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Brian Colby Davenport

Police say a Ringgold, Ga., man drove into the woods Friday and shot his fiancee in the back of the head.

Brian Colby Davenport is behind bars without bond at the Catoosa County Jail on charges of murder, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence and two counts of giving false statements.

According to a Catoosa County Sheriff's Office incident report, Davenport and his fiancee, Deborah Lynn Abney, went to court Friday for an issue involving the custody of their children. A juvenile court judge ruled the children should be in foster care. A spokeswoman for the Division of Family and Children Services was unable to say Tuesday what the specific issue was with the children, and Sheriff Gary Sisk said he was still waiting on more information about Davenport and Abney's interaction with DFCS.

Davenport told investigators he and Abney left court around 4:45 p.m. Friday, bought food to make sandwiches and drove to a friend's wooded property in the 2100 block of Taylors Ridge Road.

Davenport said Abney started drinking, frustrated with the result of the court hearing. The two drove into the woods. Davenport told police he didn't want to stain his white shirt while eating the sandwich, so he got out of the car and popped the trunk, looking for another shirt.

Behind the car, he heard a gunshot. He said he checked inside and saw Abney dead. She shot herself with a .38-caliber revolver, which Davenport kept in the glove box of his 1992 Honda Civic.

He then called his mom, who called the property owner, who called 911. Investigators responded and found Abney dead. Davenport provided his version of events and went to the sheriff's office to talk further with the investigators.

Except, the investigators soon decided Davenport wasn't telling the truth.

Sheriff Gary Sisk said as Davenport talked with members of his department Friday evening, a crime scene technician realized Davenport had moved the gun used to kill Abney. Sisk declined to say how specifically the technician reached that conclusion, only that Davenport denied moving the gun.

The sheriff's office charged him with tampering with evidence and making false statements. They tacked on the murder charge Monday, after receiving a report from the medical examiner's office.

Sisk said the medical examiner concluded Abney died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Walker County court records show Davenport was previously arrested for simple battery in May 2009. A prosecutor dropped that charge a month later, records show.

Sisk said Davenport also had been arrested in Catoosa County, though there is no record of criminal cases in his name in the county's court system.

"I'm not positive that all of them were Catoosa County," Sisk said of the arrests. "But we had him in custody on several different occasions."

The owner of the property where Abney died Friday, who police say knew Davenport through a family connection, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday evening.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.

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