The suicide of Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland is under investigation, according to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
Jones confirmed to AL.com’s Jeremy Gray that the investigation has nothing to do with online posts Copeland had made, but is a standard death investigation.
“We are investigating the specific circumstance surrounding his death,” Jones told AL.com. “It kind of got spilled over to the story that was published by 1819.”
1819 News, a blog originally created by the Alabama Policy Institute, published a story last Wednesday detailing Copeland’s online posting history in which he dressed as a woman and wrote erotic fiction. In a few instances, Copeland allegedly used the names and likenesses of people within the community within his stories as well as in memes.
Two of the women whose likenesses were allegedly used spoke to WTVM, saying they felt victimized having their likenesses used in the posts, some of which ended up on pornographic sites.
1819’s article Tuesday shared content from that article, but did not make it clear originally that the investigation was unrelated to the posts. The site later posted a clarifying story after AL.com’s article was released.