The Board of Trustees at Lenoir-Rhyne University has announced that Dr. Frederick (Fred) K. Whitt, has been named the 12th President of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Dr. Whitt was introduced to the Lenoir-Rhyne community this morning (Monday, October 24) as faculty, staff, students, board members, constituents and other friends filled Grace Chapel for the announcement.
Dr. Whitt will be succeeding Dr. Wayne B. Powell. Dr. Whitt brings over 30 years of leadership experience in higher education to Lenoir-Rhyne. He is currently the Founding Dean of the Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS) at Appalachian State University, and has served in this capacity since 2010 when he was named to lead the first new college developed at Appalachian in over 40 years.
Dr. Whitt will assume the position of University President on February 1, 2017. Dr. Powell, who served as University President for 14 years, will retire on January 1. Under his leadership, the University has undergone bold initiatives, unprecedented growth, and financial success that have defined its administration.
Whitt grew up in Mt. Holly, NC about 40 miles south of Hickory. He and his wife Donna, who is also from North Carolina and a Nurse Educator, have been married for 38 years and they have two adult married sons. Dr. Whitt earned his Doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and his Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Appalachian State.
A woman who had been missing was found and is reported to be safe. 26-year-old Christin Coffey, from 8th Street S.W. in Hickory was reported missing from her sister’s residence in Bethlehem late last Monday night (October 17).
Information was released Saturday morning (October 22) stating that Coffey had called home. The public and news media were thanked for their assistance during the search for Coffey. No further information was available.
36-year-old Elijah Carew Carter of Blue Dove Lane in Granite Falls was arrested Friday (October 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with electronic house arrest violation and two counts of drug screen failure. Carter was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $250,000 secured bond. No court date was listed.
28-year-old Cory Elijah Moretz of Circle Loop Road in Stony Point was arrested Saturday (October 22) by Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He's charged with felony counts of flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. In addition, Moretz is charged with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and larceny of a firearm. Moretz was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, October 24) in Newton.
22-year-old Gabriel Quinton Corley of Burl Street in Hudson was arrested Friday (October 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony larceny and possession of stolen goods or property. Corley was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. No court date was listed.
35-year-old Amanda Kay Loftin of Cramer Road in Connelly Springs was arrested Saturday (October 22) by authorities in Catawba County. She's charged on a warrant from Caldwell County with felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Loftin was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today in Catawba County.
A suspect who had been wanted for more than two years has been arrested. 27-year-old Anthony Takeo Sherrill, whose last known address was on Miller Mill Road in Hickory, was arrested by Burke County Sheriff's Officers late last week.
Last Thursday (October 20), Investigators with the Burke County Narcotics Task Force received a tip regarding a wanted suspect at 3870 Hide Away Hills. While at the residence, two men pulled into the driveway. Investigators recognized one of the men to be Anthony Takeo Sherrill, who had been wanted since August 14, 2014.
Sherrill was wanted on felony counts of breaking and entering to a place of worship, larceny, and possession of stolen property. Following his arrest Thursday, Sherrill was charged with those offenses, and, according to the North Carolina Court System website, he also faces two felony counts of probation violation.
Sherrill was taken into custody without incident and confined at the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. As of this morning (Monday, October 24) Sherrill was still listed as an inmate. He's scheduled to appear in Superior Court December 12.
Authorities are looking for a missing person, 26-year-old Christin Coffey, from 8th Street S.W. in Hickory. Ms. Coffey went missing from her sister’s residence in Bethlehem late Monday night. She may be driving a brown Lincoln Town Car with a damaged front bumper. Ms. Coffey suffers from seizures and may be in need of medical attention. Anyone with information should contact Det. Chad Pennell at the Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office, 828-632-1111.
28-year-old Kasey Annette Croft of River Road in Lincolnton was arrested Thursday (October 20) by Lincolnton Police Officers. She's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The warrants were a result of an investigation conducted by Det. Brent Heavner of the Lincolnton Police Department. The investigation revolved around a residence in located on Lithia Inn Road near the intersection of Country Club Road in which the Lincolnton Police Department has received several complaints involving drug related activity. Additionally, the Lincolnton Police Department has made several drug related arrests involving this residence as well.
During this specific investigation, detectives with the Lincolnton Police Department along with investigators with Lincoln County Department of Social Services visited the residence after a complaint was filed concerning Croft and the residence. The investigation led to methamphetamine as well drug paraphernalia of various types being located and seized as evidence.
Croft was arrested at the Lincoln County Magistrate’s Office where she turned herself in. Croft received a $1,000 secured bond and was placed in the Lincoln County Jail. She was scheduled to appear in District Court today (Friday, October 21).
Catawba County Community College's Main Campus and East Campus have been placed under lockdown today (Friday, October 21).
