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Bike ride, rally to benefit family of slain man
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The wife of a Forsyth County man whose death remains unsolved after two and a half years hopes the family’s tragedy can one day help other families in similar situations.


Crystal Casas learned of her husband’s death when she saw a news broadcast asking for help in identifying a man whose body was discovered in Bartow County in 2005.


Fabian Casas, Jr., 27, had been missing for six weeks when Crystal Casas saw her husband’s tattoos on the news in early January 2006. The father of two young sons was last seen on Nov. 14, 2005 leaving his auto repair shop on Canton Highway in Forsyth County.


Six weeks passed between the time Fabian Casas went missing and the day his body was recovered in Cartersville.


Crystal Casas, along with family and friends, felt helpless in the search for Fabian Casas and were tormented with the unknown, she said.


Crystal Casas hired a private investigator hoping his work, along with the work of local and state authorities, would produce a positive outcome.


While her husband was not brought back to her, Crystal Casas teamed up with private investigator TJ Ward and K9 SARS Tracy Sargent, who founded STARS, Search Team and Recovery Specialists in 2005.


STARS is a unique, first of its kind search team, based in Alpharetta and comprised solely of law enforcement personnel.


With a mission to assist governmental partners and the families they serve, STARS strives to bring quick resolution by offering expertise in locating lost and missing persons.


As law enforcement professionals, STARS volunteers understand the distinctive challenges a missing person event can pose to officials, families and the community.


It is because of the challenges that STARS operates completely as a non-profit organization, where there is never a charge to utilize the services, resources or expertise.

STARS provides highly trained professional dog teams free of charge to assist authorities in searching for lost or missing persons, homicide victims and evidence in criminal cases, as well as provides education and awareness programs about search and rescue operations, wilderness safety and the use of search dogs.


The success of the group is possible by the commitment from the STARS team and through support by local businesses and individuals.


The STARS inaugural Memorial Ride for Fabian Casas, Jr. and his family is being held Sunday, Sept. 7 from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., beginning at Mardi Gras Plaza in Alpharetta and ending at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville.


Festivities will include family fun, lunch, live music, gorgeous scenery, raffles, hiking and a demonstration by the STARS K9 team. Non-riders are welcome at Amicalola Falls.


“I just hope this terrible part of my life can help others,” said Crystal Casas.


For more information about the ride and rally, call Crystal Casas as (404) 895-4799, or e-mail


For information about Fabian Casas’ case, call TJ Ward at (404) 932-4016.


E-mail Michele Hester at