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Signs call for ‘Justice for Edith’

Lori Buchanan

Signs posted along Brantley roads with an eye-catching tiffany blue ribbon garner attention from passersby begging the question “Justice for Edith?”

The campaign-type signs have a local tie and serve as a reminder regarding the death of Edith Carole Strickland Sheffield. Sheffield was the daughter of Nahunta residents the Rev. Marshall and Vera Strickland, and was murdered Jan. 18 under tragic and unexplained circumstances.

Sheffield’s homicide is unsolved but investigators still hope for a break in the case after she was killed and her body was found a day later in the charred remains of her home that she shared with her husband.

On Jan. 18, at approximately 6:36 p.m. Coffee County 911 received a call in response to a house fire on Bowens Mill Road near Broxton. The fire resulted in extensive damage to the two-story residence.

The initial investigation revealed that one of the people residing at the house had not been located. The Coffee County Sheriff’s office requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the State Fire Marshall’s Office step in. The scene was processed and Edith’s remains were discovered in the debris. Autopsy results revealed her death was by gunshot and not a result of the fire.

“Justice of Edith” is a community awareness campaign honoring Edith’s memory supporting family and friends waiting for healing and answers as law enforcement personnel continue to work for justice in the homicide investigation.

Tiffany blue was Edith’s favorite color and it’s use on signage indicates her vibrancy and zest for life. The color also serves as an expression of sadness over losing a dear friend loved by many according to campaign organizers who have established a social media presence in her honor and as a form of community support.

Edith worked at a Coffee County bank and was a respected member of the community with friends throughout the community.

“There are no words that can heal our hearts, our prayers are for justice. It is hoped the campaign will be a source of community support,” said campaign organizers.

A ribbon campaign launched in Douglas on June 18 with a blue balloon release to signify the five-month anniversary of the arson and murder that took the life of Edith. Signs are prominently displayed in Douglas on main thoroughfares such as Ward Street, Madison Avenue and Peterson Avenue.

The signs have also begun to appear in Brantley County in part because of her family’s ties to the community.

Sheffield’s family and friends, in their efforts to remember her, received permission to place two large billboards in downtown Douglas with the “Justice for Edith” logo and the GBI tips hotline telephone numbers.

The homicide has not gone unnoticed by state officials.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order establishing a reward for any information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of a person or persons responsible for her murder, according to a July 10 account in the local Douglas Enterprise newspaper.

Along with the billboards, organizers have asked commercial businesses, family and friends to display blue ribbons on the 18th day of each month until the homicide investigation is brought to a successful conclusion.

Moore than Graphics in Douglas has a selection of promotional materials available to people wanting to support the campaign and Edith’s family. A Facebook page Paint the Town Blue for Edith has also been designated.

Anyone with information about the death of Sheffield should call GBI Special Agent Russell Mansfield at 912-389-4103.

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