A team of telecommunicators from the Catawba County Communications Center who worked cooperatively on an August 14, 2013 call has been recognized for its work that morning. The team has been recognized with the Communications Team of the Year Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). They were presented with the honor by North Carolina NENA President Jonathan Bledsoe at the October 20 meeting of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
During the call, a woman’s voice was heard saying, “someone’s in my house.” Most of the rest of the call was filled with shouted threats in a man’s voice and the woman’s screams.
The team, which includes Shift Supervisor Tammy Saunders and Radio Telecommunicators Cynthia Short, Greg Holland and Matthew Sparks, tried everything they could to find the woman. They were eventually able to obtain the suspect’s cell phone number. Although the incident ended with the woman’s death in Gaston County when she was hit by other vehicles after escaping from her kidnapper on Highway 321, the work of the team led to the surrender of the suspect, who was later convicted.
According to Jerry Boggs, Catawba County’s Telecommunications Administrator, the 9-1-1 Center received a call from the victim’s stepfather, who said the suspect had called him, stating that he had the man’s daughter and had stabbed her. A Communications Center team member was able to get the suspect’s name and cell number. Team members called the suspect and tried to get him to tell them where the female was and her condition. A member of the team continued to talk to the suspect, trying to get him to turn himself in, while others searched for the description of the suspect vehicle.
They ultimately persuaded the suspect to come back to Catawba County and surrender. The Communications Team’s actions led to the surrender of the suspect, Aaron Compton, Jr. Compton was convicted in April 2014 for the kidnapping and murder of Tabatha Spake Heavner and sentenced to life in prison.
18-year-old Brittany Nicole Pearson of Lick Mountain Drive in Hudson was arrested Sunday (October 20) by Lenoir Police on two counts of failure to appear and one count each of misdemeanor breaking & entering, possession of stolen property, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, first-degree trespass and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.
Following her arrest, Pearson was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $8,000, secured. District Court dates in Lenoir were scheduled for October 30 and November 10. She has additional court dates on November 6, December 18 and January 15 for shoplifting, possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny by changing price tag, larceny and possession of stolen goods.
39-year-old April Dawn Hembree of Wilson Road in Hickory was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (October 20) on charges of felony identity theft and misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to half an ounce. Hembree was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $6,000, secured. She will appear in Superior Court on November 3 in Lenoir.
At about 2:40 yesterday afternoon (October 20), Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Deputies were called to Upton Road in the county’s Globe area. Deputies were asked to assist a social worker with a mental patient after the patient turned violent and barricaded himself in a bedroom.
Negotiations were started with the patient; however, no progress was made in calming the situation or in persuading the subject come out of the room. Additional Officers arrived on the scene to help contain the situation. A SWAT team was activated and a plan developed to make entry into the room.
The SWAT team was able to enter the room and take the patient into custody. The patient has been transported to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
There were no injuries to the patient or to any of the Officers.
The patient’s identity has not been released.
Two suspects are being sought by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office in connection to a robbery that occurred over the weekend.
According to the Sheriff's Office, two armed men wearing black toboggans entered the Shop ‘n Save store at 1999 N.C. 18/U.S. 64 just before 2 a.m. Saturday (October 18) and robbed two store clerks.
Surveillance video reportedly shows one gunman leaping over the counter, grabbing one of the clerks and holding a pistol to his head. The second gunman pushed another clerk into some display cases before forcing him to the register area.
While the clerks were struggling with the gunmen, one of the suspects fired a shot. The video reportedly shows one clerk raising his hands immediately after the shot was fired.
The suspects then took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot, heading south toward the recently re-opened Chesterfield Family Restaurant.
The suspects were described as black males, both wearing masks and gloves.
No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
36-year-old Joni Lynn Church of Pioneer Trail in Hudson was arrested yesterday (October 19) by the N.C. State Highway Patrol in Caldwell County for possession of methamphetamine, D.W.I. and driving while license revoked. Following her arrest, Church was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $25,000 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.
32-year-old Edward Curtis Byrd III of Grandfather Court in Lenoir was arrested by the N.C. State Highway Patrol in Caldwell County Saturday (October 18) for felony possession of cocaine and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance. He was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $30,000, secured. Byrd was scheduled to appear in District Court today (October 20) in Lenoir.
29-year-old Joshua Keith Gajus of Henry River Road in Hickory was served a felony indictment by Hickory Police at about 5:15 Friday afternoon (October 17) on one felony count of larceny by servant or other employee.
The indictment comes in connection to a May 2013 case in which Gajus, who worked for the Verizon store on North Center Street in Hickory, was accused of checking out phones on a personal account and then selling them.
Gajus was taken before a Magistrate and then released under a $5,000 unsecured bond. He will appear in Superior Court on October 31 in Newton.
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39-year-old Tony Lee Watson of 31st Street Court S.E. in Hickory was arrested at about seven o’clock Saturday evening (October 18) on one felony count of possession of methamphetamine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested after Hickory Police were called to assist Probation & Parole Officers at Watson’s residence. Officers found 0.4 grams of meth and a syringe in a dresser, plus an additional 0.8 grams of meth.
Watson was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $8,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (October 20) in Newton.
The Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center will hold a vigil tomorrow (October 21) at noon to remember the 23 children listed by the N.C. Child Fatality & Prevention Team as homicide victims by a parent or caregiver. The vigil will be held at the Sails on the Square in downtown Hickory.
The vigil is held annually in October in remembrance of the children who died as a result of abuse and neglect. A bell will ring as each child’s name, age and cause of death is read aloud. Simultaneous with the ringing of the bell, a T-Shirt bearing the child’s name and age will be displayed. The artwork on each of the 23 shirts has been created by students in the Art Club at Hickory High School. When the vigil is over, the T-shirts will be displayed at the Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center in Conover through the month of October.
The event will last approximately 45 minutes. For more information, contact the CAPC at 828-465-9296.