Terry Rewis…How does one even begin to describe him? Are there even enough words to make people understand the simple yet complex life that he lived? I’ve had the incredible privilege of talking to his friends and family for quite a while now. Basically, to know Terry was to love Terry. He was one of those rare diamonds you were lucky enough to stumble upon, and that scarcity made you hold on to him for dear life every day thereafter.
Terry Brooks Rewis didn’t have a fairytale childhood. There were six children within this family and Terry’s parents divorced while his mother was pregnant with him. Terry’s mother struggled during her pregnancy, at one point living out of her car for a bit.
Terry’s siblings didn’t get to meet him until he was a little over a year old. He’s remembered as being a good baby, happy and chunky! He and his mother soon moved to Portal, Ga, which was closer to family.
Life didn’t quite gain structure and normalcy for Terry though. Around the age of 3, he and his mother were living with a friend of hers. One afternoon Terry’s mom left with an unknown gentleman. Terry was left in the care of her friend. As with any toddler, Terry was adventurous and curious. He wandered outside the home and into town. The stranger that found him claimed he was asking for him mother. It was at this point Terry was put into foster care.
Terry bounced around in foster care until the age of 13-14 years old. He stayed with his father and siblings for a bit, but decided that “structure” wasn’t for him. Terry had become a loner with a gypsy soul. Around the age of 16 he began living life on his own.
From the age of 16 on, Terry moved around from place to place. The one person he stayed with the most was Jessica, a dear friend of his. He kept his close friends near and dear to his heart but didn’t stay in one place long. He even hopped on a bus to Oklahoma at one point just for a change of scenery! He lived all over Georgia, coming and going as he pleased. He made money here and there doing construction work and always made time to visit and hang out with his close friends. He didn’t care much for possessions. All he ever carried were his green backpack (which held his drawings, cell phone, charger and a small amount of money) and a gold cross around his neck that he never removed.
I can’t mention Terry’s friends without telling you about Jessica Taylor. Jessica meant the world to Terry. She was his “safe place to land” whenever he needed down time or time to feel like he belonged. They loved each other through thick and thin, through time and distance and through those crazy teenage years! Jessica has been an amazing ally and friend throughout this entire process of getting to know Terry and understanding how he lived and died. I can’t thank you enough, Jessica, for putting up with me! All the calls, messages and countless questions from me haven’t gone unnoticed. Thank you!
The last 6-8 months of Terry’s life seemed “normal” for all intents and purposes. Terry was living within the areas of Nunez, Metter and Swainsboro, Georgia. He was working construction with James Kirby, hanging out with friends and family and seemed to be settling down a little. But within this “normal” life, Terry had a shadow on his back that few knew about. Two to three months before his death, Terry was assaulted while walking down the street to visit his sister, Jeannie. Allegedly, a guy was driving by, hollering obscenities at Terry and threw a bottle at him. The bottle struck Terry’s head and left a nasty gash. Terry got to Jeannie’s house and she fixed him up as best as she could. According to Jeannie, Terry told her, “If I ever end up dead, it will not be an accident.” Terry told her that he had a couple people “on him that wanted him gone”. Jeannie, of course, questioned her brother relentlessly about his statements. She wanted to know what was going on and who wanted to hurt him. But Terry wouldn’t talk anymore about it. He didn’t want her to worry. He just wanted her to be aware of the situation.
The last two months of Terry’s life went by without incident. He seemed happy. His life seemed routine and natural. But the weekend before his death, that dreadful shadow emerged. He spent the weekend of April 12th with Jessica Taylor and a couple of their friends, which included one of his previous foster brothers. They stayed at the house that Jessica’s father owned. The weekend was typical with the exception of a late night conversation Terry had with Jessica and another friend. He expressed how much their love and friendship meant to him. He reminisced about the past and thanked them for always being there when he needed them the most. It almost seemed like a final goodbye. Terry was questioned about this. He was asked if everything was alright and given support if he needed it. But Terry, as usual, didn’t want anyone worrying about him. He ended the night with saying he just wanted them to know how he felt and how grateful he was. Could Terry have know of the impending doom that awaited him? Did he expect someone to come after him within the next week or so? Did he know a sort of count down had begun?
Terry spoke with a friend that following Tuesday or Wednesday and confirmed that he would return to Jessica’s that weekend following a festival he planned to attend.
Here is where the water gets muddy. According to friends and family, Terry was getting a ride to the Redbreast Festival in Midville, GA with James Kirby. They stopped to let Terry get cleaned up and change clothes before heading to the festival around 2pm. Terry enjoyed his time at the festival. There was good music, tailgating, good food and drinking. Terry called Jessica around 8:30pm to say he was having a good time and wanted to hang out a bit longer and then would be on his way to her house. Details get murky from this point.
According to witnesses, there was a fight between Terry and James Kirby. During the fight, someone called the police. The Midville PD arrived at the festival and told the guys to go their separate ways. I haven’t found an incident report and can assume no report was made due to the fight being broken up and the gentlemen leaving. No injuries were reported and no charges were filed. Terry left walking down Hwy 56 some time between 9-9:30pm. (Sadly, Mr. Kirby has since passed away. I’m not sure how he passed. I know he was questioned by the police at the time.) The timeline gets really hazy here. It would’ve taken about an hour to an hour and a half for Terry to reach the Prong Creek bridge, located a few miles outside Swainsboro, GA. Around 6:30am two hunters, a father and son, found Terry dead in the middle of the road on 56. They called 911 and waited for police to get there.