WHKY’s Fentress Chestnut spoke with Officers serving on the Catawba Co. STAR (Special Tactics And Response) team. They told her that a female student at CVCC texted her boyfriend this morning, stating that there was a gunman and that she was hiding in a closet. The boyfriend, who was in Alamance County, contacted the Alamance Co. Sheriff’s Office, which then notified the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office. The school was then placed on lockdown at 11:48 this morning.
Authorities told WHKY that they have found no signs of a weapon or a gunman. Several students and students’ parents have contradicted that statement, though it appears that those reports may be the result of hearsay. Ms. Chestnut, who has been on the scene today, was told that nobody was harmed and all students are safe.
As of mid-afternoon, authorities were still on the scene as students were still being evacuated from the campus and from the adjacent Challenger High School campus.
The following statement was posted on the CVCC Facebook page:
"There has been information that has come to our attention indicating a possible person with a weapon may be on or near a campus with Catawba in the name of the school. No injuries or actual threats have been identified. We are acting with an abundance of caution. Along with CVCC Security, Catawba County Sherriff Department is on the scene. Please continue to follow set protocol until further notice. Follow Lock Down procedures immediately on the Main Campus and on the East Campus. This is not a test. If you are exposed, please seek a safe location immediately."
The school later posted an update saying that no danger was detected and urged everyone to stay sheltered in place while precautionary procedures were followed. The school is emphasizing that no one should attempt to come on campus until an all-clear is announced.
32-year-old Brian Dean Mitchem of Statesville has been arrested by Alexander County Detectives on charges of breaking & entering and larceny.
Mitchem was arrested in connection to several incidents, the first of which was reported on October 11 in the Wittenburg area. On October 14, three separate incidents in the Bethlehem community were reported, with another the following day, also in Bethlehem. On October 17, two more incidents were reported, one in Bethlehem and another in the Vashti community.
Officials were looking for a black Nissan Altima with Florida plates and a spare tire on the right passenger side. On October 18, warrants for were issued for Mitchem’s arrest. He was taken into custody at about 4 p.m. yesterday by Alexander County Detectives in Salisbury at a convenience store. Salisbury Police assisted in the arrest. Mitchem was driving the black Nissan when he was arrested.
Upon his arrest, Salisbury Police charged Mitchem with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and other drug charges. He was jailed under a $105,000 secured bond. A first appearance in Alexander County District Court was set for Monday (October 24).
Mitchem is also being investigated for similar B&E cases in surrounding counties.
52-year-old Donald Ray Moose of Bessemer City and 52-year-old Daniel Christopher Worthy of Mt. Holly were both arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 3 p.m. yesterday (October 20) on one felony count each of assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and one misdemeanor count each of larceny.
Events leading to the arrests began at Lowe’s Home Improvement on Highway 70 S.E. where a Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Deputy in the store saw a white male running toward the exit. He was carrying merchandise that included painting supplies, a tape measure and a saw blade. A female employee was running behind the man, attempting to stop him.
The Deputy also ran after the suspect, later identified as Christopher Worthy. Worthy got into a passenger car driven by Donald Moose. The vehicle drug the Deputy as the suspects exited the parking lot. The Deputy freed himself and followed in his own vehicle.
Another Deputy joined in the pursuit and the vehicle was stopped on the 2500 block of 15th Avenue S.E., just behind the hardware store. H.P.D. was called to the scene. The merchandise was recovered and both suspects were taken into custody without further incident.
No injuries were reported.
Both subjects were jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Moose set at $17,000, secured, while Worthy was given a $13,000 secured bond. They will both appear in District Court Monday (October 24) in Newton.
Murder/suicide is considered the possible cause of death in a Lenoir investigation. The Lenoir Police Department has been investigating the deaths of two people who were found Wednesday afternoon in a residence on Clearfield Place. 74-year-old Johnny Ben Church and 74-year-old Gwyn Lee Kirby, who both listed 2470 Clearfield Place in Lenoir as their address, were both found in that home deceased.
The Lenoir Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the NC Medical Examiner’s Office are all involved in the investigation. The results of this investigation, thus far, overwhelmingly indicate this was an incident of murder/suicide. At this point there is no indication that this was a random act, or that a third party was involved. This investigation is continuing, no further information will be released at this time.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation are asked to contact The Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2100 or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300. The investigation is ongoing at this time.
31-year-old Joshua Garris Hamby of Falls Street SE in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (October 20) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine, simple assault, malicious conduct by a prisoner, failure to appear, speeding to elude arrest, and injury to personal property. Hamby was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $70,747 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Friday, October 21).
A Cabbarus County man was reportedly killed Thursday night (October 20) in an accident involving a motorcycle. According to published reports, the wreck occurred in Conover on Highway 16 near Walmart.
Reports say a car pulled into the path of the motorcycle, causing the accident. The operator of the motorcycle was killed after being thrown from the bike, his name has not been released. One published report says he was 54-years-old.
