The officers who were commended were:
GBI: James Harris, Dan Sims, John Farmer and Audey Murphy
Walker County Sheriff’s Office: Walt Hensley, Burt Cagle, Anthony Gilleland, David Gilleland, Mike Freeman and Donnie Phillips
FBI: Marcus Veasey
Floyd County District Attorney’s Office: Leigh Patterson and Natalie Staats.
The investigation involved the disappearance of Teresa Parker, a Walker County 911 dispatcher and the wife of LaFayette police officer Sam Parker. Teresa Parker disappeared on Wednesday, March 21, 2007, during the late night or early morning hours. Teresa wasn’t reported missing until Saturday, March 24, 2007. She was reported missing by her mother.
During the subsequent investigation Sam Parker was developed as a potential suspect in the disappearance of Teresa. Numerous massive ground, air and water searches of the northwest Georgia area were conducted and the body of Teresa Parker has yet to be found. This case garnered major national media attention and a “48 Hours” television show segment was broadcast concerning it.
Many interviews were conducted during this investigation with private citizens as well as law enforcement officer associates of Sam Parker.
As a result of the investigation Sam Parker was arrested on February 4, 2008 and charged with murdering his wife. Parker was indicted for murder and other charges on February 5, 2008. He has since been tried and found guilty of murder and the other associated charges. This was one of only a handful of cases in Georgia judicial history where murder charges have been brought forward without the body of the victim having been found.