Growing up in Frankfort, Kentucky, Cory Brawner says she and her brother Keith Ratliff spent most of their time together playing outdoors.
“We were pretty much like twins,” Cory told Dateline, adding that she and her brother did almost everything together.
“Keith has always been this crazy adventurous kid. He was a computer kid -- he built websites for people and coded pages for people,” Cory said.
As an adult, Keith’s computer hobby turned into a career. He co-founded a YouTube channel called FPSRussia on which he published videos he had produced discussing gun and explosive-device education. The channel grew quickly and currently has over 6.5 million subscribers.
In February of 2012 the 32-year-old moved to Carnesville, Georgia to start a new business, leaving his wife Amanda and her son behind in Kentucky. He became co-owner of FPS Industries, a custom firearms fabrication and testing company, and lived in an apartment connected to the FPS Industries warehouse.
Cory told Dateline she spoke with her brother Keith on the phone on Christmas Eve of 2012. Keith had spent Christmas with their grandmother Mimi back in Kentucky, but Cory had been unable to join them.
“I remember speaking to him. He told me, ‘All the cool people are here at Mimi’s house,’” Cory remembered.
Keith returned to his home in Georgia the following day, according to Cory. A week later, on January 4, 2013, Cory received a life-altering call about Keith from their father: Keith had been found shot to death in his home.
“Of course, I was hysterical,” Cory said, adding that she immediately drove to her brother’s apartment in Carnesville.
According to a statement by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), Keith was discovered dead by an FPS Industries employee early in the morning of January 3, 2013. That employee immediately called 911, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call.
The GBI was called to the crime scene that day and have been working on the case ever since, in conjunction with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
“There were no signs of forced entry at the business and surveillance equipment, along with some firearms, had been taken. There did not appear to be a struggle of any kind, and based on the scene,” the statement from the GBI said, “Ratliff died while he was working. Ratliff may have been killed by individual(s) he trusted.”
Police have not made any arrests in Keith’s murder. The GBI believes whoever killed Keith could still be a threat, they said in the statement, especially to those who might know information about Keith’s case.
“To this day, we are still piecing things together,” Keith’s sister Cory told Dateline. “Without any answers, it’s been a living hell. I look over my shoulder every single day to see if there is someone behind me.”
Cory says she wants answers in her brother’s death.
“We just want to know who killed him, and we want to know why they killed him,” she said.
If you have any information about Keith’s case, please contact the GBI Athens office at 706-552-2309 or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 706-384-2525. Tips can be submitted confidentially online to the GBI here.