Authorities in Lincoln County are still looking for Toasha Nicole Rice, also known as Nikki Green, who has been missing since May 26, 2014. She was last seen leaving a friend’s home on Eaker Road in western Lincoln County as she got into a black four-door sedan driven by a white female.
Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Detectives have interviewed family members and a number of people Ms. Rice was known to associate with, but no one has seen the missing woman. In the months since Ms. Rice was reported missing, Officers used a K-9 search team in a large wooded area off of Sorrells Baxter Road and Eaker Road in western Lincoln County, around the old Massapoag Mill in Lincolnton and at several other locations outside Lincoln County. All leads have been exhausted with no signs of the missing woman.
Ms. Rice is a white female. She was 27 years old when she disappeared. She is 5’6” tall and weighs 140 pounds.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Toasha Nicole Rice, a.k.a. Nikki Green, should call the Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln Co. Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. Detectives will follow up on all leads.
An accident on Interstate 40 near mile marker 122 sent one person to the hospital and delayed traffic for about an hour this morning (June 1). The crash happened just west of Brookford in the westbound lanes at 11:13 a.m.
The accident occurred when a 2006 Ford driven by 68-year-old John Bohannon of Louisville, Kentucky attempted to merge from the left lane to the right lane. The Ford hit a 2015 Suzuki motorcycle driven by 75-year-old George Ledford, Jr. of Hickory.
Mr. Ledford was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte where he was listed in critical condition. Bohannon, who was not injured, was cited for making an unsafe movement resulting in serious injury to a motorcycle operator. No other vehicles were involved and there were no additional injuries.
The westbound lanes were completely blocked for about 20 minutes as the injured man was transported from the scene. Traffic was partially blocked for approximately an hour.
According to the N.C. State Highway Patrol, the accident was caused by driver inattention. Neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the crash.
25-year-old Ryan Kegan Marsh was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by authorities in Lincoln County. He's charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor injury to personal property. Marsh was arrested early Wednesday morning at an address on South Ingleside Farm Road in Iron Station. Marsh was placed in jail in Lincolnton under $16,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for June 15.
After 30 years of service, Battalion Chief Todd Frizsell has retired from the Hickory Fire Department. Frizsell began his employment with the City of Hickory on August 21, 1989, when he was hired to work as a firefighter. Through the years he served as firefighter, senior firefighter, Fire Apparatus Operator, Captain, and Battalion Chief over the training division, which he was promoted to in July 2013.
Frizsell has obtained several certifications including Firefighter Level II through the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission and Emergency Medical Technician through the North Carolina Office of Emergency Services. During his time with the department, he completed training as an Operation level Hazardous Materials Responder and in specialized courses including Fire Service Instructor level II, Technical Rescuer, and Fire Officer levels I, II, and III. Frizsell also completed training from the National Fire Academy in Leadership, where he obtained levels I through II in Leadership.
Currently, he holds the following State certifications from the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshall: Chief 101, Fire Officer I, II, and III, Firefighter I and II, Technical Rescuer, Level I Inspector, Emergency Vehicle Driver, RIT, and Hazardous Materials Operations. He is qualified as a Level II Fire Service Instructor, Live Fire Instructor, and LP Gas Instructor. Also, he is certified as an EMT with the North Carolina Office of EMS. Frizsell has attended various National Fire Academy courses such as: Leadership I and II, STICO, and DMICO. Frizsell completed the Chief Officer Executive Development program and the Executive Training Officer Management program through the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs. Frizsell successfully completed the Fire and Rescue Emergency Management Institute from UNC-Charlotte.
As well as his job with the fire department, he has served the city as a member of several committees including serving on the Board of Trustees for the Hickory Firemen’s Supplemental Retirement Fund and as an active member of the Hickory Fire Department Honor Guard. Frizsell also served on the board of the Western North Carolina Association of Firefighters as the Foothills Region Director. In his retirement, he plans to continue serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Grace Chapel Fire Department.
55-year-old Larry Gene Johnson was arrested today (Thursday, June 1) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony possession of stolen goods. Following the arrest, Johnson was placed in jail in Morganton under $6,000 secured bond. A court date is set for July 31.
