Charlie grew up in Alabama before moving to Yoknapatawpha County to join the sheriff's department

Charles Tatum bio

Charles Andrew Tatum was born on July 27, 1972, in Guin, Alabama, to Andy and Ruth Tatum. Andy Tatum worked his whole career at Tombigbee Electric in Guin, and Ruth worked at home, raising the couple's three children: Charlie, Eddie born in 1975, and Melody born in 1977.

From the beginning of his life, Charlie was known for his easy-going personality. He was popular with his teachers and classmates, maintained a solid B average, and played on his high school football and baseball teams.

On April 3, 1974, his hometown of Guin was nearly destroyed by a devastating tornado that killed 23 citizens of the small town and left hundreds of others homeless, injured or both. The storm demolished the Tatum family home, and Charlie grew up hearing all about how the fire and police departments came together to help the community. He so admired their bravery and commitment to serve that he decided to become a police officer himself.

In 1989, he graduated from Marion County High School and enrolled at the University of North Alabama on an Army ROTC scholarship. During the summer of 1991, while Charlie was home from college, the high school burned, and when he saw firsthand how the first responders positively affected the community, he was more committed than ever to pursue a career in public service as a police officer when he completed his time in the military.

Following his 1993 graduation from UNA with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Charlie entered the U.S. Army where he served for eight years, four on full-time active duty and four in the Individual Ready Reserve. He joined the Military Police and took advantage of all the law enforcement-related training the Army offered.

While still in the Army Reserves, Charlie found a position with the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department in Oxford, Mississippi. He initially intended to spend only a few years with the YCSD and then move to a law enforcement organization closer to his Alabama hometown, but Charlie quickly grew to love life in Yoknapatawpha County. Despite his mother's persistent urging to move back to Alabama, he decided to make Oxford his permanent home.

In his 21 years with the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, Charlie became known for his dogged determination to see justice done, even when the odds were against him. His good-natured personality belied his unshakable commitment to getting the bad guys behind bars, no matter how long or how much work it took. His laid-back nature led many criminals to underestimate him, much to their detriment.

Charlie had one of the YCSD's top arrest and conviction records during his tenure and received numerous commendations for his stellar performance. In 2010, Charlie made detective and was assigned to the Vice Squad, where he pursued lawbreakers with the same zeal he had shown as a patrol officer.

Charles Tatum was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound in his apartment on Sunday, May 20, 2018.


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