Archive for law enforcement – Page 2

Swain County Sex Charges

David Peterson

David Peterson

A Swain County school resource officer and former teacher is accused of having sex with a high school student. David Peterson is charged with felony statutory rape in Macon County. That’s where the arrest warrant says he had sex with the 15-year-old victim. Peterson had taught science at Swain County High School and had only been with the sheriff’s office in Swain County for three weeks. Peterson was an SRO for East Elementary and was terminated after his arrest. The SBI is handling the investigation. Peterson was released on a written promise to appear in court. His next court date is set for March 6th.

South Carolina Men Behind Bars

crime-sceneTwo South Carolina men remain behind bars after a car chase around 7:30 p.m. Thursday February 13th that involved three law enforcement agencies. The incident began when Sylva Police received a report of a suspicious vehicle coming toward Sylva from the Cullowhee area. Authorities located the car on N.C. 107 near Cook-Out restaurant and checked the tag, which came back as belonging to a stolen vehicle. The chase started when the vehicle turned onto Skyland Drive and ended when it ran off the road near North Fork. According to N.C. Highway Patrol Dustin Mathis Jones, 23, of Summerville, S.C., was driving. Kenneth Charles Elmore III, 32, also of Summerville was the passenger of the vehicle. After the crash, both men fled on foot. Elmore was caught within minutes and Jones shortly thereafter.
Elmore remained in jail under $125,000 bond and faces charges of possess stolen motor vehicle; possess/distribute methamphetamine’s and three counts of resisting arrest; and trespassing on railroad right of way. Jones also remained jailed Tuesday under a $150,000 bond. He is charged in the case.

Ledbetter Road Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

A driver ends up in the Tuckaseigee River Monday morning. It happened around 8:30am on Ledbetter Road in Jackson County. The driver of the SUV told troopers a car traveling in the opposite direction, came into her lane. That’s when she over-corrected and went into the river. The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Troopers say it isn’t the first time an accident has happened on this road. A deadly accident has previously occurred in this same spot. The winter weather also played a part in seavral accidents off Ledbetter Road last week.

Gun Locks

Gun Locks

Gun Locks



Child Sex Charges

Stephen Hurley

Stephen Hurley

On February 5th, Police responded to an attempted suicide at the Maggie Valley Motel. There they found 68 year old restaurant owner Stephen Hurley. They also found a note in the room with him. This led the Maggie Valley Police to investigate the alleged sexual assault of two children. A total of 44 sexual molestation related counts and felony warrants have now been served against Hurley. He was arrested and is now in the Haywood County Detention Center under 1 million dollars bond. The warrants charge Hurley with molesting two children under the age of 16 in 2006 and 2007. Other Charges include indecent liberties with a minor and crimes against nature. The alleged victims are now of age and are cooperating with authorities. Residents and those who personally knew Hurley were shocked, stunned and disgusted.

Wanted: Sex Offender for failing to register

Craig Michael Hawkins

Craig Michael Hawkins

Attached please find an incident report and mug shot regarding a Craig Michael Hawkins, who has failed to register as a sex offender. Deputies from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office were verifying sex offender addresses and looked for Mr. Hawkins at his last known and registered address, only to find he was no longer living at that location. A felony warrant for failing to register has been issued. In addition, Mr. Hawkins has outstanding warrants for assault on a female and failure to pay back child support in the amount of $300.

As always, anyone having any information as to Mr. Hawkins’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666 or the Haywood County CrimeStoppers line at 1-877-92CRIME. (Deputy Heidi Warren, Public Information Officer, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)

Board Of Elections Has A Busy Monday

The Jackson County Board Of Elections got the 2014 election season off to a quick start on Monday with eight candidates filing for the upcoming campaign season. Incumbent Jackson County Clerk of Court Ann Melton completed the paperwork to seek another term in that position. She was joined at the new Jackson County Board Of Election offices in the renovated Skyland Office Center by incumbent Republican Commissioners Doug Cody and Charles Elders. Also filing on Monday were current School Board members Ken Hinkey, Allie Laird Large, and Margaret McCray. The race for a new Jackson County Sheriff is unexpected to be hotly contested this year since incumbent sheriff Jimmy Ashe has announced his retirement. Steve Lillard who is currently on the Western Carolina University Police Department, and Jackson County Chief Deputy Chip Hall both filed on Monday. Several other individuals have placed campaign signs in the at various occasions but did not file on Monday. Also on Monday no one filed for the Jackson County Register Of Deeds Office currently held by Joe Hamilton. Candidates have 25 days to file for the May 6th Primary. Board of Elections Director Lisa Lovedahl encouraged candidates to go to the State board Of Elections website and download the documents which can be completed in advance making the filing process quicker. Also Lovedahl reminded voters in the Dillsboro area that their votes would be cash in the jack son County Justice Center starting in 2014 because the Dillsboro precinct voting station at the Dillsboro Town Hall was to small to continue to accommodate the increased number of people voting in that location.