29-year-old Gary Dustin Brandon Letterman of Miller Drive in Newton was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm. Letterman was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $37,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (June 1).
26-year-old Ryan Heath Lingle of Normandy Park Road in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of first degree burglary and larceny. Lingle was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $28,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (June 1).
19-year-old Michael Shane Amoedo was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with two felony counts apiece of first degree rape, first degree sexual offense, and statutory sexual offense with a child along with one count of statutory rape of a child.
On May 20, 2017 a report was filed with the Iredell County Sheriff’s office in reference to a child being assaulted by a family member. The report was assigned to Detective Sergeant Amy Dyson of the Special Victim’s Unit. The child was interviewed along with several additional witnesses.
As a result of the investigation, Amoedo was arrested and charged. He was detained in the Iredell County Detention Center under $300,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for June 12.
Unemployment rates decreased across the Greater Hickory Metro and in a majority of the counties in North Carolina according to the most recent numbers. The April report was released Wednesday (May 31) by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division.
Alexander County's unemployment rate is at 3.4 percent, that's down from 3.9 percent in the previous report. Burke County is showing a 4 percent jobless rate for April, down from 4.4 percent in March. Caldwell County is also at 4 percent even for April, down from 4.6 percent in the previous report. Catawba County's unemployment rate stands at 4 percent even as well, down from 4.4 percent in March.
The unemployment rate for the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is 3.9 percent, that's down from 4.4 percent in the previous report. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton is tied for the 4th lowest jobless rate among 15 MSAs in North Carolina.
The statewide unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, down from 4.7 percent in the March report. Jobless rates decreased in 97 of North Carolina's 100 counties and increased in three. Hyde County shows the highest unemployment rate at 8.8 percent, while Buncombe County has the state's lowest jobless rate at 3.2 percent.
26-year-old Ryan Scott Gibson of 10th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on Grand Jury Indictments with breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. Gibson was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for July 24.
38-year-old Chad Eric Lowman of 22nd Street NE in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of cocaine and possession of methamphetamine. Lowman was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (June 1).
55-year-old Gary Lynn Johnson of 8th Street Place S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (May 31) on one felony count of possession of cocaine.
He was arrested at 1:30 a.m. after Officers conducted a traffic stop on the 500 block of 2nd Avenue S.E. The driver was cited for driving while license revoked and failure to stop at a stop sign. During a search, 0.1 grams of crack cocaine was found in the vehicle’s passenger area. Gary Lynn Johnson, who was a passenger in the vehicle, taken into custody without incident.
Johnson was processed and given a $3,000 bond. He was then released on a written promise to appear in court. A District Court appearance was scheduled tomorrow in Newton.
32-year-old Ashley Daniell Braddy of Birkdale Lane in Lincolnton was arrested at about 1:50 last Friday afternoon (May 26) on one felony count each of larceny and possession of stolen property.
She was arrested in connection to a shoplifting case at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. The incident was initially reported on December 23 of last year.
Braddy was taken into custody without incident at an address on Startown Road in Maiden. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. She has since been released. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled yesterday (May 30) in Newton.
40-year-old Christopher Bennit Robinson was arrested Tuesday (May 30) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony second degree kidnapping. Robinson was placed in jail in Morganton under $25,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for July 10.
The K-64 Education Board held its inaugural meeting Tuesday, (May 30) at Catawba Valley Community College. The Board elected Larry Aiello, Jr., retired President & CEO of Corning Cable Systems LLC, to serve as Board Chair and Tony Rose, CEO of Catawba Valley Medical Center, to serve as Board Vice Chair. Catawba County Clerk Barbara Morris was appointed to fill the role of Secretary.
The Board established a four-member committee to conduct a search for a K-64 Chief Executive Officer, who will be employed by CVCC. That committee consists of Graystone Eye CEO Sheree Watson, CommScope Senior VP of Human Resources Robyn Mingle, and Catawba County Schools Superintendent Matt Stover and will be chaired by CVCC President Garrett Hinshaw, who will coordinate the job posting and hiring processes on behalf of CVCC.
In addition to establishing organizational roles, the Board heard presentations related to each K-12 public school system’s technology and staff training needs and requested written summaries of those needs for review prior to the Board’s next meeting.
