded with 9 mm rounds, five .38 Special rounds in a plastic bag, a single 9 mm bullet and a brown ammunition box containing 18 .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds.

An empty prescription bottle with the label removed and an empty prescription bottle in the name of Sublett’s wife were found in the vehicle.

Police found a brown wallet with Sublett’s driver’s license, credit cards and other cards. They also found five black zip tie straps in his vehicle.

Police took multiple swabs for DNA and blood evidence from the interior and exterior of the car, including one swab from the trunk lid of the car, identified as a blood swab.

Three blood swabs and a control swab were taken from the boat dock at Gascoigne Park, according to the report.

Investigators discovered three intact $1 bills, as well as four $1 bills ripped into pieces inside Sublett’s vehicle.

Investigators said they were able to track Sublett’s route from the GPS in his vehicle. They also received surveillance tapes from multiple businesses the night of Sublett’s death, including service stations, convenience stores, pharmacies and restaurants.

The report also listed persons who have been interviewed in the investigation, including Sublett’s wife, Carol, his two sons, Grant and Reed Sublett, Allen Whittington, Michael Ferguson, Dick Snell, Leslie Gordy, Stephen McNicoll, William Clay Strother, Heather Britt and Bobby Mata.

It identified those persons by addresses, ages and physical descriptions, but did not explain any connections to Sublett or what they might have told police.

Mike McDaniel, special agent in charged of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation office at Kingsland, which has taken over the investigation from Glynn County police, said Monday there is nothing new to report about the investigation.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering declined to comment specifically on the evidence listed in the report, but said the investigation was ongoing.

When asked why the report was released nearly three weeks after Sublett’s death, Doering said there was no reason for police to keep it. “It should have been released three days after the incident. There’s no reason for us to keep it,” he said.

Doering also said he has asked the Savannah Police Department to send its dive team back to Glynn County to assist in the investigation, and he said it agreed.

Sublett, 52, would have completed his only term on the Glynn County Commission Monday. He did do not seek re-election in November.

A Georgia medical examiner determined that Sublett died of drowning, after being shot in the left side of his head, an indication that he was breathing when he entered the water. Police have not disclosed publicly the caliber or type of bullet with which Sublett was shot.

Police have said from the beginning of their investigation that they were conducting it as a homicide investigation.