Avoid IRS imposters

With the April 15th tax filing deadline coming up, watch out for criminals and con artists posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try to win your trust and steal your money. We’ve warned you before about phony calls from the IRS. Some North Carolina consumers recently reported getting threatening calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The fake IRS agent told them a warrant had been issued for their arrest and, if they did not pay his taxes immediately, police would jail them within hours. The caller continued to harass one victim and intimidate him until he felt he had no choice but to pay more than $8,000 to the scammers.

If you get a call that claims to come from the IRS, look for warning signs that it’s scam:

  • The IRS will not threaten arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay back taxes immediately.
  • IRS agents will never demand immediate payment by credit card, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
  • Typically, the IRS communicates with consumers about tax issues via mail, not by phone, email or text message.
  • Ask for the caller’s call back number and employee badge number, and then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to check them out.
  • Don’t rely on Caller ID to identify who is calling you, since scammers can manipulate it to make it appear they are calling from the real IRS.
  • Never share personal information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account number, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you, even if they claim to be with the IRS.  Identity thieves can use this information to open up accounts in your name and even claim your tax refund.

If you spot a tax related scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing an online complaint at ncdoj.gov.

Ginsing Poachers Get Jail Time

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell sentenced Charles R. Nash, of Whittier, N.C. to serve 10 days in jail for the illegal possession or harvesting of American ginseng from the Nantahala National Forest, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina and Kristin Bail, Forest Supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina. According to the January 30, 2014 sentencing hearing and other documents, on October 12, 2013, Nash admitted to illegally possessing 24 American ginseng roots he had dug from the Mosses Creek and Wayehutta Off-Road Vehicle areas in Jackson County. He pleaded guilty to the poaching charge. Staff of the Forest Service replanted the recovered viable roots. American ginseng is on the list of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reminds the public that gathering ginseng on the Nantahala National Forest without a permit is illegal. U.S. Forest Service lands have been severely impacted by ginseng poachers in western North Carolina. American ginseng was formerly abundant throughout the eastern mountains, but due to repeated poaching, populations have been reduced to a point that they can barely reproduce. The roots poached in this park are usually young, between the ages of 5 and 10 years, and have not yet reached their full reproductive capacity. In time, the plant’s populations could recover if poaching ceased. The Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the regulatory agency that evaluates the biological and management status of wild American ginseng throughout its native range. The Division issues an annual or biennial report detailing if any harvest conditions need to be modified to ensure the sustainable harvest of wild native ginseng. Permits to collect ginseng root in National Forests are issued through the U.S. Forest Service in early September. Permits are not available in National Park lands such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where even the possession of American Ginseng is prohibited.
The investigation of the case was handled by the U.S. Forest Service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville handled the prosecution.
To report illegal harvesting activities of American ginseng, please call 828-257-4200.

Sheriff Ashe Announces Retirement

Sheriff Jimmy Ashe

Sheriff Jimmy Ashe

Below is the retirement announcement released by Sheriff Jimmy Ashe’s office.


After much prayerful thought and reflection, I am today announcing my decision to retire as your Sheriff in December of 2014.  Serving three terms as Sheriff, and many years more as a member of the Department, has been the most rewarding experience in my life.  Serving with and leading the men and women of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has been a privilege and an honor and the citizens of the County can be proud of the law enforcement professionals who answer the call of duty everyday.

During a career that has spanned nearly thirty-five years, I have witnessed great changes in the County.  While we have grown in population, we have also maintained the remnants of days gone by, with neighbor knowing neighbor and citizens supporting the greater good.

I am proud of what we have accomplished at the Sheriff’s Office.  We have worked diligently to enhance our crime fighting skills with new equipment, robust training, and meaningful relationships with our colleagues at other agencies; local, State and Federal.  I would like to think that we have created the foundation for sustainable relationships with our law enforcement partners.

As I reflect on my many years with the Sheriff’s Office, as a Deputy, Supervisor, Commanding Officer, Chief Deputy and elected Sheriff, I cannot help but recall the many changes we have seen in both the Sheriff’s Office and the communities we serve.  Once a sleepy hamlet imbedded in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we have emerged as a hub of social activity, cultural diversity, educational greatness, and the destination of many, be they tourists or those who have decided to become our neighbors.

