Due to a threatening phone call, South Caldwell High School has been evacuated to the Granite Falls Recreation Center. Car drivers have been released for the day, but all other students have been transported to the Granite Falls Recreation Center. Parents may pick up students at the Recreation Center, or -- when the facility is cleared by local law enforcement -- the students will be returned to the school.
Parents will receive an alert notification when the facility has been cleared for regular operations.
Hickory Public Schools will close early, today (Friday, December 8) due to impending weather conditions. Hickory High and middle school students (Grandview and Northview) will be released at 12:30 p.m. today. HCAM students will be released at 1:30 p.m. All elementary & primary students will be released at 1 p.m. All after-school activities and games are cancelled.
In addition, due to snowy weather conditions, Caldwell County Schools will release 1.5 hours early today.
28-year-old Jim Xiong of Sedona Drive in Nebo was arrested by Hickory Police at about 7:25 a.m. yesterday (December 7) on one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
He was arrested after Hickory Police responded to an address on 14th Avenue S.W. in reference to a possible stolen vehicle at that location. Upon arrival, Jim Xiong was found inside the stolen vehicle.
Xiong was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
44-year-old Scott Walter Curtis of 20th Avenue N.W. in Hickory was arrested yesterday (December 7) by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers for felony disseminating obscenity.
Curtis was the choral director at South Caldwell High School. His position with the school was terminated yesterday and he was arrested a short time later.
Following his arrest, Curtis was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled Monday (December 11) in Lenoir.
Additional charges are possible.
A Newton man will spend a minimum of six years in prison after being convicted of five counts of indecent liberties with a child during Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday (December 6). 47-year-old Donald Eugene Blankenship was given an active prison term of six to 12 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Julia Lynn Gullett, Superior Court Judge from Iredell County.
In addition, Blankenship will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years and be subject to satellite-based monitoring upon his release from prison. Blankenship’s offenses involved three different children ranging in ages 6 to 14.
The first offense occurred with a then-6-year-old male victim in July 2010. The victim was the child of a family friend who was left alone with the defendant. The act involved fondling of the boy and Blankenship having the child touch him. Another offense in June 2012 involved a then-14-year-old female who was touched inappropriately by Blankenship. An 11-year-old female was the victim of the third offense during the summer of 2012. Blankenship also inappropriately touched her.
Blankenship’s offenses came to light following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into an acquaintance of his living in Joplin, Mo. That investigation, which also included work by the Joplin Police Department, found that the subject in Missouri sent child pornography electronically to Blankenship. This led to the investigation of Blankenship by the Newton Police Department.
During an interview with investigators from Newton Police Department, Blankenship admitted to receiving and downloading child pornography, and that he had inappropriately touched children in Catawba County.
Spencer Cline led the investigation for Newton Police Department with assistance from the FBI and Joplin, Mo., Police Department. Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren prosecuted the case for the State.
40-year-old Carma C. Jurney of North Ellis Road in Salisbury and 47-year-old David T. Watson of Miller Farm Road in Statesville were arrested Tuesday (December 5) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. Jurney is charged with two counts of possession of schedule II controlled substance, and single counts of possession of schedule III and IV controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and possession of drug paraphernalia. Watson is charged with driving while license revoked.
According to a news release issued Thursday (December 7), on Tuesday (December 5) Sgt. C.W. Bentley of the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team conducted a traffic stop on a 2003 Dodge on Wilkesboro Highway. The driver of the vehicle, David Watson continued to travel several hundred feet prior to stopping in a business parking lot. Sgt. Bentley approached the suspect vehicle and advised Watson of the violation. During this time Bentley noticed a female passenger, Carma Jurney. According to the news release, Sgt. Bentley was familiar with the two individuals in the vehicle.
While speaking with Watson, Sgt. Bentley learned that there may be a syringe inside the vehicle. It was discovered that Jurney was in possession of marijuana and numerous prescription pills including hydrocodone, amphetamine, clonazepam, and subutex, which are illegal to possess without a prescription. No bond information was provided for either suspect. Jurney has District Court dates on January 11 and February 5. Watson has District Court appearances scheduled for January 8 and February 5.
55-year-old Leon Junior McDonald of 5th Street in Statesville was arrested Tuesday (December 5) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He was charged with felony failure to notify address change.
According to a news release issued yesterday (December 7), the Iredell County Sex Offender Unit was doing routine address checks on registered sex offenders and went to 1609 5th Street in Statesville for a compliance check on Leon McDonald. It was learned that McDonald had not been living at the listed address. During the investigation it was revealed that McDonald began living there in September, but left the address on the first of November. Officers learned that McDonald moved to a motel on West Front Street. He had not listed this new address with the Sheriff's Office.
McDonald was placed on the registry in 1998 for Attempted 2nd Degree Rape. He was arrested Tuesday and placed in jail under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for December 19. Prior convictions include: fail to report a new address, three counts of driving while impaired, injury to personal property, fail to register as a sex offender, first degree trespassing, second degree trespassing, attempted second degree rape, driving while license revoked and exceeding safe speed.
