TCSO make additional arrest in Enota Mountain Retreat case

News, Press Release
Enota Mountain Retreat
On July 8 the Towns County Sheriff’s Office investigated an incident of stolen property out of Hall County at the Enota Mountain Retreat. Located was a piece of heavy equipment that was equipped with a tracking device, and as a result, Richard McAllister Jr. was arrested and charged with Theft by receiving stolen property.
After further investigation, the Towns County Sheriff’s Office and Cherokee County, GA Sheriff’s Investigators executed a search warrant Thursday, August 19, 2021, locating an additional piece of heavy equipment stolen out of Cherokee County, GA.
On Monday afternoon the Towns County Sheriff’s Office and the Cherokee County, GA Sheriff’s Office followed up and executed an additional search warrant on the property owner of Enota Mountain Retreat.
Investigators located additional stolen property which included heavy equipment, a trailer full of stolen property, and a number of other stolen items were all stolen from Cherokee County, GA as well as other agencies.
Towns County Sheriff’s Office arrested Richard McAllister, Sr. and he was turned over to Cherokee County, GA Investigators.
Richard McAllister Jr and Mariah Elizabeth Ranae Nicholson remain at large on burglary charges out of Cherokee County, GA.
Sheriff Ken Henderson would like to thank the Towns County Sheriff’s Office and Cherokee County, GA Investigators for their long hours and hard work that have gone into this case.
The investigation is ongoing.

Towns deputies bust organized theft ring

News
HIAWASSEE, Ga – Three individuals were arrested for theft and two on drug charges for stealing $5,000 worth of equipment in chainsaws and lawn care items.
After a ten-day investigation, law enforcement located and arrested three men for the thefts. At this time, the investigation is active and ongoing as they determine if other thefts are related. Deputies also found methamphetamine and drug-related objects on the scene. They believe the thefts and drugs are related.
Sheriff Ken Henderson praised the Investigators and Uniform Patrol Units calling the execution of the investigation a great job.
Larry Scott Johnson, 51, of Hiawassee was arrested on two counts of theft by receiving stolen property. Brandon Todd Odell, 32, of Hiawassee was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug-related objects, and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property. Jeremiah Allen Giddens, 35, of Blairsville was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug-related objects, and three counts of theft by receiving stolen property.
The sheriff’s office will return all stolen items to their rightful owners and asks anyone who believes they are a victim of these individuals to call 706-896-4444.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Young Harris man charged with animal cruelty

News, Press Release
animal cruelty
HIAWASSEE, Ga – Following a tip concerning animal cruelty, Towns County Deputies arrested a Young Harris man for cruelty to animals.
On  July 11, 2021, Towns County Sheriff’s Office received information in reference to a cruelty to animals complaint in  Young Harris, GA.
Towns County deputies responded and on further investigation it was revealed there was no electricity, running water and the home had completely been vacated. Deputies heard a dog whimpering and discovered a mother dog along with two pups located in a bedroom with a window barely open enough for a breeze to blow or for them to be able to escape. All three dogs showed signs of severe neglect and were extremely emaciated and had been abandoned with no food or water.
The dogs were removed from the home and turned over to the Humane Society Mountain Shelter.
As a result, Benjamin Gibson was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.
Sheriff Henderson later thanked the Humane Society for “going above and beyond” with their assistance in animal abuse cases. The mother and her puppies are currently in the Humane Society’s care and will hopefully recover and be available for adoption.

North Carolina woman arrested on trafficking methamphetamine charges

News, Press Release
methamphetamine

The Towns County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol makes a vital bust confiscating about a pound of methamphetamine.

Sunday, June 6, 2021, the Georgia State Patrol initiated a traffics stop resulting in the arrest of Jennifer Lynn Williams 31 of Crumpler, NC. The Towns County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit in conjunction with the Georgia State Patrol took up the investigation confiscating the vehicle.

According to Sheriff Ken Henderson, this is part of an ongoing investigation with this arrest impacting the supply chain and large amounts of dangerous drugs coming into the community and potentially into the hands of local youth.

