Colleagues remember W.D. Merritt, Memphis criminal investigator who appeared on ‘The First 48’

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W.D. Merritt from a WREG interview in 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A longtime Memphis criminal investigator died Sunday from complications related to COVID, his family said.

W.D. Merritt, who spent 28 years with MPD before joining the district attorney’s office as an investigator in 2013, also appeared in the A&E television documentary “The First 48,” which followed cases with the Memphis Police Department. Merritt was 56.

District Attorney General Amy Weirich called Merritt “a true hero.”

“W.D.’s incredible investigative skills brought thousands of offenders to justice and brought closure to the victims and their families,” Weirich said. “His integrity, hard work, compassion and selflessness were unmatched. As a husband, a father, an investigator and a friend, W.D. always did what was noble and right.”

While with MPD, Merritt spent 10 years in uniform patrol, five years as a sergeant in the robbery squad and 13 years as a sergeant in the homicide squad, Weirich’s office said.

Prosecutors and those who worked with Merritt praised his selfless dedication to doing the right thing.

“Sgt. Merritt was an outstanding investigator and a real example of a loyal friend, a loving family man, and a compassionate public servant,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said in a statement. “There are no words that can fill the void of his loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and all who knew and loved him.” 

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