18-year-old dies at party in Auburn

WINDER - A Winder-Barrow High School honor student died Saturday during an after-prom party in Auburn.

Leland Lamar Martin, 18, of Winder, died near midnight at 586 Quail Trail Road in Auburn just weeks before graduation. He had recently accepted a full scholarship to Young Harris College, said Winder-Barrow Principal Rob Johnson.

The home is owned by Barbara Ann Michael who resides on the property, said to Maj. Murray Kogod, Barrow County Sheriff's chief deputy. Michael was not home when Martin died, Kogod said.

No one answered the door at 586 Quail Trail on Monday.

"We are dealing with this case as a death," Kogod said. "We don't know yet if it is a criminal case, although we are exploring the possibility of alcohol-related charges."

According to Kogod, Martin had consumed alcohol and had an altercation with at least one other person at the party.

"There were signs that he had fallen," Kogod said.

The results of a Monday autopsy were unavailable at press time.

A reflective, somber mood prevailed over the school Monday.

"It's very quiet today," Johnson said of his 1,500 students. "Usually the lunchroom is noisy, but today it's quiet. The kids who knew him well are pretty raw."

Johnson described Martin as a big-hearted kid with a kind spirit and a great sense of humor who was dedicated to his schoolwork.

"In the mornings, you always saw him in the cafeteria going over his homework before classes started," Johnson said.

Martin qualified for both the Beta Club and the Honors Society, but joined neither, according to Johnson.

"He just didn't want a lot of accolades," Johnson said, adding that Martin did not play sports or music.

Both Kogod and Johnson mentioned Martin's clean record. He was a kid who stayed out of trouble.

"I never heard anyone say he was a drinker," Johnson said. "He never had a referral or an issue with him. He just did what was expected."

Counselor Ann Pack remembered the day Martin qualified as an honors graduate.

"He jumped up and down," Pack said, as her eyes filled with tears.

Martin's younger brother, Logan, also attends the high school.

Martin is survived by his parents, Leland Lamar Martin Sr. and Kimberly Ann Martin. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Smith Funeral Home, 755 Atlanta Highway S.E. in Winder. Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in the chapel at Smith Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Barrow Memorial Gardens on Ga. Highway 8 in Winder. Martin will be laid to rest in his cap and gown with his gold honor cords.