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Acquaintances, social media paint arson suspect as troubled

By Walter Geiger When authorities finally identifi ed Travis Leroy Ball as the man arrested in connection with a string of area arsons, many people who had dealings with him – particularly local women were not surprised. Ball had issues, they alleged, particularly with women who had borne children. One woman reported Ball got her cell number from a business Facebook page and harassed her for months. He called the woman up to 30 times a day. Once she stopped answering, he blocked his number and continued to call. Often the topic was his female former high school classmates who got married, had children and put on weight. A male classmate reported Ball repeatedly contacted him through social media in an effort to set up a class reunion – even accosting people at a local business office in an attempt to get his cell phone number. ’He was obviously not all there,’ the man said. Sheriff Brad White reported he has heard similar stories from multiple people – mostly former female classmates or acquaintances of Ball. ‘He would get these women’s cell phone numbers and just blow up their phones until he got tired of them and moved on to someone else,’ the sheriff said. Another female classmate, who is childless, saw a different side of Ball whom she remembered as a small, quiet kid who sat in a corner of the classroom. Ball conversed with her via social media and confided to her his mother had killed herself in front of him when he was little. Ball, she said, had no father figure and basically raised himself. ’He hated women and children. He questioned me a lot about women’s thinking but always thanked me for talking to him. I never felt threatened or like I was stalked but I wasn’t surprised when he was arrested,’ she said. Ball’s Facebook page is a virtual gallery of pent up anger. In his profile, he claims to live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sheriff White said there is no evidence he ever lived there. Ball also claims to have graduated from both Lamar and Putnam county high schools in 1985. About himself Ball wrote, ‘Life is about having dreams and goals and doing your best to make them a reality. It is not about having kids you can’t afford and having them for tax exemptions.’ In a January 7 post, apparently the last before his arrest, Ball asked, ‘When are you women going to become widows?’ On New Year’s eve 2011 he posed the question, ‘Is there really such a thing as a good woman.’ The following day he urged people to stay single, date but avoid having children. In September, 2011 Ball asked online, ‘Any women from Lamar County, Ga. that never had kids on here? I don’t want a ready made family and U shouldn’t had kids either.’ A month earlier he posed the question, ‘How many of U girls/women can still fit in your Daisy Duke shorts.’ When one woman replied in the affi rmative, Ball asked her to post a photo. In the melee of comments following the post regarding finding Lamar women his age who had not had kids, Ball, who always typed in all caps, made some unusual remarks including: ‘I’ve done the step parent thing before and didn’t like it.’ ‘Why would anyone want to bring a kid into days (sic) world? I want to know where r all those kids gonna work that I saw in that parade at Buggy Days. ‘Yeah I can remember all U girls back in school before all of U had kids. Why couldn’t U and the other women been happy with just U and the man U love?’ Sheriff White had an opinion on those comments. ‘When he came up on the radar, I kind of wrote him off as our arsonist but I did think he might be someone who could instigate a mass casualty incident,’ the sheriff said. On his Facebook page, Ball also wages verbal war on an Atlanta area attorney named Fred Zimmerman who apparently represented his ex-wife in divorce proceedings in Butts County. Remarks like ‘Fred Zimmerman choke on your own saliva’ are often repeated. He also posted, ‘Butts County Georgia sucks.’ As the investigation unfolded, sheriff White and his investigators contacted Zimmerman about the remarks and Zimmerman downloaded Ball’s photo, made posters and put them up in his neighborhood urging people to be on the lookout for Ball whom he considered a threat to him and his family. Ball had also apparently lost some money in the real estate market based on lamentations in other posts. One day before his arrest, he wrote, ‘Answer this: Into days (sic) housing market if I buy a house for $30,000 and put $30,000 into it do you really think that I could sell it for what I have in it and get it?’ On Christmas eve, 2012 he posted, ‘The hell with the idea of making money in real estate. Santa destroy it all.’ Two nights later, the former Hodges Poore home on Highway 41 South went up in flames. Ball was charged with that arson after a real estate book with the home circled in it was found in his vehicle after his arrest.

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