Lavonia Murder Victim Identified

Authorities in Lavonia have confirmed a body found Monday inside a home on Gilmer St. is that of longtime local business owner Sam Harbin.

Lavonia Police Chief Bruce Carlisle and Athens GBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers made that announcement late Tuesday morning, but so far are not releasing any more details.

According to Chief Carlisle, Harbin was found Monday afternoon by an employee.

The Lavonia Police Department and the GBI continue to investigate the death of Samuel Vernon Harbin, 82 of 180 Gilmer St. in Lavonia,” Carlisle said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Mr. Harbin was found dead at his residence by an employee after he failed to arrive at his office Monday. GBI Crime Scene Specialists processed Mr. Harbin’s residence throughout the night Monday and will continue the process today. Mr. Harbin was the victim of murder.”

Carlisle said Harbin was murdered sometime Monday morning.

Harbin was the owner of South Pointe Trailer Park on SR17 in Lavonia.

Harbin’s body was sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur for autopsy and Carlisle said they hope to have the results of that autopsy sometime later today.

Meantime, Carlisle says investigators continue to search for the suspect or suspects responsible for Harbin’s death.

Investigators with the Lavonia Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s office, the Hart County Sheriff’s office, and the GBI have begun interviewing neighbors, families, and associates of Mr. Harbin to develop a timeline of his activities over the last several days,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle did not say whether they have a person of interest, only that the investigation continues.

Anyone with information on Harbin’s death is encouraged to contact Lavonia Police at 706-356-4848, the Franklin County Sheriff’s office at 706-384-2525, the GBI Athens office at 706-552-2309 or your local 911.