A statement regarding the passing of Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright has been released. The family issued the statement this afternoon (Friday, May 12). It reads:
"Rudy Wright passed away on May 11th. Rudy was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many; in these initial hours and days of celebrating his life, we, his family, deeply appreciate all of the kind words and stories from so many that he touched. We would like to thank the first responders to the scene, the community of Hickory, and everyone who has extended their love and support to our family, especially Rudy's wife of 49 years, Donna. He was a man of intelligence and passion, as evidenced by his years as a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and public servant. Rudy loved every minute of his 16 years as mayor of Hickory, NC. He loved being a part of community events, meetings, ribbon cuttings, and anything else that helped to make the community of Hickory a better place to live."
"We are deeply saddened at his loss, and will miss his stories, his laugh, his stubbornness, and unique character that can never be replaced. Mental illness and depression affect so many regardless of one's position in the community, or the size of one's smile. If you, or someone you know may be considering suicide, please seek professional help. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Hickory. More details about a public memorial to follow."
The body of Rudy Wright was found in his home at approximately 2:40 p.m. on Thursday. He had served as Mayor of Hickory since 2001.
35-year-old Melissa Jo Rector of Lindsey Lane in Conover was arrested by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers today (Friday, May 12) and charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
At approximately 3 a.m. today, a verbal altercation occurred Rector and another woman, Jamie Michelle Sigmon of Conover. The dispute occurred at a residence on Lindsey Lane in Conover. During the altercation, Sigmon contacted a friend to give her a ride from the Lindsey Lane address to an unknown location. The friend, Wendy Michelle Rumage of Conover, picked up Sigmon and was driving her and a third party, Mark Corriher Wood of Conover, on Springs Road near Food Lion. At that point, Rector pulled up along the driver's side of Rumage's vehicle where she allegedly fired multiple rounds into the occupied vehicle.
Wood was struck by one of the rounds. He was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center where he was treated and released. Rector was taken into custody and charged at approximately 11 a.m. today.
Rector was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $375,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for Monday (May 15) in Newton.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a rash of vehicle break-ins to unlocked vehicles in areas of eastern Lincoln County. Residents began reporting the break-ins the morning of May 4, 2017 to vehicles parked at homes on Old Plank Road in Stanley and Mundy Road in Denver. Items stolen in the break-ins included cash, a pistol, electronic equipment, a book bag, and a purse containing credit cards and identification.
On May 10 more reports were filed regarding vehicle break-ins on Eaglecrest Court, Glen Abbey Circle, Oak Haven Lane and Sandtrap Lane, all located in the area of Club Drive off Highway 73 in Stanley. It appeared the thief or thieves went from street to street in the neighborhoods entering vehicles that were left unlocked.
Here are some ways to protect you from being a victim of a vehicle break-in:
Lock your vehicle every time you leave, even for a short period of time. Don’t leave valuables in plain view. If you place items in the trunk, do it discreetly or before you arrive at your destination. If your car is parked in a carport or near your home, leave you exterior lights on at night. If you park on a street, choose a well-lit, open and visible space. Residents should also document and record all serial numbers on any items left in a vehicle.
Anyone with information on the break-ins should call 911, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202, or Lincolnton/Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. All tips are investigated.
54-year-old Carroll Lee Fagan of 38th Avenue N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 7:30 last night on two felony counts each of obtaining property by false pretenses and embezzlement of state property by public officers & employees, plus two misdemeanor counts of failure to deliver a title.
Fagan was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $64,000 secured bond. Fagan faces numerous additional charges related to embezzlement, improper tags and titles and more. He has court dates set for May 18 and July 27.
The Greater Hickory Jaycees Distinguished Service Awards ceremony was held last night (Thursday, May 11) at Catawba Country Club. The event opened with comments from Jaycees President Colleen Anderson and Catawba County Board of Commissioners Chairman Randy Isenhower, followed by the awards presentations.
