Authorities in Burke County are asking for the public’s help in finding a runaway juvenile, Haylee Lasha Jones.  Ms. Jones ran away from her residence in the early morning hours of December 26.  She was last seen in the Causby Road area in Burke County.  All evidence suggests that she ran away voluntarily.

Ms. Jones is 17 years old.  She is described as 5’3” tall, weighing 198 pounds with brown eyes and short black hair.  She was last seen wearing a long-sleeved hoodie and jeans.  She was carrying a backpack.  

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Haylee Lasha Jones should call the Burke Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500 or Morganton/Burke Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.  All Crime Stoppers tips are anonymous.  Information leading to Ms. Jones’ location may result in a cash reward.

Crews with the Caldwell County Water Department are working to fix a major water line break at 2468 Collettsville Road.  Customers on Collettsville Road, Abington Road and on all side roads will be without water until the break is fixed.  Repairs are expected to take most of the day (December 29) and possibly into the night.

The break was reported early this morning.  A major, 12-inch water line and it is believed to have burst due to cold temperatures.  Crews are on site now.  They are using heavy equipment to dig out the line, which is embedded in rock.

Drivers in the area should exercise caution due to large equipment and water that ran across the road this morning.

Thursday, 28 December 2017 14:13

Statesville Man Faces New Sex Offense Charges

39-year-old Donald Ray Fitzgerald of Deerchase Circle in Statesville has been charged by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers with two felony counts of indecent liberties with a child.

In August of this year, the Sheriff’s Office took a report regarding an individual who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a family member, Donald Ray Fitzgerald.  The sexual assaults occurred in northeast Iredell County between March 1997 and March 1999 when the victim was under the age of 16.  The Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit conducted an investigation, leading to the charges against Fitzgerald.

When the charges were filed, Fitzgerald was in custody at the Iredell Co. Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond for pending charges of felony first-degree statutory rape, felony first-degree statutory sexual offense, felony rape or sexual act with a 13, 14 or 15 year old, felony statutory rape of a child, felony statutory sexual offense with a child, felony second-degree forcible rape and felony second-degree forcible sexual offense.  During the initial investigation, information about the second victim came to light.  

Fitzgerald was given an additional $50,000 secured bond on the new charges, bringing his total bond to $550,000.  He’ll appear in District Court on January 8 on the new charges with a Superior Court date on the other charges set for February 12.

Fitzgerald has a criminal history including possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct, communicating threats and trespassing.

Hickory Police have released more information in the arrest of 36-year-old Romel Barta McDonald of 3rd Avenue Place S.E. in Hickory.  He was arrested shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve (December 24) on charges of felony breaking & entering and misdemeanor injury to personal property.  The arrest was first reported December 26 on WHKY.

On December 24, Hickory Police responded to an alarm at the Dollar General store on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E.  Officers arrived to find glass in the front door broken out and they located the suspect inside the store.

McDonald was taken into custody without incident.  He was not fingerprinted as the result of open cuts on his hand.  The suspect remains in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond.  He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (December 28) in Newton.

23-year-old Michelle Simpson Greer of Pensacola, Florida was arrested by Hickory Police at about 1:20 yesterday afternoon (December 27) on one felony count each of larceny and larceny of a firearm. In addition, Greer faces misdemeanor counts of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, no operator’s license, failure to report an accident, improper use of license plates on a vehicle and hit & run property damage. The felony warrants were issued in Caldwell County in November of 2015. The misdemeanor warrants come from Forsyth County and were dated December 16, 2017.

She was also arrested on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. Greer was wanted by the Escambia Co. Sheriff’s Department in Pensacola.

She was taken into custody without incident at Catawba Valley Medical Center on Fairgrove Church Road. Greer was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $40,000, secured. Court appearances were scheduled for January 2 on the fugitive warrant; February 5 on the Caldwell County charges; and February 19 on the charges from Forsyth County.

A “Boil Water Advisory” has been issued for the Town of Boone following a water-main break.  A 12-inch water main broke as the result of an accident on Highway 105 that happened at 12 a.m. today (December 27).

AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department) is working with restaurants, childcare facilities and other healthcare facilities to provide guidance regarding the “Boil Water Advisory”, which was issued as a precautionary measure by the Town of Boone today.

Periods of low or no pressure in the water distribution system increase the potential for introduction of bacteria into the water system; therefore, the Division of Water Resources advises consumers to boil water used for human consumption for one minute (including water used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation) or use bottled water until further notice.

Officials in Boone are encouraging restaurants, childcare facilities, healthcare facilities and other institutions to use specific guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the N.C. Environmental Health Emergency Preparedness & Recovery Guidance Manual for North Carolina, which provides information on hand washing, food preparation, dish washing, consumption of water, overall bacterial control and how to alert healthcare patients about the notice.

Public health staff will continue to work with The Town of Boone Public Works Department, who will determine when it is appropriate to lift the “Boil Water Advisory”.  Officials expect to learn more in the next 24 hours.

A fact sheet is available at  For additional information, call 828-264-4995.

25-year-old Christina Jean Harris of Horseshoe Lake Road in Lincolnton was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 5:30 p.m. yesterday (December 21) on one felony count each of obtaining property by false pretense and financial card theft.  The warrant for her arrest was issued on June 5 of this year.

Harris was taken into custody at the Sunny Valley housing complex on 3rd Avenue S.E. in Hickory.  She was processed at the Hickory Police Department and then released under a $5,000 unsecured bond.  An appearance in Superior Court was set for December 28 in Newton.

46-year-old Michael Gerald Wall, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police at about one o’clock yesterday afternoon on one felony count of larceny of a motor vehicle.  The warrant for his arrest was issued on December 14.  Following his arrest, Wall was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $8,000, secured.  He’ll make a first appearance on January 17 in the Davidson County courthouse.

44-year-old James William Edwards of Becks Church Road in Lexington, N.C. has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of felony breaking & entering, felony larceny after breaking & entering and injury to real property.

At about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, Deputies were dispatched to a burglar alarm at a business at 119 Campground Road in eastern Iredell County.  Officers found that the front door had been broken and someone had entered through the broken door.

The owner of the business arrived and walked through the crime scene with the Deputies.  The cash register and numerous cigarettes were stolen.  Investigators arrived and processed the crime scene.  Video surveillance footage showed that the suspect was a white male in a red two door Pontiac Grand Am.  A “be on the lookout” call for the suspect and the vehicle was sent to all surrounding law enforcement agencies.

Investigators learned that similar incidents had occurred in Mooresville during the same time frame.  On Tuesday, December 19, the suspect and the vehicle were found in the Troutman area.  A traffic stop was conducted.  Officers found that the suspect, James William Edwards, had an outstanding fugitive warrant in South Carolina.  Detectives positively identified Edwards as the suspect in the December 16 break-in.

Edwards was taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where he was held under a $410,000 secured bond.  He also faces several additional charges from Rowan, Davidson, Forsyth and Randolph counties.  A first appearance in an Iredell County courtroom was scheduled today (December 22) with additional court dates in four other counties coming up before the end of January.

Friday, 22 December 2017 09:50

Missing Woman Found, Safe

The Hickory Police Department has confirmed that that 26-year-old Summer Eckert has been found and is safe.  Ms. Eckert had last been seen walking away from Catawba Valley Medical Center on Fairgrove Church Road S.W. in Hickory at midnight on December 19.

Unconfirmed reports state that Ms. Eckert is back at the hospital for evaluation.  Her mother said that fliers that were distributed and media coverage were helpful in locating her daughter.

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