31-year-old Joshua Raymond Varney of Pineridge Drive in Mooresville was arrested by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with three counts of breaking into a motor vehicle, one count of felony larceny, one count of misdemeanor larceny, one count of attempt larceny, and one count of first degree trespassing.
According to a news release sent out late Thursday afternoon (October 20), between Monday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 11, three Victims reported their vehicles were broken into at the Exit 42 Storage facility in Troutman. An RV, an enclosed trailer and a boat that were parked inside the locked parking area were broken into. The suspect entered the through a locked gate prior to breaking into the units. During the break-in, the suspect stole tools from the enclosed trailer and two batteries from the boat.
Detectives worked with employees of Exit 42 Storage to obtain video footage in an effort to identify the suspect and the suspect vehicle. Detectives Adam Blackburn and Patrick Irwin were able to identify Joshua Raymond Varney as the suspect. Varney was questioned about the break-ins and, according to the news release, assisted Detectives in recovering more than $75,000 in stolen property. All of the property was recovered and has been returned to the owner with the exception of the two boat batteries.
Varney was taken to the Iredell County Detention Center and incarcerated under a $20,000 secured bond. He's scheduled to appear in District Court November 7 and 18.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Officers apprehended a man wanted in connection with the kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend twice within the last three months.
21-year-old Jacob Allen Houser of Hines Circle Road in Stanley is charged in connection with both incidents. He's charged with first degree kidnapping, breaking and entering with intent to terrorize or injure the occupant, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, felonious restraint, and resisting a public officer. Houser is also charged in connection with an incident in July, those charges include one felony count each of 2nd degree kidnapping, first degree burglary of an occupied dwelling, and assault by strangulation inflicting physical injury.
On Thursday (October 20) at approximately 6 p.m. officers found Houser hiding in the attic of a relative’s home on Hines Circle Road. Officers had been looking for Houser since Wednesday morning when he allegedly broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home at 178 Cowan’s Ford Road, assaulted a man at the residence then carried the woman to a waiting vehicle, before fleeing the scene. The victim, 22-year-old Kaitlin Victoria Greene, was found safe and interviewed about the incident.
Houser was also wanted in connection with an incident on July 16 when deputies were dispatched to the Cowan’s Ford Overlook after a passing motorist reported a man was assaulting a woman at that location. The motorist told officers he was driving past the Overlook when he spotted a woman in distress. The woman was screaming and waving her arms as the man was screaming at her. The man then ran to the edge of the hill at the overlook and disappeared over the edge. The victim in that case was also Kaitlin Victoria Green, she said she'd been kidnapped from her home.
Houser also has outstanding charges from Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties. He was placed in jail under $759,945 secured bond.
A jury has found 57-year-old William Eugene Murphy not guilty in his second double-homicide trial in Caldwell County Superior Court. The 11-week trial came to an end today (Thursday, October 20).
Murphy was found innocent of committing the November 1990 murders of Mark Randall Secreast and his wife, Jeanie Barlow Secreast, inside their Caldwell County home. The case was investigated at that time, but not solved. Murphy was arrested and charged with the murders in April 2010.
The trial started on August 8. It included four weeks of jury selection prior to opening statements from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Mathews and Defense Attorney Lisa Dubs. It was the second trial for Murphy in ten months after the first ended in a mistrial.
The 12-member jury deliberated over a three-day period following closing arguments from Prosecutor Michael Van Buren and Dubs on Monday and Tuesday. The jury delivered its verdict to the Honorable Hugh B. Lewis, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, around 2:30 p.m. today.
Murphy’s first trial ended on February 10 when the jurors were deadlocked six-to-six after five hours of deliberation, prompting the Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, to declare a mistrial.
38-year-old Christopher William Webb was arrested today (Thursday, October 20) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony manufacturing schedule II controlled substance. Webb was placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond. A court date is set for December 12.
The Hickory Driver License Office will temporarily close for equipment installation and renovations on Thursday, October 27. It is scheduled to re-open on Monday October 31, at 8 a.m.
The Hickory office, located at 1158 Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd. S.E., is one of 25 driver license offices across the state to undergo a new office design that will include the installation of new cubicles and ergonomic bench seating to increase customer comfort, as well as new informational posters. The office floor will also be refurbished.
As part of the second phase of state DMV office upgrades, renovations will be completed in 50 of the state’s 113 driver license offices by the end of November. DMV now offers driver license renewals and many other services online. Customers are encouraged to check the official DMV website at www.ncdot.gov/dmv and click “Online Services” to see if their driver license needs can be met online.
During the Hickory closure, customers who need in-office services can visit other offices located in the region and are encouraged to call them to make an appointment. Other offices in the region include the Newton location at 1033 Smyre Farm Road, their phone number is (828) 466-5516. The Hudson office at 309 Pine Mountain Road, their number is (828) 726-2504. The Statesville Office at 905 Carolina Avenue North, the phone number at that location is (704) 878-4220.