Father asks BoC to name bridge after late teen
by Joshua Sharpe
July 31, 2013 12:26 AM | 4815 views | 2 2 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Katie Hamlin
Katie Hamlin
The terminally-ill father of a 15-year-old Cherokee girl who was murdered in 2002 is set to go before the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday and ask the county to immortalize his daughter.

Joe Hamlin, father of Katie Hamlin, said Monday that before he dies he hopes to see the county honor his daughter by renaming the southwest Cherokee bridge, where her body was found in July 2002, in her memory.

Hamlin, 56, said he has colon cancer and now feels a sense of urgency to take steps to keep his daughter’s memory alive while he still can.

“My life span is real short,” he said. “And I just wanted to do something to where Katie’s memory is going to carry on even after I’m gone. I want Katie’s memory to be always in somebody’s mind.”

Hamlin said the idea to rename the bridge off Kemp Road near Woodstock Road is not new.

“Katie’s mom tried once upon a time to get them to name the bridge but didn’t get any response,” he said. “They told her that the neighbors around there didn’t want it.”

But Hamlin said he’s talked to neighbors nearby and hasn’t met any resistance.

“They’re all for it,” he said.

Several members of the Board of Commissioners also appear to be open to the idea.

“I am quite confident that a majority, if not all, commissioners would vote in favor of naming a certain bridge in honor of she Miss Hamlin,” said Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens on Monday. “Generally speaking, we are quite receptive to a resident, group of residents, and others who bring forth certain naming requests.”

Commissioner Harry Johnston said Monday he’s in favor of the renaming.

“I’m totally supportive,” Johnston said. “It will be a great way to help us all remember Katie.”

Commissioner Raymond Gunnin said Monday he plans to support the gesture, especially since he has a special connection to the case.

Before joining the Board of Commissioners, Gunnin was Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services chief, and said he remembers the Katie Hamlin case well.

“I was with the Fire Department then and ran the call,” Gunnin said. “Very sad call that you don’t forget. Nobody deserves to be treated in that manner.”

Hamlin’s partially nude body was found in a shallow creek by the bridge off Kemp Road on July 2, 2002. Prior to her death, she was reportedly raped and set on fire.

Jamerson Douglas “Nash” Mangrum, who was 17 at the time of the death, was later convicted of felony murder, aggravated child molestation, abandoning a dead body and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced in 2005 to life in prison plus 80 years, reports show.

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Donna Hamlin Tubbs
July 31, 2013
I am Katie's mother and I tried to get the bridge named after Katie and was told No I feel you need to make sure you include my input in this story.My Ex husband with his life death illness making this story out to be like he is a hero a man who was not there for his family married or not even there when Katie die and during the trials and walks back in 11 years later and whats to be the hero to get the bridge named,I am sorry I have mixed feeling about this but you should know I am the one sick or not I ask for the bridge to be Named after KATIE.

Thank you

Donna Hamlin Tubbs
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