Jeff Kanupp, a Battalion Chief with the Hickory Fire Department was named the Outstanding Firefighter. Morganton Public Safety Officer Joey Belanger was honored as the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer. Paramedic and CVCC EMS instructor Rick Reed was named the Outstanding Emergency Medical Person. Hickory High School Senior Will Pitts was honored as the Outstanding Teen.
Hickory Soup Kitchen Executive Director Austin Pearce was recognized as the Non-Profit Professional of the Year. Rex Benfield, the President of Prodigy Voice & Data was named as Business Person of the Year. Dr. Mary Lesser of Lenoir-Rhyne University was the recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award. And Dawn Barger, an EC Teacher for St. Stephens High School was named as the Outstanding Educator.
The Iredell County Sheriff's Office is continuing to seek suspects on it's Most Wanted List.
52-year-old Phillip Berryman is wanted for fail to report a new address as a sex offender. Berryman's last known address was 109 Regatta Lane in Mooresville.
39-year-old Misty Chilton is wanted for a felony custody order violation. Chilton's last known address was 4132 Emily Drive in Hamptonville.
24-year-old Norman Chambers is wanted for felony interfere with an electronic monitoring device. Chambers' last known address was 529 Park Drive in Statesville.
You can see the entire list of suspects wanted in Iredell County at the Sheriff's Office website, www.iredellsheriff.com. If you have any information on any of the suspects on the list, call the Sheriff's Office at their Statesville office, 704-878-3180, or at the Mooresville office, 704-664-7500.
42-year-old Joshua Lee Starnes of Mt. Beulah Road in Maiden was arrested Thursday (May 11) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of larceny and possession of stolen goods or property. Starnes was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court date was set for Monday (May 15).
The Catawba and Caldwell County Boards of Commissioners will both meet Monday evening (May 15).
During the Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board will hear a departmental report from the Utilities and Engineering Department. The presentation will be about House Bill 630 regarding water lines for unserved properties within one-half mile of the Marshall Steam Station's Coal Ash Basins. Catawba Commissioners will also hear a Manager's report on the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget. There will also be presentations for Emergency Medical Services Week, and from the Catawba County Youth Council. Monday's Catawba County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room at the 1924 Courthouse, 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
During the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting there will be three public hearings held, all to receive feedback on Economic Development Incentives. The initiatives are named Project Buzzerbeater, which will create 25 new jobs, Project O'Ryan, which will result in 10 new jobs, and Project Zephyr, which is expected to result in 60 new jobs. In addition Monday night, the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget Message will be presented. Monday's Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. in the City/County Meeting Room at the Alden E. Starnes Administration Building in Lenoir.
Six people have been charged following a shooting incident in Alexander County.
At about 4:15 Wednesday morning (May 10), Alexander County 9-1-1 took a call regarding a shooting on Zeb Watts Road in the Ellendale Community. The caller said a 15-year-old male had shot himself. Officers arrived on the scene and found a white male with an apparent gunshot wound to the abdomen. The victim was transported by Alexander County E.M.S. to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory where he underwent surgery. Witnesses told Police that the victim and other teenagers had three firearms lying on a swivel stool. The victim grabbed a 9mm pistol from the stool, causing the firearm to discharge, injuring the victim.
On Thursday (May 11) 68-year-old Connie Mack Brown and 63-year-old Sharon Melinda Brown, both of Taylorsville, were arrested and charged with one count apiece of misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Both were placed in jail under a $5,000 secured bond with District Court appearances scheduled for June 26.
17-year-old Andrew John Brown, 17-year-old Juan Luis Gonzalez Shanchez, 20-year-old Cody Mack Barnes, and 22-year-old Garrett Whisnant, all of Taylorsville, were also arrested Thursday. All four suspects are charged with misdemeanor simple possession of schedule VI controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Brown, Shanchez, Barnes, and Whisnant were all given $2,000 secured bonds, they're also scheduled to appear in District Court June 26.
36-year-old Janie Marie Perez of SW Hickory Street in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (May 12) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Perez was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for Monday (May 15).
