WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga. — A new interim sheriff has been appointed for Washington County after the passing of Sheriff Thomas Smith.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Smith committed suicide Saturday after serving over 22 years in the position.

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In a press release from the sheriff's office, they say Chief Deputy Mark McGraw will take over as interim sheriff for the county by state law.

McGraw is a U.S. Navy veteran and has been working with the Washington County Sheriff's Office since 1996. He rose to major in 2012 and in 2015 he was appointed to the role of chief deputy.

McGraw lives in Tennille with his wife, Jennifer, and has three children ages 21, 20, and 9. He's completed around 1,400 hours of law enforcement training and is a graduate of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange in Israel.

MORE: GBI: Washington County sheriff died from ‘self-inflicted gunshot wound’

In the press release, McGraw said, "Sheriff Smith was like a father to me. He was truly the best friend I had. The sheriff was a very kind and considerate person. It didn’t matter your age, sex, race, he was a champion for everyone. When Sheriff Smith took office, I was already certified peace officer and still working in the jail. He immediately put me on patrol, and my career started from there. I would definitely not be where I am today if it wasn’t for him."

According to May and Smith Funeral Directors, visitation for Smith will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Allen Smith's home (Oak Lodge) at 499 GA-Highway 68 North in Tennille. The funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Tennille United Methodist Church with burial in Zeta Cemetery.