Many have served the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office during my tenure, and I would like to thank them for their commitment to our community and the strengthening of our values.  Together we have worked to assimilate our department into the mainstream lives of our citizens; being there when needed and providing for a sense of safety and well-being.

This has not been an easy decision.  I have been humbled by the breadth of your support and the measure of your resolve to help me make Jackson County all that it can be.  But there does come a time when the reins of leadership must be passed to others and I have determined that this is the time.

To my friends, supporters, and all citizens of Jackson County, please accept my most sincere thank you for your trust, confidence, and faith.  I shall always cherish my service with the County I love and its magnificent people. (Press Release from the office of Sheriff Jimmy Ashe)


Missing Men in Haywood County


James Christopher Franklin

James Christopher Franklin


Robert Douglas Parks

Robert Douglas Parks

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two people who are reported to be missing in separate incidents.

 Robert Douglas Parks, 38, was reported missing today after he failed to keep an appointment. Friends and family reported they have not heard from him since late last night.  Mr. Parks is a white male approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing about 185 pounds, with reddish brown hair and brown eyes.  He was last known to be wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, blue athletic shoes with yellow laces and a black coat.

In an unrelated incident, James Christopher Franklin, 28, was reported missing Saturday by his family. He was last seen in the area of Paragon Parkway in Clyde.  Mr. Franklin is a white male approximately 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with short brown hair, blue eyes, and walks with a distinct limp.  Though his clothing description on the date he went missing is unknown, family reports he frequently wears blue jeans and an oversized hooded jacked or sweatshirt.

 Anyone with any information as to the whereabouts of either man is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666.

Foul Play In Burned Vehicle

crime-sceneAs reported earlier, The Cherokee Police responded to a call around 1am on December 29th of a burned vehicle on Old Rock Crusher Road in the Big Cove Community. A body was found and was identified to be Marie Walkingstick Pheasant, 26 of Cherokee. Foul play is now suspected and the Cherokee Police, NC Bureau of Investigations and FBI are currently investigating the crime. A reward of $5,000 is being offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the crime. Anyone with information may contact Detective Jason Cable at the Cherokee Indian Police Department at 828-778-5608.

Felony Drug Charges

Joshua Ray Warren

Joshua Ray Warren

A routine traffic stop late Sunday night led to a felony drug and weapons arrest by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy initiated the stop after observing a revoked license plate on a vehicle occupied by three people.  As the subsequent investigation unfolded, deputies found a handgun during the vehicle search, and secured the weapon and more than $380 cash into evidence.  During a search of the suspects in the jail facility, deputies also found and seized 7.3 grams of methamphetamine. Joshua Ray Warren, 34, has been charged with felonious possession with intent to manufacture, sell and/or deliver a schedule II substance, maintaining a vehicle to keep and sell controlled substances, possession of a controlled substance on jail premises, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Warren was jailed in lieu of $100,000 secured bond.  Warren was out on bond awaiting trail on unrelated charges of felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.  His next court date is slated for Jan. 8.

Alleged Assult on WCU Campus Reported

Western Carolina University police are investigating a report of a simple assault that allegedly occurred between the Courtyard Dining Hall and Scott Hall at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec.  8. At 12:19 p.m. that day, a female student reported to police that she was approached from behind by a black male. The female student told authorities that the male grabbed her shoulder and, when she turned around, the suspect ran off. Police say that the suspect was last seen entering a silver or light-colored SUV.

University police informed the campus of the investigation on Sunday afternoon, and took the opportunity to remind members of the campus community of several safety tips, including to have the WCU emergency phone number plugged into their cell phones; to report suspicious behavior to police as soon as possible; to walk in groups, especially at night, and in well-lit areas; and to remain alert to their surroundings.

Early Sunday evening, university police informed the campus that the suspect had been located, and that there did not appear to be an ongoing threat to the community. No charges have been filed at this time. The incident remains under investigation.


Haywood County Inmate Dies in Custody

The Haywood County Detention Facility has experienced an in-custody death.  An inmate was found non-responsive in the jail at approximately 9:40 Monday night.  The man was reportedly housed in a cell by himself.  Upon finding him unresponsive, corrections officers quickly sought emergency medical assistance. EMTs responded and transported the man to MedWest Haywood, where he was later pronounced dead.

Pursuant to jail policy, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has turned the matter over to the State Bureau of Investigation. No additional information has been released at this time.

