New developments in the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of Keith Ratliff – the owner of FPS Industries in Carnesville.
According to Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas, federal investigators descended on Carnesville and Hart County Wednesday with warrants.
“On March 25th we were notified by agents with the ATF in Atlanta that they would be executing two search warrants signed by a federal magistrates,” Thomas said. “One (warrant) in Franklin County and one Hart County. I notified the Hart County Sheriff and at 9a Wednesday morning, our officers met with the ATF agents at the Franklin County location.”
Thomas would not say whose property was searched nor what was taken away from that property, but confirmed the searches are in connection with the Ratliff homicide investigation.
In Hart County, Sheriff Mike Cleveland said about 50 ATF and GBI agents converged on the farm owned by FPS Russia host Kyle Myers and Keith Ratliff, which sits mainly in Hart County but also straddles about four acres in Franklin County on Misty Mill and Caney Branch Roads.
“They were conducting an investigation regarding the explosives the pair were using on their You Tube show,” Cleveland said. “They were blowing up cars and other things in Hart County on their farm. Agents were looking for explosives or anything connected to explosives that would have put them in violation of federal law.”
Cleveland said Myers and Ratliff were using a kind of explosives that has to be mixed together.
“The way I understand it they were using Tannerite. It’s legal up to a certain amount and agents were looking for any violations of federal guidelines,” Cleveland said.
Tannerite is the brand name for an ammonium nitrate/aluminum powder-based explosive used mainly for target practice. The chemicals are shipped separately and have to be combined on site.
Cleveland said he was not sure if the search for explosives on the farm is tied to the Ratliff homicide investigation.
On January 3rd, the body of 32-year old Keith Ratliff was found on his property off Hayes Road and Highway 320 in Carnesville. An autopsy determined Ratliff died of a single gunshot wound to the head. According to Thomas, friends found Ratliff inside his locked office.
Ratliff worked with Kyle Myers to produce the YouTube show, FPS Russia in which Myers, who pretends to be Russian, demonstrates various kinds of weapons and explosives.
Ratliff was also the owner of FPS Industries, a company which tested weapons and weapons parts. His death is being investigated jointly by the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, the GBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Since it began, authorities have remained tight-lipped on the progress of the investigation. So far, no suspects have been named in the case and investigators will not say whether they have any person or persons of interest.