A Hickory man was found guilty of sex-related crimes involving a five-year-old boy, resulting in an active prison sentence of at least 25 years. The jury returned its guilty verdict for statutory sex offense with a child by an adult and indecent liberties with a child against 66-year-old Eugene Junior Nixon during Catawba County Superior Court on Thursday (December 7).
The Honorable Angela B. Puckett, Superior Court Judge from Stokes County, imposed a prison term of 25 to 35 years for Nixon. He will serve that sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections and will be required to register as a sex offender. Nixon also is to have no contact with the victim or the boy’s father.
Attorneys for the State and defense gave closing arguments Thursday morning, and the jury returned its verdict in about half an hour to wrap up the three-day trial. The jury watched three interviews the defendant gave law enforcement and heard testimony from the victim during the trial.
In May 2016, the defendant inappropriately touched the victim and had the boy touch him in multiple ways. Nixon was a friend of the family who was living with a relative of the victim at the time the offenses occurred. In addition to the inappropriate touching, the defendant performed sexual acts on the child.
Russ Boger led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Child Advocacy Protection Center of Catawba County. Assistant District Attorney Jamie Adams prosecuted the case on behalf of the State.
40-year-old Jason Shea Ali was arrested Wednesday (December 6) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony maintaining a dwelling, vehicle, or place for controlled substances. Ali was placed in jail in Morganton under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (December 8).
The individual whose body was found at the scene of a fire in Burke County on Wednesday, November 29 in Burke County has been identified. The deceased is the homeowner, Carolyn Hollifield.
Firefighters responded to the scene on Windy Hill Drive in Morganton at about 2:23 that afternoon. A detached garage was on fire with about a quarter of an acre of woodland burning behind the garage. Firefighters found the body of a white female in her mid-60s behind the garage.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the victim’s identity as Ms. Hollifield. The cause of death has not been released; however, no evidence of foul play was found during the examination.
The fire was found to be accidental. It started outside with yard debris that had been cleared and spread to the garage and contiguous woodland behind the home.
27-year-old David Eleck Williams of Columbia, S.C., formerly of Lincolnton, has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on one felony count each for possession of a stolen firearm and possession of cocaine
Just after midnight today (December 7), Lincoln Co. Narcotics Detectives arrested Williams following a traffic stop on Highway 73 near the intersection of South Pilot Knob Road in Denver.
Investigators were conducting surveillance at a local business near the intersection of Highway 73 and Highway 16 when they spotted what appeared to be drug activity in the parking lot. One of the individuals involved got into a truck with South Carolina tags. Detectives ran the license plate and discovered it was fictitious. The truck left the parking lot and headed south on Business Highway 16 South.
A traffic stop was and the driver admitted to possessing a gun and cocaine. The firearm reportedly belonged to an Officer with the West Columbia Police Department. The stolen handgun and cocaine were seized and the suspect’s truck was impounded.
Williams was arrested and placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $12,500 secured bond. A first appearance in court was scheduled today.
48-year-old Prieor Franklin Childers, Jr. of Rinehardt Road in Mooresville has been charged with sexual battery by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers.
According to a press released issued yesterday (December 6) by the Sheriff’s Office, the charge stems from an incident at about 10 p.m. on November 9 when Deputies responded to a domestic dispute at the residence on Rinehardt Road. Deputies learned that a male subject had been cut with a knife on the left side of his face by a female family member. The male subject was identified as Prieor Franklin Childers, Jr. He was taken to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte for emergency medical treatment. The female subject was still at the residence.
Investigators responded to the scene and to the hospital to interview those involved. Detectives learned that Prieor Childers was cut after he attempted to sexually assault his 25-year-old niece. The niece grabbed a kitchen knife to defend herself and repeatedly warned Childers to stay away from her. Childers continued to assault the female until she swung the knife, cutting Childers. Based on witness statements and evidence gathered at the scene, Detectives determined that the female was defending herself.
No bond or court date are currently listed for Childers.
The suspect had recently been released from jail and was temporarily staying with family members when the incident occurred. Childers has previous convictions for assault on a female, drug possession, larceny, and breaking & entering.
53-year-old Daniel Urban of Buckbee Road in Statesville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony habitual assault, assault on a female, and filing a false report to law enforcement.
According to a news release issued Wednesday (December 6), on November 21 Deputies responded to 288 Buckbee Road in reference to a domestic assault. The victim called 911 stating her boyfriend Daniel Urban had assaulted her. Deputies responded and located Urban and the victim at the scene. At the time of their investigation the victim's injuries were not visible. Urban showed the deputies abrasions to his face and arm. Urban told the Deputies that the victim had cut him in the face and arm multiple times with a knife. She was placed under arrest for assault.