Based on our investigation Jennifer Lynn Williams is a major supplier of drugs in the area.
Jennifer Lynn Williams is being charged with the following.

• Drug related objects
• Damage to government property
• Drugs not in original container
• Trafficking in methamphetamine
• Giving false name
• Possession of schedule II-controlled substance
• Possession of methamphetamine
• Obstruction of officer
• Possession of a firearm during commission of a felony

Sheriff Henderson would like to thank the Georgia State Patrol, Towns County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, and Drug Unit for their continued commitment to combating drugs in our great county.

One arrested following a domestic-related shooting

News
domestic shooting
HIAWASSEE, Ga – Towns County Sheriff’s Office took Joshua Clarke Nelson into custody on June 1 for his suspected involvement in a May 9 domestic shooting.
The incident occurred in the Hall Creek Community around 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 9. Nelson who was shot suffered from critical injuries following the altercation. He allegedly busted a home’s outer door and entered through the basement “in a threatening and aggressive manner” and was shot by a family member.
Towns County Sheriff’s Office called in the GBI to assist with the investigation.
Nelson was released from a local hospital for injuries sustained from a gunshot wound and law enforcement charged him with criminal attempt to commit aggravated assault, 2nd-degree criminal damage to property, and 1st-degree burglary awaiting a bond.
The individual who shot Nelson is not expected to face charges.

Highway safety checks continue to clean up Towns’ streets

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Increased road safety checks are a part of Sheriff Ken Henderson’s proactive approach to law enforcement in Towns County and so far, they’ve proven successful.

On April 29, Henderson, Highway Safety, and other law enforcement agencies conducted a road safety check in Young Harris. The check resulted in a “major drug bust including cocaine, heroin, 21 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, diazepam and marijuana packaged for sale.”

A K9 unit alerted deputies to the vehicle allegedly containing the drugs.

safety checks

Sheriff Henderson with the drugs and paraphernalia discovered from safety checks. Courtesy of Towns County Sheriff Office.

Three individuals were arrested and charged:

Christa Lee Patterson-Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, possession of a schedule IV-controlled substance, possession and use of drug-related objects.

Carlos Dwaine Palmer-Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a schedule IV-controlled substance, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, possession and use of drug-related objects, DUI.

Carl Loren Palmer-Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a schedule IV-controlled substance, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, possession and use of drug-related objects.

Last weekend, during a midnight safety check, the stop uncovered another alleged drug arrest along Hwy. 17. Aimee Fay Fannin was charged with:

 

  • -Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute
  • -Possession of methamphetamine
  • -Drugs not in original container
  • -Drug-related objects

Chief Deputy Gene Moss wants the citizens of Towns County to understand their calls for a safe community are being heard by the sheriff’s office. Henderson and his deputies will continue to take a proactive approach when dealing with crime in the area.

Christa Lee Patterson

Christa Lee Patterson

Carl Loren Palmer

Carl Loren Palmer

Carlos Dwaine Palmer

Carlos Dwaine Palmer

safety checks

Aimee Fay Fannin

Four arrested in connection to Satuday drug raid

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Following multiple complaints about a high volume of traffic along West Union Church Road, Towns County deputies executed a raid of one of the residences.

Early on Saturday, April 24 deputies and investigators entered a home and allegedly uncovered methamphetamine, heroin, and controlled substances in the possession of three individuals.

The three two men and one woman were arrested and charged with the following:

Ryan Ian Rogers

  • -Drugs not in the original container (Gabapentin)
  • -Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime
  • -Possession of methamphetamine
  • -Possession of heroin
  • -Possession of a controlled substance (Alprazolam)
  • -Drug-related objects

Anthony James Smith

  • -Drugs not in the original container (Gabapentin)
  • -Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime
  • -Possession Of methamphetamine
  • -Possession of heroin
  • -Possession of a controlled substance (Alprazolam)
  • -Drug-related objects

Elizabeth Maria Logan

  • -Giving a false name
  • -Drugs not in the original container (Gabapentin)
  • -Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime
  • -Possession of methamphetamine
  • -Possession of heroin
  • -Possession of a controlled substance (Alprazolam)
  • -Drug-related objects

Kyle Mitchell Odom was wanted in connection with the raid, and he was arrested on Thursday, April 29.

