Years after woman dies of drug overdose, 2 men face murder charges


Highlights

A 26-year-old woman died of a heroin overdose in 2013.

Officials charged two men this week in connection with the crime.

Christopher Holcomb is accused of injecting Heather Chandler and leaving her to die.

“Our guys never quit!” 

That’s what the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said after filing murder charges against two men accused in the 2013 overdose death of a Gwinnett County woman.

Christopher Ryan Holcomb, 32, is accused of injecting Heather Chandler with a fatal dose of heroin, according to an arrest warrant signed Monday. His friend, 38-year-old Seth Burson Richie, is also accused in the death but has not been served with the arrest warrant because he is incarcerated at Lee State Prison in Leesburg, Walton County deputies said.

The 26-year-old died June 3, 2013, in Holcomb’s bedroom in a house on Piney Grove Road in Loganville. Her parents always doubted the suspicious nature of her death and told Channel 2 Action News they were relieved by the arrests.

“I never once thought that she did it to herself,” her mother, Marsha Chandler, said. 

Her father, Melvin Chandler, found a bit of peace knowing authorities believed Holcomb was to blame.

MORE: ‘I got my boy back’: How a family beat addiction and now helps others

“To find out someone else was responsible for the taking of her life,” he said, “it was a relief ... a real relief ... just to know.”

Walton County authorities interviewed Holcomb and Richie when they called 911 to report Chandler’s death. They told officials she hadn’t been feeling well and they left the house for the day. When they returned, they told police, Chandler was dead.

But investigators believe the men cleaned up three syringes, thereby tampering with evidence, Holcomb’s arrest warrant states.

The tough task for prosecutors is proving a circumstantial case, Channel 2 reported.

Walton County District Attorney Layla Zon told Channel 2 she wasn’t aware of the charges ahead of time and said she is reviewing the case.

Meanwhile, Heather Chandler’s parents keep the faith.

“I’m sure we will find out a whole lot more than we want to find out,” Melvin Chandler said. “But we will be there.”

Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.



Next Up in Local

Wangari Maathai: Africa’s first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize
Wangari Maathai: Africa’s first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1940, Wangari Maathai — born Wangari Muta — loved playing by the stream near her home, where she would go daily to fetch water. The sight of frog eggs floating in the stream captured her imagination, with her young mind believing she could grab the “beads” and make a beautiful necklace. Years later, the...
Fulton police seek help identifying homicide suspect
Fulton police seek help identifying homicide suspect

Fulton County Police are currently investigating a homicide committed Tuesday afternoon. A man was killed about 4:18 p.m. at the Country Squire apartments, police spokesman Patrena Smith said. “The suspect in this case was seen running from the scene He is described as about 6-foot-1 to 2 and between 170 and 180 pounds.  “He is considered...
‘Super-potent’ hash, marijuana seized in North Georgia bust
‘Super-potent’ hash, marijuana seized in North Georgia bust

A 35-year-old Jackson County man was arrested after authorities discovered a cache of drugs Monday. Nikki Nelson Allen of Commerce faces drug distribution charges in connection with about 5.5 pounds of marijuana, a large quantity of butane honey oil and $7,462 in cash, Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office spokesman Mitchell Posey...
3 arrested after children found with flea bites in Clayton County home
3 arrested after children found with flea bites in Clayton County home

Three people, who were initially wanted on outstanding warrants, were arrested on child cruelty charges after four children were found with flea bites, Clayton County authorities said.  Nicole Tarney Hunter, 26, Chantrell Marlon Mitchell, 33, and Michael Gamal Mitchell, 58, remained in the Clayton County jail Tuesday night, according to records...
Cops: Man threatened to kill woman who accused him of touching her son
Cops: Man threatened to kill woman who accused him of touching her son

A Roswell man remains in the Fulton County jail weeks after police say he threatened a woman with her son at a gas station.  Allen Drew Robinson, 28, faces a misdemeanor terroristic threat charge after allegedly threatening to kill the woman, who accused him of touching her child, according to a Roswell police report.  The 7-year-old boy...
More Stories