GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It's been more than four months since a hunter was shot and killed in his tree stand in Gallia County.
Larry Bradley, 45, was hunting in December when he was shot. He died from the wound.
The Gallia County Sheriff's Office was able to determine that the gunshot wound was not self inflicted, but they were not able to name a suspect.
In January, the Sheriff's Office received an anonymous letter from someone admitting to the shooting.
Although they claimed responsibility, they did not leave their name.
They also asked for the Sheriff's Office to pass along to the family that it was accidental.
Monday, four months after the shooting, the Sheriff's Office released the full content of that letter.
The letter said the following:
"As of Dec. 2 my life has changed for ever. I was hunting on the land that border the Russel farm tracking a deer I shot just after daybreak. I knew I was trespassing huntin on land I didn't have permission to hunt on when I shot at the deer. I had been tracking. I herd someone started yelling it scared me so much cause I didn't have permission to be there and I couldn't afford a fine so I ran back to public hunting land and finishe my day hunting. It wasn't until I herd on on the news later that day I new what had happened. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain that I caused on the day. Can u please tell the family I am so sorry, I have told no one of this no even my wife or kids this is eating at me like a caner. Please tell the family I am sorry. My life will never be the same, I am not a bad man just a very scared and sorry man."
On Monday, Chief Deputy Dick Grau told WSAZ.com, "In releasing the entire letter in the hopes again that someone will recognize the hand writing style. it gets it back out there to re-jog their memory that this is still going on, that we still have this out there, and we would really want to bring closure to the family."
Dianna Smith is a friend of the family. After reading the letter, she says whoever wrote it needs to come forward and take responsibility.
"That's what the family is wanting at this time,” Smith said. “It's not going to bring Larry back, but they need closure to know what happened that day."
Anyone with information is asked to call the tip line at 740-446-6555.
"He called me at 8:23 that morning and said, 'You've got to help me,' " Denise Bradley said. "I knew he had a tree stand out there. I said, 'I have to know what's wrong,' and he said, 'Just help me. Hurry.' "
By the time Denise could call family members for help, it was too late.
"He started choking and coughing," Bradley said, "and there was nothing. I was on the phone with him from 8:23-8:28 and the last minute I spent yelling in that phone to try and get him back."
Investigators with the Gallia County Sheriff's Department have been looking into whether the shooting was accidental, until they caught what could be a break in the case.
"We received an anonymous letter from someone basically claiming responsibility for that death, and reaching out to us to ask us to pass onto the family that it was accidental and not intentional," Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said.
Denise believes the shooting was an accident, but wants whoever wrote the letter to take full responsibility.
"God forgives, but not if you're hiding," Bradley said. "It's not giving me any closure just for someone to write a letter. I would rather them show up on my doorstep and say, 'Hey, I'm really, truly sorry' and make it right. I want justice for him. He did not deserve to die like this. A letter is just not enough."
Sheriff Browning says he's not ready to say "100 percent" that Larry's death was an accident. Sheriff Browning has sent the letter to Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation to see if they can find any fingerprints or any other information that could lead them to the person who pulled the trigger.
If you have any information, you're urged to call the Gallia County Sheriff's Department at 740-446-1221.
Larry Bradley, 45, of Bidwell, was found dead from a gunshot wound off Thaxton Road in Morgan Township last month.
Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning released a portion of the letter Monday during a press conference with Bradley's widow
In the letter the person said, "I am so sorry for the hurt and pain that I caused on that can. Can you please tell the family I am so sorry."
Both Browning and Bradley's widow are now asking the person who wrote the letter to come forward.
Denise Bradley tells WSAZ.com that her husband called her after he was shot. She said that he told her he needed help and she needed to come to the woods. He would not tell her what happened. She said she was on the phone with him when he passed away.
Sheriff Browning says Mr. Bradley was shot in the back. No other information about the shooting were released Monday.
Investigators say that Bradley was wearing blaze orange while he was hunting.
Sheriff Browning says his office is working with the Gallia County Prosecutor's Office to discuss what charges could be filed, and how, if this was an accident, they can move forward.
The letter has been sent to Ohio BCI to be analyzed.
If you have any information regarding this investigation, call the Gallia County Sheriff's Office.
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