published Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Man sought in investigation of DeKalb County teen’s death

Authorities in DeKalb County, Ala., continue to probe the death of a teen found Wednesday at a home in Crossville while they also search for a man who they say left the scene when the body was discovered.

The teenager was identified Friday as 17-year-old Alan Michael Tarwater, and his family was notified by Marshall County authorities, DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said in a news release.

Tarwater was found unresponsive in a residence on County Road 1931 around 3 p.m. CDT Wednesday by two other juveniles, Harris said. The boy apparently died from as-yet undetermined reasons while sleeping, according to the sheriff.

Authorities also have interviewed three other teens who were with Tarwater at a bonfire at the home the night before his body was found, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Stanna Guice said Friday. The other teens were between 14 and 16 years old, she said.

Meanwhile, authorities are looking for 43-year-old Todd Lashane Thomas. He is described as white, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 225 pounds with green eyes and brown hair.

Warrants have been issued charging Thomas with contributing to the delinquency of children, and he also has outstanding warrants for previous traffic offenses, the release states.

Harris said investigators are trying to learn what happened in the hours and days prior to Tarwater’s death. DeKalb County Department of Human Resources and Juvenile Probation Office personnel are assisting investigators, officials said.

“There are several individuals with knowledge of this incident, and we are continuing to pursue all leads that we receive,” the sheriff stated.

Autopsy results are pending, and the teen’s body was released to Carr Funeral Home in Guntersville, Ala., officials said.

Because Tarwater had been a ward of Marshall County Department of Human Resources for some time, the agency is handling funeral arrangements and other personal details, officials said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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