“He didn’t deserve it,” Family of man found in hand-dug grave seeking justice for loved one

Arrests made in Chilton Co. after body found
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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CHILTON CO. , Ala. (WBRC) - Thomas Creel’s family is still in disbelief after investigators say his partially decomposed body was found in May when a caretaker of a cemetery off of Highway 145 noticed a freshly hand-dug grave.

We’re told that cemetery hadn’t had a grave dug in over 100 years. Two teens are now facing murder and first-degree burglary charges according to the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was unbelievable because who would have thought that somebody in their own home would be targeted like this.” Jenny Bell, Creel’s niece said. “Unfortunately, he was brutally killed by two young kids. He didn’t deserve it.”

Bell says her 71-year-old uncle kept to himself, didn’t both anyone and would help anyone in need. She says people on social media were asking why he wasn’t reported missing.

“He lived and did everything very independently. He was very self-sufficient and that’s the way he liked it. So, it wasn’t unheard or for us to not hear from him for several weeks even longer,” Bell said.

The sheriff says the victim and teen suspects knew each other, but he did not give a motive. Creel’s family says he had trouble with the teens coming on his property in the past.

“I guess they got tired of him tell him telling them to leave and not letting them do whatever they wanted to do till they took matters into their own hands. They murdered him and then they partied in his house and took what they wanted,” Crystal Freeman, Creel’s niece said.

“In today’s society, life is not valued at all. It don’t matter how old. It’s just what life means now. People kill somebody just as soon as they look at them. You just never know what’s going through somebody’s mind,” Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon said.

The investigation is on-going. Creel’s family is asking for prayers for everyone involved including the two teens charged with their loved one’s death.

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