A man related to the triple homicide victims found dead early Monday morning in a Upatoi home died of a heart attack after learning about their deaths, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan confirmed.
Bryan said someone witnessed Robert Averett, 68, go into cardiac arrest early Wednesday. He was immediately transported to Columbus Midtown Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead of natural causes at 2:01 a.m. that morning, the coroner stated.
An autopsy will not be performed, Bryan added.
Averett learned Monday that his sister Gloria Jean Short, 56; her son Caleb Robert Short Jr., 17; and her granddaughter Gianna Lindsey, 10, were discovered dead in a 3057 Bentley Drive residence.
Bryan said Averett of Columbus has an "extensive medical history of cardiac issues" and was possibly overcome with an unbearable amount of stress after receiving the tragic news.
"It was probably due to a lot of stress due to her death," Bryan said of the fatal heart attack. "A lot of stress will bring on a heart attack.”
Officials remain tight-lipped about the triple homicide investigation but stated that the family was beaten to death Monday between midnight and 7:50 a.m. There are no suspects in custody, according to Columbus Police.
Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said all three victims were pronounced dead of blunt force trauma on the scene around 9:20 a.m. Their bodies were transported Tuesday to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Decatur, Ala. for autopsies.
Bryan said the doctor assisting with the autopsies will meet with one or more other medical examiners to discuss the findings. He said the results will be available after those officials have determined "how they want to sign it out."
"It was a difficult case, and evidently this doctor doesn't want to make the decision on his own," Bryan said this morning. "The three of them will get together, or how ever many, have the meeting and make that decision."
Columbus Police Maj. Gil Slouchick said this morning that investigators were still examining the crime scene as well as the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle and 2004 GMC Envoy reported that was reported stolen from the home early Monday.
Police Lt. Greg Touchberry said the VW was found Monday afternoon in Rigdon Park on Howe Avenue, and the Envoy at Broadmoor Drive and Cindy Drive.
Touchberry asked that anyone with tips in the case contact Cpl. Alan Malone at 706-225-4293 or AMalone@columbusga.org or call the department’s robbery-assault division at 706-653-3400.
— Sarah is a crime & safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.