The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) in Milledgeville are investigating the murder of 60-year-old Nelson Garner after he was found dead on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 9:30 p.m. Garner’s body was found at Garner’s Grinders, a deer-processing business located at 18630 Highway 16 east of Sparta. The death has been labeled a murder, but the cause of death is being withheld at this point since there’s an ongoing investigation.
Matthew Gilbert, a GON Hunt Advisor, hunts only 1 1/2 miles from Garner’s Grinders. Gilbert said his 8-year-old son shot a doe on Saturday evening—about 24 hours before the murder—and they took the deer to Garner’s to have it processed.
“We dropped my son’s doe off and watched the last 10 minutes of the SEC Championship with Mr. Nelson,” said Gilbert. “They weren’t busy at all, so we stayed out back watching him and the other fellow skin the last few deer they had. Mr. Nelson was telling the guy working with him about my two boys, who are now 6 and 8. He told him that we’d been coming by since my boys could walk, and he thought it was funny how they enjoyed watching them work, especially skinning deer with a golf ball.
“Mr. Nelson told the fellow that he really has enjoyed watching my little guys grow up. Mr. Nelson was such a thoughtful fellow, enjoyed laughing and always showed my boys a lot of attention.”
Gilbert said when word reached his home about the murder of Garner, it was tough to hear.
“The news just broke my heart,” said Gilbert. “My oldest asked if we’d get to see Mr. Nelson in Heaven one day and if he’d still be skinning our deer. I told him that if that’s what Mr. Nelson wanted to be doing in Heaven, then I’m sure we’d see him working up deer.
“He was a great man, and he’s exactly the kind of influence I’ve been happy to have my boys around. Mr. Nelson will be missed.”
The GBI needs your help! They are asking for anyone who was at Garner’s Grinder the weekend of Dec. 1-2, anyone who had contact with Garner during that weekend or anyone with information that could help in the murder investigation to please call (478) 445-4173.