Middle Georgia Cold Cases: The Mystery in the Marsh
What happened next is a mystery.
As the water flows down creeks and rivers in Macon, the ripples bury old secrets.
“He had the strongest arms to be a slender, small person. He gave the best hugs,” Thomas’ sister, Kari Brooks, said.
Thomas’ mother, Carol, remembers him as a loving, nature-boy, with a knack for adventure.
“From the time he was little enough, he stomped them woods out here. He loved fishing, he loved hunting,” she said.
Jeremy’s passion for the outdoors led he and an associate to Tobesofkee Creek on Valentine’s Day weekend of 2007.
“He just said ‘OK, my phone is about to go dead. OK I love you and bye,” Brooks said.
That’s the last time she heard from her younger brother. Days went by and still no trace of Jeremy. Relatives found that odd seeing as though he had a one-year-old at home and another baby on the way. The 22-year-old’s family says that wasn’t like him to go without checking in on them.
“Where is he? What happened,” Brooks asked.
Two days after Jeremy left for the trip, Ryan Borders — the one who went with him — showed up — without Jeremy.
“What kind of friend leaves a friend and just walks off and leaves him in a creek and doesn’t tell anybody,” Brooks and her mother both wondered.
Bibb County sheriff’s investigators had the same question.
“His story was that one he fell out of the boat and two he got snake bit. You don’t see many snakes in the woods or in the water during that time of year,” retired Captain Jimmy Barbee said.
Soon, that story changed.
Borders had several run-ins with the law. Deputies didn’t buy his alibi.
“Me and Kari followed every lead. We went, we posted, we went to every place all around that we could possible go post,” Carol said.
Search crews waded through dozens of creeks in Macon looking for Jeremy. His boat he’d just bought washed ashore with no signs of foul play or clues — nothing tying Ryan to Jeremy’s disappearance.
“My heart says he knows what went on. He was the last person to have seen Jeremy,” said Carol.
As time passed, the search for Jeremy slowly ticked away.
“Where’s my baby’s body? Where is it.” Carol asked wiping away tears.
She still has so many questions — the kind any mother whose child disappeared would have.
“I don’t think that there’s anything that he would’ve ever done to deserve to have his life taken away,” Carol said.
Now she and Kari are raising Jeremy’s two boys. A glimpse of him in the eyes of two sons left without a father.
“You might have took his body away from us, but you could not take the love that we will always have for him and you can’t take my memories away,” said Carol.
Her fondest memories are of Jeremy in the woods, outdoors doing what he loved.
There are many mysteries in the marshes in Macon, like what happened to the man who went fishing and never came home.
“He was a good boy, a good boy,” Carol reflected.
Ryan Borders is in prison on an aggravated assault charge unrelated to this case. Carol and Kari still have hope Jeremy is somewhere out there. They say they just want closure.
If you have any information on what happened to Jeremy Thomas call the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500.