The case was forwarded to Detective Sergeant Katie Harwell of the Special Victims Unit for a follow up investigation. Det. Harwell followed up with the victim to see if her injuries had become visible. Harwell noticed obvious bruising and swelling to McConnell’s knee. While Harwell was reviewing the case and comparing the evidence she found Urban’s story to be questionable. Urban was located at his home and was spoken to about the case. While speaking with Urban he admitted that he had intentionally lied to the deputies. Urban stated he lied because he did not want to go back to jail again. Urban stated his injuries actually came from a barbed wire fence and from briars not from an assault.
Det. Harwell discussed the case with the District Attorney’s Office. The victim was released from jail and her charge was dismissed. Urban was arrested and charged on November 22 and given a $15,000.00 secured bond. His next District Court date is December 12.
28-year-old Jordan Chey Lane Boone of Sharon School Road in Statesville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony habitual assault, and misdemeanor counts of simple assault, communicating threats, and violation of a domestic violence protection order.
According to a news release issued on Wednesday (December 6), on November 16, deputies responded to a domestic assault that reportedly occurred at 563 Sharon School Road. The case was assigned to Detective Nathan Rash of the Special Victim’s Unit for a follow up investigation. After further investigation into the case it was discovered that the suspect, Jordan Boone, had threatened and assaulted the victim. The news release says that Boone also violated a Domestic Violence Protection Order in the process.
He was arrested and charged on November 17. Bond for Boyd was set at $20,000 secured. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for January 8.
A "smash and grab" robbery is under investigation in Morganton. Wednesday (December 6) at 5:35 a.m., Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to an alarm at Carolina Wireless at 406 A West Fleming Drive. Upon arrival officers discovered that the front window of the business was broken in. Cell phones and change from the registers trailed from the window to a nearby parking lot.
Surveillance video shows two individuals enter the business through the broken window. They took multiple cell phones from display cases and removed the cash register drawers. The two subjects were in the store for about three -and-a-half minutes. Anyone having information about this crime or these two subjects should contact Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.
VEKA, a global leader in the vinyl extrusion industry, will locate a new facility in Burke County. According to Burke Development Incorporated or BDI, over the next four years VEKA will create 102 jobs and invest $18M. This is the fourth facility in the United States for the family-owned, German company.
VEKA, Inc. is one of North America’s most respected suppliers of vinyl window and door profiles. They will receive a $500,000 performance-based grant from the One N.C. Fund, which provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Burke County and the City of Morganton have approved local incentives matching 50% of the new taxable investment for seven years.
Caterpillar announced they would close their 160,000-square foot facility on Ceramic Tile Drive in Morganton in April 2016. Since then the company has wound down its operations and VEKA, Inc. has plans to occupy the facility and begin operations in early 2018.
“I’m excited to have a quality company reusing this now vacant structure,” said Alan Wood, President and CEO of Burke Development, Inc. “This addition will assist our efforts to grow and diversify our manufacturing base.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Burke County, the City of Morganton, and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments assisted with the project.
Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.
46-year-old Thomas Jeffrey Wilson of Ellis Road in Statesville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with three felony counts of statutory sex offense with a child and two counts of indecent liberties with a child, with one of those indecent liberties charges being filed by authorities in Rockingham County.
According to a news release issued Wednesday (December 6) by the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, in July a report was filed by Catawba County DSS concerning possible sexual abuse of a seven-year-old female living in Catawba County. Catawba County DSS reported that the sexual abuse occurred in Iredell County by a family member’s boyfriend, Thomas Wilson. The juvenile was interviewed at the Catawba County Children’s Advocacy Center where the juvenile disclosed that she was sexually abused while visiting family.
While the investigation was still ongoing, two more victims came forward concerning allegations involving the suspect, Thomas Wilson. One of the new victims was interviewed at the Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center and the other was interviewed in Rockingham County. Based on the investigation and statements collected, Wilson was charged by authorities in Iredell and Rockingham Counties.
Wilson's bond for all charges has been set at $1,150,000 secured. He's scheduled to appear in District Court in Iredell County on December 12. A District Court date is scheduled for December 18 in Rockingham County.
Wilson’s prior convictions include: intoxicated and disruptive behavior, resist a public officer, malicious conduct by a prisoner, assault on a government official, four counts of driving while license revoked, assault and battery, indignities to an officer, injury to real property, felony larceny, three counts of no operator’s license, operate a vehicle with no insurance, and driving while impaired.
56-year-old Ted Joseph Tate, whose address was not listed, was arrested Tuesday (December 5) by Long View Police Officers. He's charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and two counts apiece of assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats. Tate was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (December 6).
29-year-old Ruby Hoard was arrested Tuesday (December 5) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony child abuse. The arrest warrant is from 2014. Following the arrest, Hoard was placed in jail in Morganton under $75,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for January 22.
17-year-old Jose Luis Ramirez-Berreto of Cody Court in Newton was arrested today (December 6) by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, assault on a government official or employee, and resisting a public officer. Ramirez-Berreto was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $8,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today.