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Autopsy rules toddler’s death a homicide

Jonathan Thomas Sturdy, 2, found in Walthourville canal

POSTED: January 27, 2012 12:10 p.m.

The tragic elements of Johnathan Thomas Sturdy's death multiplied this week when an autopsy revealed it was unlikely that it was an accident.

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy on a Walthourville toddler who was found dead in a canal Jan. 15 declared homicide the cause of the child’s death.

Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Keith Moran confirmed the conclusion Thursday, weeks after 2-year-old Jonathan Thomas Sturdy was reported missing from his Busbee Road home around 5 p.m. Jan. 14.

As the Courier previously reported, Jonathan’s mother, Kayla Sturdy, told authorities the boy had been missing for about 30 minutes before she called 911.

Volunteers joined the Walthourville Police Department, fire and rescue units, Hinesville police and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in a three-hour search that concluded when the boy was found in the canal.

Emergency medical personnel attempted to revive the boy before taking him to Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville, where doctors worked on him for more than 40 minutes in an attempt to save his life. Shortly after 9:30 p.m., doctors pronounced the child dead, according to Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes.

With the homicide ruling, Moran said detectives continue to look into all possible areas in the case.

“There’s a lot going in with that case,” he said. “We’re trying to follow every lead.”

So far, authorities have not identified a suspect, Moran added.

Moran urged anyone with information about the incident to contact Det. Tracey Jennings at 876-4555.

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