32-year-old Jerry Robert Sanders of Hayes Place NW in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (May 11) by authorities in Caldwell County. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Sanders was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for May 23.
Thursday (May 11) at approximately 2:40 p.m., Mayor Rudy Wright was found deceased at his home.
“It is with deepest sorrow, that I must inform you of the untimely passing of Mayor Rudy Wright today at his home,” said City Manager Warren Wood said in a news release from the city. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. While the Hickory Police Department is conducting an investigation, at this time there are no indications of suspicious circumstances. I ask that you respect the family’s privacy and allow them time to grieve.”
U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, who represents the 10th District, issued a statement Thursday evening regarding Mayor Wright's passing. "Giulia and I are shocked and saddened to learn of Mayor Wright's sudden passing. Mayor Wright was synonymous with Hickory, displaying his love for the city during the entirety of his nearly two decades of service as mayor. His tenure was marked by significant economic transformation in our area, throughout which Mayor Wright always remained the city's biggest advocate and booster. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Donna and the entire Wright family as they mourn this loss."
Additional information will be released as it becomes available. Mayor Rudy Wright had served as Hickory’s Mayor since 2001.
A stabbing incident is under investigation by the Hickory Police Department. Very few details have been released in this case. Hickory Police report the incident occurred at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday (May 10) in a business parking lot on 29th Avenue Drive NE, near Sandy Ridge Road. The individual stabbed is reported to be a male resident of Hiddenite. The extent of his injuries was not disclosed. The stabbing is reported to be the result of a domestic dispute. No other details were released, Hickory Police are continuing to investigate the case.
65-year-old Billy Joe Henry of “F” Avenue S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 9:45 yesterday morning (May 10) in connection to a case out of Charlotte. He was charged with one felony count each of first-degree rape, attempted murder and kidnapping, plus one misdemeanor count of assault on a female.
Henry was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for May 15 in Charlotte.
At about 4:15 Wednesday morning (May 10), Alexander County 9-1-1 took a call regarding a shooting on Zeb Watts Road in the Ellendale Community. The caller said a 15-year-old male had shot himself.
Officers arrived on the scene and found a white male with an apparent gunshot wound to the abdomen. The victim was transported by Alexander County E.M.S. to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory where he underwent surgery.
Witnesses told Police that the victim and other teenagers had three firearms lying on a swivel stool. The victim grabbed a 9mm pistol from the stool, causing the firearm to discharge, injuring the victim.
The investigation is early stages.
59-year-old Dennis James Mcelrath was arrested Wednesday (May 10) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of controlled substance in prison or jail. Mcelrath was being held in jail in Morganton under $57,000 secured bond on the drug count and two previously filed failure to appear charges. He's scheduled to appear in Superior Court June 5.
26-year-old Brandon Michael Beatty of North Main Avenue in Newton was arrested Wednesday (May 10) by Probation and Parole officers. He's charged with three counts of felony probation violation. Beatty was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $20,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (May 15).
25-year-old Ryan Dale Sigmon of Beach Road in Hudson was arrested Wednesday (May 10) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Sigmon was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 11).
29-year-old Joshua Erik Moore was arrested last Thursday (May 4) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with two felony counts of indecent liberties with a child.
According to a news release issued Wednesday (May 10), on March 3, 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 Patrick Dixson of the Special Victim’s Unit. The child was interviewed along with several additional witnesses. As a result of the investigation, Joshua Erik Moore was arrested and charged.
Following his arrest, Moore was taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where he was processed and given a $25,000 secure bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for August 25.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing teenager. On Tuesday (May 9), a missing person’s report was filed with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for 15-year-old Justin Ryan Shoemake of Vale.
The teen was last seen at approximately 10:00 p.m Tuesday in western Lincoln County. Shoemake does not have his cell phone and told friends he was running away from home. His destination is unknown but he has family in Tennessee. The missing teen is described as a white male, 5 feet tall and weighing around 120 pounds. He has blond hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Justin Ryan Shoemake is asked to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050 or the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202.