Sheriff Henderson thanked the uniform patrol, criminal investigations for their hard work and commitment. He also expressed gratitude to the residents of West Union Church Road for their desire to “take their community back.”

Ryan Ian Roger

Anthony James Smith

drug raid

Elizabeth Maria Logan

Empty Stocking Parade delights all ages

Community
empty stocking parade

HIAWASSEE, Ga – Hundreds turned out to mark the start of the Christmas season in Towns County with the annual Sheriff’s Empty Stocking Parade.

The event started at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, and the theme was “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” The route began at the Georgia Mountain Fairground and ended at South State Bank.

View Parade images.

Members of the Towns County High School band marched down the street playing Christmas classics. Floats light up the street and children scrambled for candy thrown from the floats, golf carts, trucks, buses, and fire engines.

Onlookers on the square enjoyed Christmas music all night long from the square’s light show set up. The square is a great spot for photo ops this holiday season.

First Place winner ServPro

Towns County Sheriff’s Office encouraged monetary and toy donations for needy children in the area. They raised approximately $200 and received 30 toys.

Ten floats entered the parade along with numerous trucks, fire engines, and horses. The participant that one best float was ServPro. Towns Lion Club took second place and Polished Salon took third place.

The ServPro float featured Mr. Anti-Christmas himself, the Grinch. The Lions Club float had Santa and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” crooner Elvis Presley. Polished Salon primped granny under the hairdryer and several merrymakers threw candy out to the crowd.

For those looking for additional Christmas cheer, The Georgia Mountain Fairground Christmas in the Mountains is open every Thursday and Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Float winner images are courtesy of Vicki Ellis.

Third Place winner Polished Salon

Second Place winner Towns County Lions Club

Update : Town’s Sheriff Office make contact with missing person

News, Press Release
missing person

HIAWASSEE, Ga – The Towns County Sheriff’s Office have called off the missing person alert for Michael Radford. The Sheriff’s Office reports that investigators were able to make contact with Radford late Friday afternoon after the alert was put out.

Original Story:

On Friday, July 24, Towns County Sheriff’s Office issued a missing person report on Michael Alexander Radford, 42, of Hiawassee, Georgia.

Radford’s a white male,6’1”, 285 pounds, with blue eyes. The last know sighting of Radford was on July 17 in the area of Old Forge Estates in Hiawassee.

Anyone who has seen or knows the whereabouts of Michael Radford needs to contact the Towns County Sheriff’s Office at 706-896-4444 or 911.

 

Towns Detention Center inmate tests positive, officers under quarantine

Health, News, Police & Government
Towns County Detention Center Inmate

TOWNS COUNTY, Ga – COVID-19 has flared up in Towns County Detention Center with one inmate testing positive on April 21 and four officers quarantining themselves.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office listed a timeline of events on their Facebook page on April 24 detailing procedures since the initial government shutdown.

On April 19, an inmate was transported to Union General Hospital for treatment, and on April 21, the sheriff’s office received confirmation that the inmate had tested positive for COVID-19.

“All Sheriff’s Office personnel who were tasked with providing security on him at the hospital were provided with PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to use during their assigned shifts and reminded to practice the recommended 6-foot buffer zone,” stated Towns Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Clinton

Towns County Sheriff’s Office released details concerning positive COVID-19 inmate.

Law enforcement also consulted with the health department to follow COVID-19 protocols, which as of April 11 state that any essential worker potentially exposed to the virus can continue to work if not exhibiting symptoms, wear a facemask, and maintain six feet of distance from all coworkers.

Officers exposed to the confirmed inmate case are considered low risk by the health department if they followed CDC and Georgia Public Health Department guidelines. However, officers displaying COVID-19 symptoms move into the high-risk category.

On April 23, the detention center was sanitized by a company approved by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, while sheriff’s administrative office received cleaning on April 24 from County Emergency Management.

