Chelsea man’s death ruled a homicide

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018

CHELSEA – The Shelby County Sheriff’s recently released the identity of a man who was the subject of a death investigation at a residence on the 5800 block of Shelby County 39 close to the Chelsea city limits.

The deceased has been positively identified as 68-year-old Tracy Ward Austin, who lists an address at the residence where his body was found.

While authorities have not released specific details about the cause and manner of Austin’s death, it has been ruled as a homicide. An SCSO press release stated that Austin died at some time on Monday, March 5.

Deputies responded to the scene of the crime at approximately 4:30 p.m. on March 5, found Austin’s body and notified investigators.

As of Wednesday, March 7, no suspects have been taken into custody. Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding out more information related to the case. The home is located close to the intersection of Shelby County 69 and Shelby County 39, authorities believe that someone may have seen something out of the ordinary that morning.

“Someone may be a witness without knowing it,” the press release read. “If anyone traveled either of these roads at around 7 a.m. and saw anything suspicious, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.”

According to the press release, the case is under investigation by the SCSO and the Shelby County Coroner’s Office.

Anyone who has more information about this crime or noticed anything suspicious in the area is encouraged to contact the SCSO by calling its direct line at 669-4181, by calling its secret witness line at 669-9116 or online at To submit an anonymous tip with CrimeStoppers of Metro Alabama, call 254-7777. A cash reward of up to $5,000 is possible.