The Board’s finances, which are managed through the CVCC Foundation, include $2.6 million in start-up funding over two years from the Catawba County Board of Commissioners and more than $600,000 in private investment commitments. The Board approved a $4,500 expenditure for a local performance analysis of the Leader in Me program, which has been implemented in some Catawba County and Newton-Conover City schools, and a $5,000 expenditure for BoardEffects board management software.
The Board voted to meet monthly, with its next meeting taking place Thursday, June 29 at 12:00 p.m. in the Sipe Board Room at CVCC. Beginning in August, the Board will meet in the same location on the first Thursday of each month at 12:00 p.m.
K-64 is an education and economic development initiative that prepares students from kindergarten (K) through retirement (64) to compete in the global economy and creates a highly qualified talent pipeline to support local workforce and economic growth. K-64 focuses on six priority areas: 1-to-world technology, character development, tech-savvy educators, work-based learning, employer engagement, and career adaptability. The initiative builds on what’s already working in Catawba County by expanding and implementing model programs throughout the local education system in collaboration with local employers and community partners. K-64 is governed by a 12-member board of directors comprised of both private and public sector representatives and is managed by Catawba Valley Community College.
One of three suspects wanted in a major local drug conspiracy was captured Monday night (May 29) in Maryland. 37-year-old Marqueseo Marshay “Pepe” Pearson of Stephens Drive in Morganton, was apprehended shortly before 9:45 p.m. Monday by officers with Seat Pleasant Police Department in Prince George’s County, Md.
Pearson had been on the run from McDowell County Sheriff’s Office and N.C. State Bureau of Investigation authorities since April 18, when officials conducted a three-county roundup of drug conspiracy suspects, and he fled. He was wanted on three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count each of conspiracy to manufacture a Schedule II controlled substance and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise. Pearson is in jail in Maryland under no bond pending extradition to North Carolina.
Two other suspects from the drug conspiracy remain on the run: 35-year-old Dwayne Bullock of 17th St. West in Newton is wanted on six counts of conspiracy to traffic heroin, three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of continuing a criminal enterprise. 66-year-old William Jackie Pearson of Stephens Drive in Morganton is wanted on three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count each of conspiracy to manufacture a Schedule II controlled substance and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
The illegal narcotics investigation began with a probe of activity at the 100 Stacy Farm Road, Nebo residence of 36-year-old Jamie Leonard Tate. It was determined that Tate and Bullock conspired with numerous people to traffic and distribute hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as lesser amounts of cocaine and heroin.
On April 18, authorities began rounding up suspects in the conspiracy, raiding areas simultaneously in McDowell, Burke and Catawba counties, locations believed to be used for storing and distributing narcotics. Seven suspects were arrested that day. Seized during the raids were approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine, an estimated $500,000 in cash, more than half a pound of marijuana, up to four ounces of fentanyl and other small amounts of pills, as well as firearms, cell phones and vehicles.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Dwayne Bullock or Jackie Pearson is asked to call the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235 or McDowell County Crime Stoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). Now, you can also text your tips to Crime Stoppers. Text MCDOWELLTIPS and your information to 274637 (CRIMES). With Crime Stoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.
34-year-old William Eric Clark of 17th Avenue NE in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (May 30) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with habitual larceny. Following the arrest, Clark was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court date was scheduled for today (May 31).
40-year-old Clarence Thomas Waycaster of SE Plymouth Road in Lenoir was taken into custody Tuesday (May 30) by authorities in Caldwell County. He's charged with felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle. In addition, Waycaster is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving while license revoked. He was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for June 26 in Lenoir.
29-year-old Lamar Montray Gibbs of Old Catawba Road in Catawba was arrested Tuesday (May 30) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with discharging a weapon into an occupied property. Gibbs was confined in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,500 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 31).
21-year-old Brian Preston Freeman of Grant Road and 19-year-old Matthew Edward Thibault of Delia Hall Lane, both from Hudson, were each arrested Tuesday (May 30) by Hudson Police Officers. They're both charged with felony discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling or moving vehicle. Following their arrests, Freeman and Thibault were both jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. They both have District Court dates Thursday (June 1).