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Funeral for fallen Henry Co. Sheriff’s Office deputy held Monday

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The funeral for fallen Henry County Sheriff’s Office deputy Sgt. Sean M. Free was held Monday.

The official escort for Sgt. Free began at Wheeler Funeral Home located at 11405 Brown Bridge Road in Covington. Law enforcement lined up at 7:15 a.m. and departed at approximately 7:45 a.m.

The funeral for Sgt. Free was held at Zion Baptist Church located at 7037 GA-Hwy. 212 in Covington.

At the annual Ride For Unity event held in Locust Grove on Saturday, Sheriff Reginald Scandrett held a moment of silence for Sgt. Free.

“I want to take some time out for an important member of our community. Let’s have a moment of silence for the Free family,” said Sheriff Scandrett. “I want to take a moment for Sgt. Free and his father, Mr. Free.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Henry County Sheriff’s Office deputy has died, according to HCSO.

The deputy has been identified as Sgt. Sean M. Free.

Although it was initially reported on social media and by local media outlets that the deputy died of a heat stroke, HCSO says that the cause of death has not been determined yet by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Medical Examiner’s Office says it will not be releasing the cause of death at the request of the family.

It was also been reported on social media by Georgia Law Enforcement that the deputy’s father, identified as Clint Free, is in critical condition after suffering a heart attack while rushing to the hospital to check on his son. However, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office will not confirm this information.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Sgt. Free initially felt nauseous during an indoor training session on Tuesday.

“Sgt. Free was inside a classroom on the property of the range. He became nauseous and was transported to the hospital. When he was transported to the hospital, he was conscious, very alert and responding,” per Sytonnia Moore, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

Moore said the indoor training was not physical in nature.

Sheriff Reginald B. Scandrett issued the following statement:

“Out of respect to the family, please ensure that information is not dispersed about Sgt. Free without the direct approval and confirmation from the family or the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.”

Sgt. Free was a deputy at the Sheriff’s Office for 16 years.

His girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall, issued the following statement:

“There are no words to describe my loss and pain. All I can say is I was blessed with Sean in my life and my families lives! Sean, was a man of integrity and the most wonderful man I know besides my dad. We had true love for each other and he always called me baby girl and we called little names all the time. One I would call him is Home Skillet Biscuit. He would always laugh. I don’t know what to do without Sean. How do I tell my two sons who Sean loved so much. Sean called me while he was at training, and he told me how much he loved me and I told him how much I loved him. I’m so thankful that I got to hear him tell me. But, I didn’t have to hear it…. I knew because he is a selfless person. I trusted him and he trusted me. I’m in so much pain. Sean meant a lot to everyone but, Sean changed my world and showed me unconditional love. I could go on and on. I’m still in shock. All I can say is that his mom and dad did an outstanding job raising the most incredible person I know.”

Friend Victoria Moore also issued a statement:

“How do you type words for a man who meant so much, Sean free was a friend, a man who loved his family loved his community and loved his time as a SRO. He loved trying to mold kids’ lives, he was a bundle of laughs, and loved to make you laugh, his hugs were the highlight of your day because you just felt like you were going to be ok, he loved his parents deeply and would give you the shirt off his back. A man like Sean you can’t replace, but you can honor. he would do anything for you, if he was who pulled you over he’d give you every chance to tell the truth and do the right thing he wanted you to trust in him as a person as a cop as a friend no matter who you were or how you met him, once you met him you had a friend and you’d never be forgotten! I’m thankful you shared your love for Elizabeth I’m thankful now even in your passing that I have her friendship. Free we love you we miss you we got it here.”

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the new information from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.