From what I’ve gathered of the crime scene and Terry’s injuries, it looks like more than just a hit and run. There was a great deal of blood at the location of Terry’s body in the road and about 19 or so feet of a blood trail. He was very bruised and battered. The other injuries are absolutely horrendous. Terry’s scalp was gone, his stomach and one leg were partially severed, the other leg broken and his neck broken as well. There was a pool of blood in the middle of the road, where his body was originally. Then there was a blood trail about 19 feet long leading back towards Midville. The entire crime scene was about 85 ft, according to one report. His green backpack, cellphone and gold cross necklace were missing. Here is a diagram to better explain the scene.
The individual that struck Terry after his death was cleared and also passed a polygraph. In my opinion, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of an original hit and run though. And speaking of that, a woman later told Jeannie that as far as she knew, Terry was thrown from the back of a truck going down Hwy 56! Even more mysterious is the fact that Jessica Taylor received a phone call that night, at 3am, from a previous foster brother of Terry saying that there had been an accident and Terry was dead! Now tell me this…how in the hell did this person know Terry was dead before he was even found by the hunters at 6:30am?!? How? This person knew at least 3 1/2 hours before Terry was even found that he was already dead! Jessica Taylor went immediately into panic mode! She called every hospital, jail and Sheriff’s department she could think of trying to find Terry. For two hours she called every single place within a 100 mile radius of Midville, GA. Jeannie was informed early that morning about the death of her brother and had the dreadful responsibility of telling her entire family.
There was a viewing for Terry before he was cremated. The day of the service was hard on his family and friends. But one oddity happened that day. A gentleman in a black dodge pick up truck parked across the street from the funeral home and stared for at least 45 minutes. Several of Terry’s friends began to grow agitated and yelled at the driver demanding his name and reason for being there. As soon as they took off after the gentleman, he sped off. Over the next few weeks several of Terry’s friends tried to find out what happened to him. They asked questions and searched high and low for anything that made sense pertaining to his death. One of his friends received a threatening phone call while at work. The mysterious caller simply stated, “Stop digging or you’ll end up just like Terry!” Eventually it started to look like they would never get answers.
Days, weeks, months and years have gone by with no definite answers. Over the years there have been several people that have gotten upset with Jeannie for continuously asking questions. Some people have offered up information only to give a sliver of info and then go silent.
Below are reports of evidence collected, the medical examiner’s report, autopsy report and Terry’s death certificate.
- 12:30-1:30pm- Terry, riding with James Kirby, stopped at a friend’s house to clean up and change clothes.
- 2:00pm- Terry arrived at the festival.
- 8:30pm- Terry called Jessica Taylor to say he was staying a little longer and then would head to her house. (He seemed happy and fine.)
- 8:30-9:30- The fight occurred, police were called and Terry left the festival walking down Hwy 56 towards Swainsboro. (The screenshots above, showing the messages between Jeannie and the woman, mention the fight being witnessed. Others have come forward saying they witnessed the fight as well.) I also want to mention that Terry walking was not uncommon at all. He tended to walk everywhere he went.
- 3:00am- The phone call from the past foster brother to Jessica Taylor. He stated that, “there had been an accident and Terry was dead”. How did he know before 3am? Did someone call and inform him? Was he present during Terry’s death? Was he involved in any way? He has been asked several times over the last 17 years by Jessica and others how he knew that information but has never given an answer.
- 6:00-6:15am- A woman returning home from work struck Terry while he was lying in the middle of the road. She thought she had hit a deer. It has been presumed that Terry was already deceased. I do believe he was already dead at that point.
- 6:30am- The father and son hunters find Terry dead in the road and call 911.
Things that make me believe Terry was murdered:
- The assault on Terry a couple months before his death and his conversation with Jeannie about someone wanting to get rid of him. He even mentioned that, in the event of his death, it would not be an accident.
- The “final goodbye” conversation with his friends the weekend before his death.
- The fight at the festival. Why? What was it about? We all know festival + drinking alcohol + fighting = disaster. Did the fight continue after Terry left the festival?
- The time frame after leaving the festival. If you consider the 3am phone call of his death, that means 9:30pm-3:00am (5 1/2 hours) is unaccounted for. Hwy 56 is pretty well traveled on a Saturday night. If this was only a hit and run, someone would’ve definitely seen him before 6:30am! Was he picked up by someone within the time frame? And we have to remember that Jeannie was told that Terry was thrown from the back of a truck! Who picked him up and threw him out? I have received statements from people about this and I have to say that they all match! Hmmmm….
- Terry’s green backpack, cellphone and gold cross necklace were not at the scene. Terry always carried that backpack. We know he had his cellphone because he used it to call Jessica from the festival. He never removed his necklace. So where are these items?
- Looking back at the screenshots above, who did the woman see driving the truck? Why was she so upset? What does she know about that night? And why stop talking to Jeannie before giving all the information?
- The 3am phone call. This boggles the hell out of me! How did the past foster brother know Terry was dead 3 1/2- 4 hrs before the body was found? Did he receive a call about it? Did he do it? Was he in on it? Why won’t he talk about it to anyone?
- The strange man in the pickup truck at the funeral home is sketchy. Why show up at a viewing and park across the street just to sit and stare for almost an hour?
- The strange, threatening phone call received by one of Terry’s friends. Who was it and why did he want him to stop looking into Terry’s death?
Hopefully this case will be solved very soon! We are working very hard to bring those responsible for Terry’s murder to justice. I want to thank Jeannie Ellis for answering that first phone call and not hanging up! She really put her faith in me on this. She dealt with all my phone calls and constant questions! She’s been fighting for her brother for years, constantly hitting wall after wall after wall. But she never gave up. She pushed through all the obstacles and people that constantly bashed her online. Thanks for never giving up and allowing me into your life!
If you have any information about this case please call one of the following numbers.
Emanuel County Sheriff’s Dept- 478-237-7526 Lead Investigator David McVey