6 years later: How police developed suspects, motive in Upatoi triple murders

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:20 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - This week marks the 6th anniversary for the Upatoi triple murders.

Yesterday, we gave you an inside look at the horrific crime scene with body camera footage and photos shown for the first time on News Leader 9.

In part two of our three-part report WTVM anchor Roslyn Giles reveals how police were able to track down the suspects and a motive for the killings.

Columbus police homicide detectives worked day and night trying to find who had killed Gloria Short, her son Caleb and granddaughter Gianna Lindsey in their Bentley Drive home.

In the beginning, they only had photos from the crime scene to work with. Pools of blood on the floor, a dumbell that was used as a weapon, a bow and arrow taken from the attic, a broken lamp stand and blue tape to bound the victims.

For the first time, we’re hearing from Gloria Short’s niece, Denicia Sumbry who learned her loved ones were dead shortly after arriving at the house January 4, 2016.

“I was devastated,” described Sumbry.

Two days after the Upatoi triple murders, Raheam Gibson’s mother Lisa Gibson wasted no time calling police to her home to tell them what she had heard about the crime.

In bodycam footage obtained through an open records request, Raheam’s mother tells police her account.

“My boy (Raheam Gibson) called me. Let me see, I called him cause they were over Weeda’s (Jarvarceay Tapley) house. I am so tired of it right now. And they had come back with some stuff because they had broken into somebody’s house.”

The stuff Lisa Gibson was talking about included Caleb’s stolen clothes and Air Jordan shoes posted for sale on social media. Items police also confiscated from Jarvarceay Tapley’s home on Calhoun Drive.

Lisa Gibson also gets emotional as she tells the officer her son is a follower.

”He is a do boy (Raheam Gibson) and say the boy (Jarvarceay Tapley) might have went back in there and killed those folks over there...the baby and the... POLICE: ok, calm down for me take a deep breath.”

Gibson told police her daugther saw Raheam driving a silver car stolen from the home along with an SUV, found days later in Oakland Park. That lead set police on the right path to catching all three suspects.

Family member Denicia Sumbry says losing three family members this way was almost impossible to accept.

“I didn’t cope, I was very close to my auntie and my cousin. I lost my mom previously and my aunt was my mom,” said Sumbry.

Sumbry says the only way she did cope was cling to God and her family.

The family says they have all grown closer together since this tragedy. They have also sought the help of therapists to get through this inmaginable crime.

All three suspects will serve decades behind bars except for the mastermind, Jarvarceay Tapley. Tapley will never get out of prison.

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