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Local singer pulls song after deceased deputy's family cites embellishments

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Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office Detective Ricky Seals. WRCBtv file photo Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office Detective Ricky Seals. WRCBtv file photo

It's not uncommon for music to instill emotion in its listeners, but a song by a local artist is stirring up controversy about a Tennessee deputy's death.

The family of Deputy Ricky Seals says there are too striking of similarities between the lyrics of this song, and some of the mysteries surrounding the deputy's death.

All of this came about after singer/songwriter Emily Robinson came on Three Plus You last Thursday.

Her song was heard by community members in Bledsoe County who immediately called the family of Seals, saying they believed the song was about him.

It was a high-profile death, when the body of Ricky Seals was found on Slaughterhouse Road. 

"It was really, really shocking," said Amanda Wingo, Seals' Family Member.

TBI ruled early on he died of natural causes, citing cardiac arrest and the family has spent the last few months grieving the loss. 

"His mother and father are still having a real hard time even talking about it," Wingo said.

So you can imagine their surprise when he was the talk of the town once again, centered around a song that had a familiar story. 

"There were just a lot of things that went right along with what happened with Ricky," Wingo said. "The first part of the song she says Bledsoe County, then Pikeville, Tenn. and then it's on Slaughterhouse Road.”

The song went on to mention the highway where Seals attended church and his possible cause of death.

They're hurt a song was written in the first place, just three months after his sudden death, but angry at what they call embellishments, referencing drug use and infidelity.

Wingo says she reached out to the singer on Twitter about her concerns. 

"She said there was no harm meant there and I misunderstood it and it was a fictional ballad. If she wants to put it as we misunderstood, then a lot of people misunderstood," Wingo said.

They want to set the record straight that what's listed in the song, is no reflection of who Detective Ricky Seals really was. 

"He was a good, good man and did a lot for the community and did a lot for everybody," she said.

Singer/songwriter of "Slaughterhouse Road" Emily Robinson, declined a formal interview. 

However, she sent us a statement that reads in part: 

"I want to offer my sincerest apology to the family and friends of Ricky Seals for the pain and confusion my song has caused. I understand how difficult it must be to lose a family member. I want to make sure that everybody knows that 'Slaughterhouse Road' was never meant to be a song about Mr. Seals, but rather a song I wrote about a fictional character, inspired by a newspaper headline I read in March. Looking back now, I completely understand how this song can be misinterpreted. I never knew Mr. Seals, but I now know he was well-loved by his community and served the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Department faithfully for many years. Out of respect for the Seals family, and because of the pain I've caused them with this song, I have removed "Slaughterhouse Road" from all my media channels and do not plan to perform it publicly anymore. I am deeply sorry.”

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