According to the sheriff’s office, the jail inmate area is cleaned three times daily since March 16. Also, all incoming inmates and detention center staff are screened for COVID-19.

Also, two detention center officers received COVID-19 testing on April 23 after experiencing mild symptoms. They are awaiting results while quarantining at home.

On April 24, two more officers were presenting symptoms and are in quarantine. One individual has taken the test, and the other is awaiting approval to take it.

According to the sheriff’s office, health department personnel explained that only law enforcement individuals with COVID-19 symptoms will receive a test.

The statement ended with, “The Sheriff’s Office has and will continue to take all recommended precautions and guidelines from the health department, GEMA, and CDC to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to the community, inmates, and staff.”

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available.

Couch’s history surfaces as sheriff’s election heats up

Election, News
Jim Couch - Towns County sheriff electionnews

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As qualification for the Towns County sheriff’s election approaches, FYN received information on the law enforcement career of Jim Couch, a contender for Office of Sheriff, from separate opponents.

A received document contained a press release from Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Commander Capt. Keith Canup concerning an alleged mishandling of the 2015 Southern Worthersee (SoWo) car rally by former Helen Police Chief Couch. Canup stated that there was “no traffic plan in place, there was no plan to deal with the large crowds, nor was there a contingency plan to deal with civil disorder” despite the city previously hosting the popular event.

According to media coverage, over 2,800 people were “out of control,” breaking vehicle windows and attempting to overturn a rollback tow truck, while hurling rocks and bottles at officers, and committing acts of vandalism. Approximately 28,000 participants were reported as present at the rally.

“Chief Couch was told upfront that the role of GSP would be to make sure the mayhem did not spill out into the surrounding county and the Troopers would not actively patrol the town, or police his streets,” Capt. Canup said, in part, in the press release. “Our goal was to prevent the mountainous roads outside Helen from becoming race tracks, to prevent reckless conduct in general, and to apprehend drunk drivers. I felt that a lawless environment was created and allowed to exist for the sake of tourism. Had the SOWO crowd descended upon Helen uninvited GSP would have gladly taken the lead on maintaining order, but that was simply not the case…

“Had the Georgia State Patrol entered the town we could not have stood idly by and condoned the illegal and reckless activities that were being encouraged without taking enforcement action. We certainly would not have signed off on closing a state highway without the existence of an emergency circumstance warranting such action. I understand the state route was closed by Chief Couch for the purpose of allowing the SOWO cars to do burnouts. State Troopers aren’t wired to allow the law to be broken a little bit. You can’t have the presence of Troopers absence the presence of enforcement. They are one in the same.”

Click to read the full statement from Georgia State Patrol

FYN provided Couch, who hired a Gainesville public relations firm to manage his 2020 sheriff’s campaign, an opportunity to respond to the state law enforcement agency’s assessment of the situation.

“As a law enforcement professional for more than 40 years, my first and foremost priority has always been the safety of the residents of the communities I serve as well as the officers who work with me, whom I have dedicated my life to protecting,” Couch’s statement reads in full. “As anyone in this profession may understand, there are moments when one must calmly and rationally assess a situation and do what is best for the safety of all involved parties in order to keep the peace.

Jim Couch - Towns County sheriff electionnews

Jim Couch (center) with retiring Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton (left) and retiring White County Sheriff Neal Walden at Couch’s Jan. 25 campaign meet-&-greet.

“During my time as the Chief of Police in Helen, there was an occurrence that required me to put my experience in law enforcement to use. Following the 2015 Southern Worthersee event, which is a large annual gathering of car enthusiasts, some number of those gathered became unruly as the night progressed, eventually forcing one road to be closed due to their presence. I assessed the surroundings and the individuals involved and took what I believed to be the best and safest avenue for all involved by making my request for them to disperse and allowing those gathered a short time to comply with this request. As a peace officer, I believed then and still believe that it was my duty to obtain order and minimize any possibility of damage or violence toward businesses, residences or individuals in Helen.

