At 5:25 a.m. Saturday, Hickory Firefighters responded to a structure fire located at 834 6th Avenue Drive N.W. Firefighters responded to the scene with two engines, one ladder, one rescue unit and two command units. On arrival, they reported a working fire in a single-family residence.
Firefighters worked to ensure that all residents had evacuated and to extinguish the fire, which was controlled at 5:46 a.m. Catawba County E.M.S. and Hickory Rescue also responded to the scene for stand-by.
No injuries were reported. Fire damages were contained to the attic and an outside wall of the structure. The Catawba Valley Red Cross responded and is assisting the family.
Fire Investigators say the fire was accidental and was caused by an electrical problem.
Three people who were found dead inside a Morganton home early Sunday morning (August 10) have been identified.
21-year-old Freddie Thompson, his mother, 54-year-old Barbara Johnson and 75-year-old Zakiyah Bey were all found dead. Bey was a New York native who lived in Charlotte and was a long-time friend of Thompson’s. She was the only victim who did not live at the residence.
According to published reports, Officers performed a welfare check at the residence on West Concord Street at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they discovered the bodies of three people inside.
At last report, Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Investigators with the Morganton Dept. of Public Safety had not determined what happened.
The Morganton Department of Public Safety has not officially said the victims were murdered, but authorities are treating the case as a homicide investigation.
Just before noon this morning (August 8), the N.C. Center for Missing Persons issued a Silver Alert for 68-year-old Johnny Cecil “J.C.” Brooks, Sr., who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.
He was last seen at 3659 Gastonia Highway in Lincolnton. Mr. Brooks is a white male, 5' 11” tall, weighing 170 pounds. He has short brown hair and brown eyes. Mr. Brooks may be driving a gold 1999 Buick Century with North Carolina license tag number ZTX6869.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Johnny Cecil “J.C.” Brooks, Sr. should contact the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office at 704-735-8202.
29-year-old Valan Mae Thornsbury of Old North Road in Lenoir was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (August 7) on felony counts of first-degree burglary, larceny after breaking & entering, common law robbery and possession of stolen goods or property, as well as one misdemeanor count of injury to personal property. Thornsbury was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $100,000, secured. She will appear in District Court on August 28 in Lenoir.
41-year-old Israel Adam Williams and 37-year-old Stephanie Houston Salisbury, both of East “K” Street in Newton, have been arrested and charged in connection to a bank robbery yesterday in Valdese. They were each charged with common law robbery and possession of stolen goods.
Events unfolded at 2:52 p.m. when Valdese Police were alerted to a bank robbery in progress at the BB&T bank on Main Street in Valdese. Upon arrival, Officers were told that a white male suspect came into the bank and demanded money from tellers. The suspect did not show a weapon or imply that he had a weapon. The tellers gave the suspect money from their registers and he exited the bank.
A witness said the suspect got into a U-Haul box van driven by a white female. The witness said the van traveled north on Carolina Street towards Interstate 40. Officers issued a “be on the lookout” call for the vehicle, which was spotted at a McDonald’s restaurant at Exit 116 off of I-40. Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officers took Stephanie Salisbury into custody in the McDonald’s parking lot as Israel Williams drove away.
Burke County Officers and Valdese Police began chasing the U-Haul into Catawba County where the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office joined the chase. The chase lasted for several minutes as the vehicle drove around the Hickory city limits before heading down a dead end street where the suspect jumped from the vehicle and ran. Israel Williams was quickly taken into custody.
Both subjects were placed in the Burke County Detention Facility with bond for Williams set at $100,000, secured, while Salisbury was given a $50,000 secured bond. They will both appear in District Court Monday (August 11) in Morganton.
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia, S.C. will hold its Grand Opening on August 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by a tour of the center and a catered reception. The public is invited to attend.
The center shares a space with the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, which was founded 184 years ago and merged with LRU in 2012. It will be housed in the garden level of Beam Hall, where the Grand Opening celebration will take place.
With the opening of the center, two of the Columbia region’s premier masters programs will be launched, including Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Human Services. Heading those programs will be Dr. Matthew Bonner and Dr. LouAnn Woolman, respectively.
This year’s Carolina Cycle Challenge (CCC) will take place on October 5 at 9 a.m. at the Hickory YMCA. Ten, 31 and 55 mile routes are available, plus a Tot Zone for younger children. Riders of all ages and skill levels can participate.
