The victims in a triple homicide in Alexander County have been identified. Preliminary autopsies were performed at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem today (June 18). The two victims' bodies were found at scene of a fire on Pine Meadows Lane. They are 11-year-old Angel E. Pacheco and 12-year-old America D. Pacheco. The cause of death is pending. 38-year-old Maria Calderon, the mother of the victims, is still reported as missing and is presumed deceased.
At about 8 a.m. today (June 18), the recovery search for Ms. Calderon’s body resumed at River Bend Park in Catawba County. Searches on water, land, and air were conducted without success. The search was scaled back at approximately 3 p.m. A number of agencies from Alexander, Catawba, and Mecklenburg counties, as well as several state agencies, participated in the search. Investigators continue to follow-up on leads at different locations.
30-year-old Areli Aguirre Avilez of Taylorsville and 16-year-old Heidi Darlene Wolfe of Wilkesboro have both been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder. The murders stem from a mobile home fire that occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday (June 15).
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Maria Calderon should call the Alexander Co. Sheriff's Office at 828-632-2911 or Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555. Authorities are also seeking information on the whereabouts of Jose Carlos Mendez and Luis Fernando Sanchez, who are acquaintances of the missing person. Mr. Mendez and Mr. Sanchez are not considered suspects at this time.
A vehicle crashed into a Hickory restaurant this afternoon. According to the Hickory Police Department, injuries were believed to be minor when a car collided with a side wall at Panera Bread on Highway 127. The car sustained extensive damage and was towed. The accident occurred at approximately 12 noon. No other details were available.
31-year-old Cody Ryan Oaks of Clay Hodges Road in Boone and 32-year-old Christy Jade Boone of Joe Shoemaker Road in Vilas were arrested by Watauga County Sheriff’s Officers on Thursday (June 13). Both suspects have been charged with one count of felony trafficking methamphetamine by possession, one count of felony trafficking meth by transportation, and one count of felony maintaining a vehicle to keep a controlled substance.
The two are alleged to be a source of methamphetamine for western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. On Thursday, a team of local law enforcement officers in Watauga County conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle suspected of trafficking a large amount of methamphetamine. During this stop, a narcotics K-9 unit was used to find over 3.5 pounds of crystal meth, which has an estimated street value of over $72,000. A small amount of ecstasy was also found in the vehicle.
Oaks and Boone were placed in the Watauga County Jail with bond for each set at $250,000 secured bond. They are scheduled for first appearances in Watauga District court on July 22.
46-year-old Yuronna Jamell Bonds of 8th Avenue Drive S.W. and 61-year-old Garry Donell Vinson of 1st Avenue N.E., both from Hickory, were arrested by Hickory Police shortly after noon yesterday (June 17). They were each charged with one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
They were arrested after Hickory Police took a report regarding a vehicle that was stolen from a convenience store on U.S. Highway 70 S.W. The vehicle was found at a fast-food restaurant on the same highway, less than a mile-and-a-half away.
Both suspects were taken into custody at the restaurant. They were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Bonds set at $12,000, secured, while Vinson was given a $6,000 secured bond. First appearances in District Court were scheduled today in Newton.
An arrest has been made in connection to a fire earlier this year at a Motel in Watauga County. 23-year-old Ronnie Paul Bumgarner has been charged with felony first-degree arson.
On Thursday, February 7, at 3:10 a.m., the Boone Police Department and Boone Fire Department responded to the Super 8 Motel on Hwy 105 in Boone. Officers and fire officials quickly determined that the fire was set intentionally. An unknown suspect had attempted to set fires in three different locations, causing serious damage in one area on the hotel.
There were many occupants sleeping in the hotel that night. An investigative team was assembled from the Boone Fire Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department and the team began investigating the incident. A suspect was developed from the interviews of the hotel occupants. The suspect was identified as Ronnie Bumgarner. He was on-scene at the time of this fire. An investigator interviewed him at that time. Bumgarner denied setting the fire.
After receiving results from DNA testing, an arrest warrant was issued for Bumgarner. Last Friday (June 14) the suspect was located in the Forsyth County Jail, where he was served with the warrant. Bond on the arson charge is set at $250,000 secured. Bumgarner is scheduled to appear in Watauga County District Court on July 26.
The Division of Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice has named Teresa Jardon, 49, as the new warden of the Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton. Jardon had previously been the operations manager for the Division of Prisons’ western region. In her new position, Jardon is responsible for all operations at Foothills CI, which houses adult male offenders in close and minimum custody.
Jardon holds an associate degree in criminal justice from Spartanburg Methodist College and a Bachelor of Science degree from Gardner-Webb University. She is also a member of numerous Criminal Justice associations and serves as a board member for the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education & Training Standards Commission.
40-year-old Brandy Jo Lovett and 43-year-old Ricky Lee Robbins, both of the same address on Chester Road in Lenoir, were arrested yesterday (June 17) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. They were each charged with one count of felony possession of methamphetamine. Additionally, Lovett was charged with one count of misdemeanor failure to appear on nonsupport and Robbins was charged with one count of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and one count of misdemeanor possession of a schedule five controlled substance.
They were both placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center. Lovett was given a $5,000 secured bond and $700 cash bond, while Robbins was held under a $7,500 secured bond. They are scheduled to appear in District Court today in Lenoir.
The filing period for candidates seeking a town or city municipal office seat in the November 5, 2019 elections in all eight of Catawba County’s municipalities begins, by law, at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 5, 2019. Filing will end at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 19, 2019.