“I believe it takes a calm and level head to maintain peace during a situation of rising tension, and I do not doubt that I did what was right in that situation at the time. I regret any miscommunication that resulted in unwarranted criticism of GSP’s role or the actions of its Troopers. I appreciate all the law enforcement officers and agencies that worked together that night to ensure this situation was handled in a way that best protected our community, its residents and those gathered. It has been and continues to be my privilege to be in a career of service, and I look forward to serving Towns County today and in the days and years to come.”

Participants described the SoWo event – which was prohibited from returning to Helen by city leaders – as chaotic and riotous. “It was a madhouse when we were there during the day,” an attendee wrote on social media shortly after the event. “I am glad we weren’t there at night.”

Couch, who currently serves as a captain with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, resigned from his position as Helen’s police chief two months after the rally took place.

 

Osborn releases platform as Towns County sheriff’s race begins

News, Politics
Towns County Sheriff Election

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Daren “Bear” Osborn, a challenger in the Towns County sheriff’s race, took to social media Oct. 16, sharing his logic for seeking office in the 2020 election. Osborn listed multiple goals and objectives, including advanced training within the law enforcement agency, the importance of cooperation between the sheriff’s office and local emergency departments, school safety improvements, and developing a community-oriented anti-drug coalition for people suffering from substance abuse.

“Towns County deserves a working sheriff, one who will actively serve the community in uniform, and I hope to fulfill that position,” Osborn told FYN. The Republican candidate added that he intends to be a “visible” sheriff, and plans to continue his involvement in the community if elected.

While Osborn did not mention incumbent Sheriff Chris Clinton, the sheriff’s candidate expressed platform-related concerns in the past. Osborn gained publicity earlier this year in connection to a highly-controversial fatal accident that many, including Osborn, believe could have been prevented by the Towns County Sheriff’s Office through proper training.

Daren Bear Osborn

Daren “Bear” Osborn

FYN later reported that Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies declined participation in two training seminars held within the county: ARIDE training – an acronym for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement – which was offered in Hiawassee, and school security training held in Young Harris. Sheriff Clinton was extended an invitation to speak at the security event, hosted by Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, yet he did not make an appearance at the state course. Osborn previously labeled the “missed opportunities” as such.

Furthermore, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton drew negative publicity in 2018, following what many in the community considered a botched Towns County Schools active shooter drill. Dozens of first responders from Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Fire and Rescue, Towns County Emergency Medical Services, and Towns County Emergency Management Agency expressed disapproval – based on exclusion from participation in the campus drill – describing Clinton’s approach as a habitual, “lone ranger” tactic. “This is not the way training should be done,” Osborn remarked last year on social media. “You have to work together as a team or the mission will not be accomplished.” Towns County first responders, including department heads, continue to note a general lack of communication and poor cooperation from Sheriff Clinton with local emergency agencies, an issue that Osborn promised to remedy if elected.

Osborn listed the following goals and objectives as his campaign platform:

– Be a full-time “Working Sheriff” in a Class A uniform.
– Drive a marked patrol vehicle to be highly visible to the public.
– Develop a community oriented anti-drug coalition for people suffering from substance abuse. Good people can get addicted. We want to save these people.
– Establish a strong relationship with our Homeowner Associations, encouraging neighborhood watch programs. Provide security check lists for homeowners and security checks.
– Re-establish strong working relationships with all surrounding law enforcement agencies, as well as the fire department, EMS, and 911 center.
– Establish regularly scheduled training with outside law enforcement agencies and public safety, such as SWAT training, active shooter, and felony warrant service.
– Provide additional training for all deputies for job specific assignments, patrol investigations, courthouse, and school resource officers.
– Implement a minimum annual training level which exceeds the current Georgia mandated training of 20 hours per year.
– Deputies will receive training from POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) certified instructors, NOT online webinars!
– Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for all deputies – to help those suffering from mental health issues which law enforcement commonly encounters.
– Host regional law enforcement training for all agencies.
– Work with school officials to ensure the safety of our children and staff, as well as visitors to our schools.
– Work with commissioner to establish and fund an animal control deputy.

A second challenger, Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, entered the Towns County sheriff’s race Oct. 15.

Article archives can be found by clicking the highlighted links above.

 

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