Murder investigation underway after man found shot dead behind Russell County church


RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – A murder investigation is underway in Russell County after a man was found shot to death behind a church under construction near Seale and Fort Mitchell, Ala. on Jan. 14, 2021.

“It’s right on the line between Fort Mitchell and Seale. It probably has a Seale address, but it could be called Fort Mitchell or Seale. It’s right there close to on the line,” said Russell County Sheriff Taylor.

Deputy Coroner John James confirmed to News 3 that the victim is 38-year-old Christopher Roper of Phenix City.

According to Sheriff Taylor, Roper’s body was found around lunch time behind the Uchee Pines Seventh Day Advent Church on Uchee Pines Road.

Construction workers reporting to work on Jan. 14, found the body of a male victim behind the church.

Sheriff Taylor says he does not want to say exactly how the body was found, face up or face down, nor would he speculate about if the victim was shot at the church or somewhere else.

“That’s something that only the offender would know,” Taylor said.

According to the Sheriff, Roper’s body was not there on Wednesday. He believes the incident happened sometime Thursday morning before lunch.

Sheriff Taylor says he believes the victim knew the killer because there does not appear to be much of a struggle at the crime scene. He would not say whether or not the body was found face up or face down.

Sheriff Taylor would not speculate as to whether Roper was shot at a different location and brought to the church, or shot where they were found.

There are no security cameras at the church and investigators are looking for homes in the area that might have security cameras.

“We are canvassing the neighborhood for videos on any houses that would be on that road. The last time I had spoke to Investigations, we were unable yet to locate a residence that had any video on it. The church was not quite that far along, they had plans for video on the outside but they had not installed them, ” said Sheriff Taylor.

Roper’s body is being sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy. Sheriff Taylor says finger prints obtained during the autopsy might help identify the victim.

Additionally, anyone who has information about the shooting or the victim should also contact the Russell County Sheriff’s Office at 334-298-6535.

Anyone who might have a missing male family member is encouraged to contact the Russell County Sheriff’s Office.

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