Seats on the various municipal councils that will be open are as follows. In the City of Hickory, four-year terms are available in Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3 on the Board of Aldermen. In the City of Newton the position of Mayor is up for election for a four-year term, and there are three seats available on City Council, also four-year terms.
There are two seats available for a four-year term on the Town of Brookford Board of Aldermen. In the Town of Catawba, candidates can file to run for Mayor for a four-year term and for Town Council where there are two seats available for a four-year term. There are three seats available for a four-year term on the Claremont City Council. City of
There are three seats available on Conover City Council for a four-year term. In the Town of Long View, four-year terms will be opening up in Ward 1, Ward 3, and Ward 4.
In the Town of Maiden, there is a two year term opening up for Mayor. There are also spots available on Maiden Town Council, three seats with the top two candidates receiving the highest number of votes serving four-year terms and the candidate receiving the third highest number of votes serving a 2-year term
The filing fee is $12.00 for City of Hickory seats and $5.00 for all other municipal seats. Interested candidates should file in Newton at the Catawba County Board of Elections Office in the Government Center at 25 Government Dr. Staff will be available 8am-5pm Monday through Friday to assist with the candidate filing form and the required campaign committee forms. Candidates must be 21 years old and be a registered voter in the municipality (and ward) for which they are filing.
For more information on filing for the municipal elections, call the Catawba County Board of Elections office at 828-464-2424 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/elections/.
19-year-old Kirsten Mercedes Whisnant was arrested Monday (June 17) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Whisnant was arrested at 2:30 p.m. Monday. She was not listed as an inmate in Burke County. A District Court date is set for next Monday (June 24).
All three suspects in the Morganton convenience store robbery last week have been arrested and charged. According to a news release issued yesterday, the third suspect, 18-year-old Stephen Jamal Craig of Elizabeth Avenue in Shelby, was charged over the weekend.
Just before 5 a.m. last Thursday (June 13), Public Safety Officers responded to Speedway on South Sterling Street reference an armed robbery in progress. After arriving on the scene, officers came into contact with three black males dressed in dark clothing with handguns. The three suspects fled on foot.
Last Thursday 20-year-old Tashun Montae Allison of Kings Mountain was arrested by Morganton Public Safety Officers and charged with felony counts of first degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon, he was the first suspect apprehended. He was not listed as an inmate in Burke County and no upcoming court dates were listed.
Friday, a Burke County Deputy responded to a call for service at an address on Mineral Springs Mountain Avenue regarding a possible break-in. The deputy entered the house and found 20-year-old Darik Montre Williams of Shelby, who was arrested without incident for felonious breaking & entering with larceny.
Williams was turned over to the Morganton Department of Public Safety in connection to their robbery investigation. He's also charged with felony counts of first degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon and remained in jail in Morganton under $500,000 secured bond. A District Court date is July 8.
Stephen Jamal Craig turned himself in to the Cleveland County Magistrate's office on Saturday (June 15). He was also charged with the felony kidnapping and robbery counts. Craig was released on $25,000 bond, he's scheduled to appear in Burke County District Court June 24.
A bridge on Southfork Road over the South Fork of the Catawba River will be replaced under a $8.5 million contract awarded in 2017 to replace seven bridges in Lincoln and Cleveland counties. Contractor R.E. Burns and Sons Co. of Statesville will close Southfork Road at 8 a.m. Monday, June 24. Under the contract, the new bridge is scheduled to open by July 2020.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, drivers can follow a posted detour from Southfork Road to Laboratory Road to Southside Church Road, returning to Southfork Road. These other bridges are also being replaced under the contract:
In Lincoln County, Laboratory Road over Indian Creek, Reepsville Road over Tanyard Creek, Howards Creek Mill/Westwind over Howard’s Creek, Alf Hoover Road over Howards Creek.
In Cleveland County Oak Grove Road over Muddy Fork Creek, and Bethlehem Road over Beason Creek. All of the new bridges are scheduled to be completed by July 27, 2020.
30-year-old Areli Aguirre Avilez of Taylorsville and 16-year-old Heidi Darlene Wolfe of Wilkesboro have both been arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
The two are charged in connection to a mobile home fire that occurred at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday (June 15) on Pine Meadows Lane. After the fire was extinguished, Firefighters discovered two bodies inside the mobile home. The bodies were in different rooms. The victims were burned beyond recognition. An autopsy was scheduled today (June 17) to confirm the identities of the victims.
The fire is believed to be the result of arson. S.B.I. Agents, the S.B.I. Arson K-9, Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Detectives, an Alexander County K-9 unit, and the Alexander County Fire Marshals Office are all involved in the investigation.
There is an ongoing body recovery investigation at River Bend Park on the Catawba River on Highway 16. The Catawba Co. Sheriff's Office was notified today (June 17) by the Alexander County Sheriff that a body connected to the homicide investigation might be in the river. Sherrill's Ford and Terrell Fire & Rescue, Alexander Co. Rescue, emergency managment personnel from both counties, the Catawba Co. Lake Patrol, Claremont Rescue, and Riverbend Park staff are all involved in the recovery effort.
Wolfe and Avilez are being held without bond. First appearances in District Court were set for Monday, June 24.
37-year-old Edwin Lawrence Lawing, Jr. of Lower Cedar Valley Road in Hudson was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after midnight on Friday (June 14) on a felony warrant for larceny and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He was taken to the Catawba County Detention Facility and placed under a $2,500 secured bond. Lawing was scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Lenoir on July 22.
33-year-old Kristie Dawn Yoder of Bailey Road in Icard was arrested by Hickory Police on Friday night (June 14) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. She was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. Yoder was set to appear in District Court in Newton on June 29.