Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam behind false death notification in Jessica Boynton incident


Through a series of Open Records requests, The GRIP has learned that Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam is responsible for the false death notification made to the elderly grandparents of Jessica Boynton. The notification was made following an April 15, 2016, shooting incident – ruled by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to be a suicide attempt – at the home of Jessica Boynton and her now-estranged husband, Griffin Police Department Officer Matthew Boynton. Matthew Boynton is the grandson of Sheriff Beam.
Jessica Boynton was initially treated at the scene by personnel of Spalding Regional Hospital Emergency Medical Services. When the determination was made to fly her to an Atlanta hospital with a trauma unit, she was transported by ambulance to the Spalding County Fire Department Headquarters located on Carver Road, less that a quarter-mile from the family’s apartment. From there, she was flown to Atlanta Medical Center. Spalding County E911 records indicate the LifeFlight unit took off at 1:52 a.m.
Beam’s cell phone records show he placed a call to Pike County Sheriff Jimmy Thomas at 1:58 a.m., only six minutes after Jessica Boynton’s flight left the ground, after which there was no further communication between the flight crew and Spalding County officials.
An Open Records request submitted to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office establishes that Beam’s call was made to request a death notification be made to Jessica Boynton’s grandparents, who raised her from a very young age.
A report later filed by Sgt. Garland Keller, of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, he and Deputy Brooks made that notification.
Keller stated that he received a phone call from Sheriff Thomas who advised that he had been contacted by Beam.
“Sheriff Thomas advised that he received a phone call from Sheriff Beam in Spalding County stating that Mrs. Jessica Boynton committed suicide and he wanted to see if a Pike County deputy could go to (the grandparents’ home address) and notify her grandfather, Mr. Phil Wise. Sheriff Beam also gave Sheriff Thomas his cell phone number for me to give to Mr. Wise so that he could contact him (Beam),” Keller reported.
According to the report, Keller and Brooks went to the Wise residence, reported the information they had received and advised Jessica Boynton’s grandfather to call Beam for additional information.
“Mr. Wise contacted Sheriff Beam via telephone, who informed him that Mrs. Boynton had committed suicide using her husband’s duty weapon,” Keller reported.
It was hours later before the Pike County Sheriff’s Office learned Jessica Boynton was no deceased.
“At approximately 05:33, I received a phone call from Kody Billings, who is a family member of Mrs. Boynton, who advised me that Mrs. Boynton was not deceased, that she was in Atlanta Medical Center,” Keller said.
The GRIP conducted an interview with Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates, who confirmed the GPD was the responding agency.
“We conducted no investigative activities whatsoever except securing the crime scene until the GBI arrived,” Yates said of GPD personnel.
He later reiterated it was a Police Department case “until such time that we decided to turn it over to the GBI, which we did pretty much immediately, so technically, it was a GBI case.”
Yates also confirmed that at no time did personnel of the GPD make a declaration that Jessica Boynton was deceased.
“We knew her injuries were serious. The anticipation is that we did not expect her to survive,” Yates said. “She had already been life-flighted, and there was no indication she was deceased.”
Although Beam did request the Pike County Sheriff’s Office make a death notification to Jessica Boynton’s grandparents, The GRIP confirmed through a separate Open Records request that he did not report the death to Spalding County Coroner Sonny Foster as Georgia law requires.
The GRIP did reach out to Sheriff Beam regarding this incident. He did not respond to the request for comment.


  1. Is there any contact information for these folks? I’d just like to say… Hello…
    Wendell Beam and Matthew Boynton deserve to either be sent to prison with every criminal they’ve ever had anything to do with sending away, or these pathetic pieces of human shit deserve to be brought into the woods, and every victim of their sickening abuse can have their vengeance… Everyone involved in protecting that sack of shit from punishment for attempted murder, not a single one of them deserves to be free, or alive in my opinion!
    Regarding poor Jessica, I hope that she has the most joyful and beautiful life imaginable! After what she has been put through by these pieces of shit, she deserves every joy the world can provide! I hope that every moment of her life is spent smiling, joyful and full of the happiness and smiles of her babies, her family, friends and just spent being loved and cherished as she deserves!

  2. Please take Crime watch off the air it’s garbage

  3. This is so beyond shocking… it seems like they wanted this poor kid, and she is almost a kid, at 19, to die so they could cover the grandson of the then sherfiff….having it be an incredibly convenient suicide…. But then agaist all odds she did not die, she fought really hard to live and this just flies in teh face of their theory that this was a suicide

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