Persons of Interest Now in Ratliff Homicide in Franklin Co.

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Investigators in the shooting death of the co-owner of FPS Industries LLC are closer to making an arrest.

That is according to Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas.

Thomas said Tuesday that investigators have gone out of state to conduct more interviews.

“Investigators, along with State and Federal agents are in Kentucky conducting interviews,” Thomas said late Tuesday. “They are expected back either late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.”

32-year old Keith Ratliff, was found shot to death at his business on Hayes Road on January 3.

Ratliff lived at his place of business.

His body was discovered in an office by friends who notified the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas said Ratliff was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy confirmed he died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

GBI Agent in Charge Mike Ayers said numerous firearms were present at the Ratliff residence, but not the weapon used to kill him.

Thomas said Tuesday they now have persons of interest in that case.

“No arrests have been made, but we have people of interest associated with the victim and they are being interviewed at this time. That’s basically all we can release at this time,” he said.

Ratliff was co-owner of FPS Industries.

FPS Industries and FPSRussia are both firearm-related businesses.

FPS Industries is concerned with the development and production of firearms and related items while FPSRussia is an internet video production appearing on YouTube.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the Franklin County Coroner, the Piedmont Northern Office of the District Attorney, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case jointly.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents are also actively participating in the investigation, as are agents from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.