Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace and the Carter County Dive Team were honored by the OSBI Friday.
OSBI Director Stan Florence presented Grace and the team with a plaque and a citation. The citation commended the team's actions in assisting OSBI agents investigating the 2012 murder of Brandon Duran, a Garvin County resident. Divers recovered the victim's body from a farm pond in southern Garvin County.
"Without the help of the Carter County Dive Team the recovery of remains would have been extremely difficult. Duran's body was cut into pieces and the parts cemented into several five gallon buckets and a wire dog kennel then sunk in the pond," an OSBI spokesperson said.
The team's success led to the arrest of Justin Hammer, who has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the slaying.
Grace said he was extremely pleased by the citation and the plaque commemorating the team's actions.
"It's quite an honor in itself and, in this case, even more of a tribute to the team's abilities because these divers are all volunteers," Grace said. "People don't realize how important such a team is or what a tremendous contribution they make. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated group."