Ray Whitley, the district attorney in Tennessee’s 18th Judicial District, says there’s nothing criminal about the July 20, 2020, death of 18-year-old Grant Solomon.
“There has been a very thorough investigation done on this, and there’s just nothing there,” he said in a phone interview on July 26, 2023.
Grant’s mother, Angie, his younger sister, Gracie, and more than 200,000 people who have signed a change.org petition disagree.
In the years leading up to Grant’s death, the family had been rocked by a contentious divorce and allegations of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of Aaron. Aaron had been the sole custodial parent of both children for some time after the divorce — more on that in future True Sunlight episodes — but they were living with their mother in 2020.
On the day he died, Grant was meeting his father, Aaron, at a baseball practice facility in Gallatin, Tennessee, a suburb northeast of Nashville. Aaron was a former news anchor for WSMV, a former local radio host, a Nashville-area socialite, and a financial advisor.
The call for help came to 911 at 8:43 a.m., with Aaron reporting that his son had been run over by his own vehicle.
According to records, help was on the scene by 8:48 a.m., but Grant was gravely injured. He was face-up in a rocky ditch with his 2015 Toyota Tacoma truck on top of him. He had blood coming from his scalp, nose, and ears, and he was unresponsive. As paramedics pulled him from beneath the vehicle, Grant went into cardiac arrest, and CPR was started. He was rushed to the nearby Sumner Regional Medical Center, where further attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at 9:28 a.m.
Back at the scene, officers with the Gallatin Police Department (GDP) took photos and called for a wrecker to tow Grant’s truck. By 9:41 a.m. — just 57 minutes after Aaron first called 911 — the incident was marked as closed by GPD.
GPD noted that the vehicle had apparently run over Grant — because that’s what Aaron Solomon told them. The determination was further solidified by Sumner County Medical Examiner Dr. John Ray Pinkston, who noted Grant’s cause of death as “blunt force trauma” and “run over by automobile.” The manner of death, according to Pinkston, was accidental.
While we don’t have an autopsy report to pore over — those are public record in Tennessee, but Aaron Solomon reportedly refused one for his son — we do have a 27-page document detailing the care Grant received once he arrived at the hospital that includes a list of his documented injuries.
The numbers drawn on the body match to the chart above it and include Grant’s injuries as well as notation of medical devices placed.
He had a bruise on his left cheek, his left side, and his right hip. There was a wound on the back of his head as well as a skull fracture.
Aaron told the 911 dispatcher as well as the responding officers that Grant had been dragged down the hill by his truck — so why doesn’t he have any documented road rash or a note about abrasions in either the EMS run report or the report from the hospital?
The lack of abrasions is striking to us considering the story Aaron told officers. Below is a screenshot of Aaron’s account that was included in records from the Gallatin Police Department.
My son Grant and I pulled into WPI separately, parked side by side. I was still in my car, but noticed my son got out to set his baseball gear out of the back of his truck. I looked down to check a work email and the next thing I know I hear and see the truck rolling backwards into the ditch, I get out of my car to try to find my son and saw that he was trapped underneath the truck and immediately called 911.Aaron Solomon
It was more than 60 feet across a paved parking lot and then into the ditch, but there are no abrasions noted on Grant’s body.
If you’ve been following our work since Alex Murdaugh’s trial for killing his wife and son — Maggie and Paul — you may remember the day that Dr. Ellen Reimer, the medical examiner from the Medical University of South Carolina testified about Paul’s injuries.
Beyond discussing the gunshot wounds Paul Murdaugh sustained, Dr. Reimer testified about an abrasion on Paul’s face believed to have occurred as his body hit the concrete after he was shot.
Our question is this: if Paul Murdaugh, who was not dragged, sustained road rash on his face simply from dropping to the pavement, how did Grant Solomon get dragged across a parking lot by a pickup truck with no documented abrasions?
We aren’t the only ones with those kinds of questions.
As the family and community reeled from Grant’s death, his younger sister, Gracie, made the choice to speak up publicly in May 2021.
After filing a restraining order against her father, then 14-year-old Gracie published a heartbreaking video on Youtube where she detailed allegations of her father sexually abusing her, explained why she was terrified of him, and questioned the details of her brother’s death.
That video was seen by over 100,000 viewers and more than a quarter-million people have signed a petition, but officials in Tennessee still believe it was a tragic accident and have not investigated further.
Aaron Solomon denied those claims made in the video in 2021 a defamation lawsuit against Angie, two teenagers who supported Gracie, and unnamed others.
The calls for justice have grown day by day as the case has been covered by a few podcasts and YouTubers — specifically Kendall Rae, Lauren Interviews Podcast, and Southern Girl Crime Stories, and people have sent Gracie’s video and Grant’s Story to True Sunlight creator Mandy Matney more than 100 times in the last year.
We are not the first ones on the scene by any means, but we believe this story is important and needs every little bit of sunlight and support from our army of pesky people.
Keep an eye out for future True Sunlight episodes focused on the Solomon case, as well as case files and documents and calls to action as we dig in and look for information on what can be done to get justice for Grant.
Contact Beth Braden
Beth Braden is an award-winning journalist whose mastery of the deep dive is evident in her work.
In addition to Braden’s experience writing about local government, crime and courts, and engaging features from her home state of Tennessee, her byline appears on several internationally-known websites. She is passionate about communicating complex information in an easy-to-understand manner and loves to pore over public records.
Braden joined Luna Shark Media in 2023 armed with a love of truth as she seeks out data from the darkest places, drags it into the light, and provides illuminating analysis. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, strange museums, and good cups of coffee.
Please sign into your Premium account then refresh this page to view this content.