UT Hosts Georgia Conference on Investigating, Prosecuting Child Fatalities

KNOXVILLE –- Enhanced investigation and prosecution of child fatalities is the goal of a conference being hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) from Oct. 25-27 in Jekyll Island, Ga.

The Coastal Georgia Child Fatality Conference is geared toward first responders, investigators, medical personnel, counselors and prosecutors who respond to incidents involving child abuse or the death of a child. Professionals will learn how to work together at a crime scene to gather evidence and document the incident to build stronger cases that ultimately bring offenders to justice. The conference is expected to attract approximately 200 participants from the Coastal Georgia region.

“It’s important for emergency response teams, doctors, nurses and others to know what to look for when examining victims and documenting the offense — what to do or what not to do. Individuals and agencies must work together when responding to a child fatality, and this conference will highlight the importance of partnerships and cooperation among all involved in such cases,” said Mike Hill, LEIC program manager.

On Oct. 25, a panel of experts will emphasize the importance of communication and cooperation among agencies. Leading the panel are Georgia Medical Examiner Dr. Jamie Downs and retired Colorado District Attorney Alex Hunter. Hunter, a 28-year, seven-term district attorney for Boulder County, Colo., served during the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation. Hunter also will share lessons learned from the Ramsey case during a keynote address that day.

The conference is supported by funding by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through a grant to LEIC’s Regional Community Policing Institute, which provides training to law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee. LEIC is an agency of UT’s Institute for Public Service. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Division of Family and Children Services are co-sponsors of the conference.


To schedule an interview with one of the participants or check on media availability, contact:

Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533, queena.jones@tennessee.edu