TBI: Bluff City death appears to be homicide

Rain Smith • Aug 23, 2018 at 12:20 PM

BLUFF CITY — Although an investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing, authorities have confirmed that a Bluff City man appears to have been murdered earlier this month.

On Aug. 10, Herman Rumley, 71, was found deceased in his residence on Woods Road. At the request of Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded to process the scene.

One reason Staubus called in the TBI was that Rumley had a pending civil suit against employees of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. Rumley had claimed deputies assaulted him at his home.

Staubus said the TBI’s death investigation is not related to the lawsuit, but he didn’t want anyone to perceive a possible conflict of interest if the SCSO handled the case.

Staubus added that the “nature of the scene” also merited use of the TBI’s crime lab.

Citing its ongoing investigation, the TBI is declining to release details of the case, including how it appears Rumley was killed and who found his body.

“Complete autopsy results are pending, but preliminary information indicates foul play is involved,” reads a statement from the TBI. “As a result, the death is being investigated as a homicide.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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