NCSHP to Participate in Nationwide Thanksgiving Highway Campaign

Research indicates that the Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the most heavily traveled times in the United States, heaviest of which are 12 p.m.-12 a.m. the Wednesday before and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. the Sunday following.  To promote a safe and uneventful driving environment, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol will join forces with numerous highway patrol and state police agencies across the nation in an enforcement campaign concentrated solely on I-40. During the two-day operation, North Carolina troopers, along with other states, will be patrolling along the I-40 corridor every 20 miles from coast to coast.  It is hoped that the constant visibility of law enforcement from state to state will create a safe driving environment for all motorists but more importantly save lives and prevent injuries. Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday, the highway patrol investigated 11 fatal collisions, 432 injury collisions and 1,457 property damage collisions. Many of these collisions were attributed to excessive speed. Speed remains the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in North Carolina as well as across the country. Last year the Highway Patrol investigated 1,801 fatal collisions on North Carolina. Of those, 245 deaths were contributed to speed, compared to 244 deaths in 2011. Motorists who are travelling the highways this Thanksgiving holiday are urged to contact the State Highway Patrol should they observe motorists who are driving in a careless and reckless manner. The Highway Patrol can be reached on any cellphone by dialing *HP or *47.

Commissioners Considering A New 9-1-1 Facility And Emergency Operations Center

The Jackson County Commissioners were updated Monday by Architect Odell Thompson on the planned new 9-1-1 Facility and Emergency Operations Center to be constructed on Highway 441 South on the same property where the current 9-1-1- Dispatch Office and Emergency Management Offices are located. This is the property formerly occupied by Duke Power Maintenance Operations. The proposal is for the construction of a new facility to allow for the consolidation of all communications and emergency services in one location. The facility would be constructed to a standard sufficient to withstand most any terrestrial condition so communications and emergency services would not be disrupted during the most severe weather conditions. The the design process which is now underway will include additional drainage issues for the property and security enhancements. The finals are expected to be approved early in 2014 with a targeted date of May 2014  for construction to begin. It expected to take one year for the construction to be completed.

Canton Man Charged with Child Sex Crimes

David Wallace Bidou

David Wallace Bidou

A Canton man was arrested yesterday and charged with 15 sex crimes involving a child. Forty-six-year-old David Wallace Bidou, has been charged with eight counts of felony sexual offense with a child and seven felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.  The crimes are alleged to have taken place more than five years ago. A cooperative investigation between the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and Canton Police Department, is ongoing. Bidou is being held in lieu of $800,000 secured bond, and is scheduled to appear in court November 20th.

Speeding Stop On Interstate 40 Leads To Drug Charges

A traffic stop on Interstate 40  led to two felony drug arrests after a Haywood County Sheriff’s Officer canine alerted on the vehicle early Saturday morning. According to Sheriff’s Office reports, NC State Highway Patrol Trooper L.A. Pate had stopped a black 2003 Lexus at exit 27 eastbound for speeding and called for a K-9 unit when he smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. Reports state Deputy Doug Carver arrived shortly thereafter with his canine, Abel, which alerted on the vehicle. Once inside the car, Abel alerted on a purple backpack. Officers discovered a metal box inside the backpack, which was found to contain what appeared to be various controlled substances. Hannah Michelle Braswell, 23, of Knoxville, TN was arrested and charged with felonious possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and or deliver Ecstasy, felonious trafficking in LSD. felonious trafficking in methamphetamine by possession, felonious trafficking in methamphetamine, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. She was jailed in lieu of $100,000 secured bond. Jordan Elizabeth Turner, 21, of Knoxville TN was arrested and charged with maintaining a vehicle for keeping and selling controlled substances, felonious possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and or deliver methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. She was jailed in  lieu of $16,000 secured bond. Court date is set for October 30th.

Jackson County To Consider Rennovations to The Justice Center

The Jackson County Commissioners heard from Doug Kepplin, of the Heery Design of Orlando, Florida about renovations to the Jackson County Justice Center. Recently Judge Brad Letts reported to the Commissioners that certain design changes and renovations needed to be made to the judicial quarters of the Jackson County Justice Center. According to Judge Letts some of the courtroom space was to large and inefficient while other space was to small due to changes in the court and nature of the proceedings since the facility was constructed. Letts recommended the County review the Haywood County Justice Center floor plan which many of the now serving judges and agents involved with judicial services consider a model project. This Haywood County Justice Center was designed by Heery Design which has  offices nationwide. Kepplin indicated that he had already conducted an assessment and suggested that a complete assessment be made of the floor plan, security,  a mechanical and infrastructure analysis, and technology assessment. From that assessment a renovation master plan would need to be developed. For the review Herry Design would be paid about $31,000. County Manager  Chuck Wooten stressed this is the first step.  The Commissioners indicated they wanted to get the process started during this calendar year.