What Really Happened To DJ Fickey?
UPDATE: Vernon Keenan with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has now followed up to our inquiry regarding the status of this case.
“The GBI has closed this case and will take no further action. We are confident of our findings.”
The story has all of the right ingredients for a good mystery straight off of your television screen. Small southern town, a shotgun and a possible murder.
Unfortunately for the Fickey family, this case is all too real.
“Nobody will listen to me. They think I made it up and I am crazy.”
Amanda’s words are gaining some traction. After a frustrating two years, Amanda Shirley has reached out to anyone and everyone that she can to help her get resolution on her brother’s death – and the bizarre circumstances that surround it.
“We told them from day one this is not a suicide. You need to investigate this.” -Amanda Shirley.
At only 27 years-old, Amanda’s brother, DJ Fickey, died on October 3, 2016 in Flintstone, GA. On that day Walker County 911 operators received a frantic call from what some would call a local drug den; the caller stated he needed authorities to come quickly as someone there had committed suicide.
The local sheriff’s office investigated and initially deemed his death a suicide by shotgun, as did the GBI who was also called in to do a limited autopsy.
But the family disagrees with their findings and has been adamant from the beginning that this was certainly not a suicide, insisting that the father of three was making plans for the future and would not leave his children without a father.
Sometimes things aren’t what they seem
“The 911 dispatcher actually told the shooter to unload, secure the gun and move it. That is also stated in the first officer on scene. Throughout the investigation the shooter changed his story multiple times, failed a polygraph test and re-enactment of how the shooting occurred as well as took off before the investigation was over. Also, one of the witnesses changed his story turning the investigation stating that the person of interest did indeed shoot my brother.” Amanda tells Popucrime.
It is also noted that Mr. Fickey was right-handed but the shot was to the left side of his face at an angle that may be inconsistent with a suicide.
Amanda goes on to tell us that she feels that police may have not given the case its due diligence because of her brother’s past. After all, Mr. Fickey was a drug user who was found dead at a local drug den.
Below she brings her plight to a local news station.
So was DJ’s death just another faceless case for authorities to write off?
After further investigation Walker County Police would go on to change their ruling to a possible homicide.
GBI, on the other hand, has stuck with their initial ruling deeming DJ’s death a suicide.
Popucrime has reached out to GBI for comment but have not received a response as of this writing. Should we hear back, we will update as needed. [Update Above]
Police changed their ruling for a few reasons. One being with a person of interest who initially called 911 and the fact that he told them several different stories with each time they interviewed him.
This same person, in fact, would later go on to fail a polygraph test. The caller was also never given a test for gunshot residue nor were either of the six individuals present at the time – which include DJ’s wife and three friends.
In fact, nobody was given a GSR test – including DJ, himself.
One would think that would be standard operating procedure, but in this case it apparently was not.
There were several red flags in this case. One to note that the person of interest is said to have possible romantic interests in DJ’s wife. Reports indicate that the two did have a sexual past.
Another red flag in this case was that in a separate 911 call, the operator instructed the caller to move weapon in order to secure it, therefore compromising the scene.
Police have not given an explanation as to why the scene was handled in the manner that it was.
DJ’s sister goes on to say, “We were not aware of the way it was handled until the case was closed and I got all the records. We were lied to several times throughout the investigation and anytime we questioned anything they told us they could not discuss anything in an open investigation.”
Given the complexity of the case and the GBI’s refusal to change their ruling, the family obtained a private investigator to further look into the matter.
Private Investigator Eric Echols also feels that this case needs to be re-examined.
“None of the crime scene photos have the shotgun next to DJ. The crime scene photos have the shotgun on the table,” states Echols.
Despite the changing stories of witnesses as well as questionable evidence, we asked Mr. Echols why he feels the Medical Examiner ruled this case a suicide.
“The ME did not have all the facts when she ruled it a suicide. In fact she did not know the Detective stated the case changed from a suicide to a homicide. The detective not medical examiner never had any contact with each other. Then after meeting with me they ran toxicology and found Meth in his system and stated because of that it was a suicide because Meth is a stimulant and DJ could have defended himself. BUT there was also marijuana found in his system which is a depressant and the ME never commented on that.”
Echols also states that the shotgun used in DJ’s death has never been forensically tested for fingerprint, blood spatter or otherwise. Instead, the shotgun (which allegedly belongs to the person of interest) is still sitting in evidence at Walker County… untested.
Given the frustrating and bizarre circumstances of the case, Amanda’s pleas for justice are not going unheard.
Through social media she has been receiving support from others and has been able to get her brother’s story out to the world – as well as documents and evidence that are out there for all to hear, read, and make their own conclusion.
Online you will find many of Amanda’s supporters, such as @IDAddictUSA (not affiliated with ID network.)
In fact the ID Network has recently reached out to Amanda stating that they will be airing a segment on the case on one of their many shows, Still A Mystery.
Neither Amanda nor Echols plan on giving up on their quest for justice anytime soon. In fact, Mr. Echols has donated much of his free time to the case and is being compensated through book sales of another high-profile case that he previously worked on, which involved proving the innocence of Tonya Craft, a schoolteacher falsely accused of child molestation: The Echols Files: Catoosa County Justice.
The family is also asking for the public’s support and have launched the “Justice for Dj” petition to demand that this case be brought in front of a grand jury. You can sign the petition here.
So was this a murder-for-money simply staged as a suicide? This is one of the many questions Amanda and her family have.Follow us on Facebook here and on Twitter here.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Have a tip for us? We’d love to hear from you.