The CCC is the area’s premiere bike ride, created to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer. The race originated as “Brett’s Ride” in honor of Brett Gosnell, a Hickory High School student who was diagnosed with pediatric cancer in 2003 before ultimately succumbing to the disease in 2006. The event has grown over time through the efforts of former G.E. Plant Manager Jim Powers and Brett Gosnell’s parents, Mark and Mary Ann Gosnell, as well as other local business and professional leaders and members of the community.
The CCC is powered by over 350 Rotarians from The Rotary Club of Catawba Valley, The Rotary Club of Lake Hickory and The Rotary Club of Newton-Conover. Other organizations involved are the Hickory Velo Club, the YMCA and the City of Hickory.
Last year, in its inaugural race, the CCC donated $50,000, which was matched by the Leon Levine Foundation, to total a $100,000 donation to the Levine Children’s Hospital.
Each year the race features a #1 Rider, an individual from the community who has been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. This year’s #1 Rider will be 12-year-old Chole Scott, a rising 7th grader at the Hickory Christian Academy.
Opportunities are available to volunteer in planning the event and on race day. Last year over 350 volunteers assisted. Company and corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available at various levels. Individuals are also encouraged to pledge their financial support.
For race registration and other information, visit www.carolinacyclechallenge.org
28-year-old Jonathan Christopher Wise of Woody Grove Road in Indian Trail has been arrested on a long list of charges including trafficking in opiates by possession, transport, sale & delivery; conspiracy to traffic in opiates; possession with intent to sell or deliver methadone; maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance; assault on a government official with a deadly weapon; felony fleeing to elude arrest; resisting, delaying or obstructing a public official; careless & reckless driving; speeding; driving while license revoked and injury to real property.
At about 9:40 yesterday morning (August 7), Deputies with the Union County Sheriff’s Office apprehended and arrested Jonathan Wise on several felony warrants that had been taken out by the Lincolnton Police Department. Wise had been entered nationwide as a wanted person through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
The warrants were the result of an undercover narcotics investigation conducted by the Lincolnton Police in January of last year. Wise allegedly sold 50 dosage units of methadone to an undercover Officer on the 100 block of Roper Drive in Lincolnton. The drugs weighed 11 grams, which is considered to be a trafficking amount. The narcotics seized have an estimated street value of $500.
When the controlled drug buy was complete, Officers attempted to arrest Wise, but he fled the scene at a high rate of speed after Officers initiated a traffic stop. As he fled, Wise intentionally drove toward one of the Officers. He exited the vehicle at a dead end and fled on foot. Officers searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and a Gaston County K-9 Unit all assisted Lincolnton Police with the search. Over the past several months, Police received several tips regarding Wise’s whereabouts, but none led to an arrest until yesterday.
After his arrest, Wise was placed in the Union County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. He will be transferred to the Lincoln County Detention Center and will have his first appearance in District Court upon his arrival back in Lincoln County.
47-year-old Lewis Jones Arney II was arrested Monday (August 5) by Officers with the Morganton Dept. of Public Safety on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and felonious larceny.
Events leading to his arrest unfolded Monday as Officers responded to a robbery call in which the victim said he was robbed and his van was stolen. The victim told Police the suspect’s name was Lewis. Officers identified the suspect as Lewis Jones Arney, who was also wanted in connection to an earlier breaking & entering and felonious larceny of a vehicle on the same date.
A few hours later, Arney reportedly stole another vehicle. M.D.P.S. Officers began a search for the stolen Toyota Camry, which they found on North Green Street at just before 7:30 p.m.
Later that night, Arney allegedly stole another vehicle from a Domino’s Pizza driver. He was apprehended after a short vehicle chase that ended when Arney crashed the stolen vehicle.
Arney has been jailed in the Burke Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $185,000 secured bond. His next appearance in District Court was set for August 26 in Morganton.
Additional charges are pending.
41-year-old Israel Adam Williams has been arrested in connection to a bank robbery yesterday (August 7) in Valdese.
At approximately 2:52 p.m., a white male entered the BB&T bank on Main Street in Valdese and robbed the tellers of an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect walked out of the bank and left the area in a U-Haul box van. The U-Haul was quickly located on I-40 and a pursuit began. The driver exited I-40 onto Highway 70 and back onto I-40 several times, reaching speeds of up to 80 MPH.
The pursuit continued through Burke County and into Catawba County until the driver, Israel Williams, exited I-40 East onto Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard into the City of Hickory. Williams drove into the city and down a dead end street where he exited the vehicle and ran. He was apprehended and taken back to Burke County for questioning.
The Valdese Police Department was assisted by the Burke Co. Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office.