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Seacrest, Fla— A 6-year-old golden retriever is back in cool temperatures after being accidentally locked inside his family’s vehicle in Seacrest Beach.

“Doodle” was eager to go on a ride in the family’s SUV Monday afternoon. So eager, in fact, that he snuck in through an open door while his owner was getting chairs out of the roof cargo box on top of the vehicle. His owner’s left for the beach not knowing the dog was inside.

Thanks to Seacrest security and some passerby’s they noticed the dog stuck in the car with the temperature inside rising by the minute. Deputy Pat Colbert happened to be conducting a security check in the area when he was flagged down. He observed the dog inside the vehicle panting heavily, shedding, and showing fatigue.

Colbert quickly got the vehicle unlocked and let the golden retriever out; giving him some much needed fresh air and water. The dog recovered at a neighbor’s home until the owners could be located.

“It’s critical during hot weather to double and triple check your vehicles before leaving them for an extended period of time,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “We want to do whatever we can to prevent tragedies.”

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Another successful Teen Driver Challenge is in the books for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

Eight students from schools all across Walton County attended the two day course held at Freeport High School Friday and Saturday.

“The kids showed up and we’re excited to learn new skills,” said School Resource Deputy, and organizer of the TDC for WCSO, David Talley.

The Teen Driver Challenge course, which is offered at no cost to students, provides the knowledge and hands-on experience to reduce the chances of being involved in a crash. It

The defensive driving program covers various topics including:

  • Vehicle Dynamics
  • Human Factors
  • Responsibility and Liability
  • Effects of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Night Driving
  • Aggressive Driving


For the kids, it was no secret; the skid recovery with the skid rings were a big hit.

“I think it’s safe to say, this was the best class of drivers we’ve had,” said Talley. “All the school resource deputies were all very impressed.”

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The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking information on the following subjects wanted out of our jurisdiction;

Tiffany Michelle Bennett– White female, 37 YOA, 5’06”, 120 lbs., Brown hair, Green eyes.   This subject is wanted on a Felony Violation of Probation warrant for the original charge of Possession of a controlled substance.  She was last seen in Walton County Florida.

Douglas Junior Martin– Black male, 56 YOA, 5’08”, 170 lbs., Black hair, Brown eyes.   This subject is wanted 3 MM warrants for Failure to Appear, a MM Probable cause warrant and a Felony warrant for Burglary of a Dwelling, unarmed.   He was last seen in Walton County Florida.

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UPDATE: The victim of a stabbing early Friday morning has died.

The 26 year old victim is Sandy James Berlin of  Alabama. He and Jefferson Helton ,26, were involved in an altercation on LaGrange Road just after midnight Friday morning. Berlin was stabbed several times in the chest. He was transported to an area hospital and died Saturday.

Deputies searched for Helton who fled from the scene on foot. He was apprehended Friday afternoon.

Charges are still pending the conclusion of the investigation.


With the help of a Good Samaritan, a stabbing suspect is now in custody following an incident on LaGrange Road in Freeport.

Jefferson Charles Michael Helton, 26, was transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the altercation with the victim. He then fled the scene on foot.

Helton approached a nearby residence asking for cigarettes and water. The Good Samaritan, recognizing he was probably the suspect, acted like he was going to take him the store and drove him right to a nearby deputy.

“We certainly don’t encourage any resident approach a suspect,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “But, we appreciate his help. The situation ended as well as it could have.”

Following his treatment at a local hospital Helton will be booked into the Walton County Jail. His charges are pending the conclusion of the investigation. He is currently being held on his Violation of Probation out of Escambia County.


Just after midnight Friday Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on LaGrange Road in reference to a victim who was stabbed.

The victim was brought to a nearby gas station by witnesses at the scene and was transported to an area hospital before deputies arrived. He suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest and was transported in critical condition. A deputy was sent to the hospital following the patient being transported.

The suspect, identified as Jefferson Charles Michael Helton, 26, of Cantonment fled the scene and is still at large at this time.

Helton has a Felony Violation of Probation for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon out of Escambia County.

Deputies are still in the area of Lagrange Road BOLOing the area.

We ask that any residents in the area do NOT approach him and immediately call 911 if he is spotted.

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Following a month long donation drive and a five hour trek driving a  U-haul full of supplies a handful of Walton County Sheriff’s Office employees delivered much needed relief to Baton Rouge Tuesday.

Lieutenant Angie Hogeboom initiated efforts by rallying the community to donate everything from clothes, air mattresses, toiletries and more. The response was overwhelming.

“What really prompted the idea was hearing about displaced officers because of the flooding,” said Lieutenant Hogeboom. “We just had to help them and the communities that they serve.” 

The Walton County community was up to the task filling the lobby of WCSO’s North Administration office in less than a month. Grant Blackwell, owner of Coastal Insurance, personally rented a U-Haul for deputies to drive to Louisiana.


Deputies making the drive to Baton Rouge were greeted by officers from Baton Rouge Police Department.

“Everyone was so thankful,” said Hogeboom. “This was just a small gesture. It was the least we could do.”

All those making the trip to New Orleans will return to Walton County Wednesday.



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The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking information on the following subjects wanted out of our jurisdiction;
Larry Gerald Carter– White male, 43 Years of age. This subject is wanted on a Felony Failure to Appear warrant on the original charge of Carrying a Concealed Weapon.  He was last seen in Walton County Florida.
William Alfred Pearson– White male, 51 Years of age, 6’02”, 170 lbs., Red hair, Blue eyes.  This subject is wanted on 2 Felony warrants. One for Theft over $300.00 but less $5,000.00, Uttering a False Instrument, and Counterfeiting a Bank Bill/ Draft Note.   The second warrant is for Felony Theft over $300.00 but less than $5,000.00.   He was last seen in Walton County Florida.
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DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A little league coach is behind bars after investigators discover he is actively soliciting to engage in sexual acts with girls as young as 10 years old.

On August 20th a concerned citizen from Walton County came forward to report a suspect trying to solicit her via social media to allow him to perform sexual acts with her minor children for money.


Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigators confirmed 27-year-old Jason Cody Hughes was using two fake social media profiles to solicit mothers to allow their children to perform sexual acts for tens of thousands of dollars.

Using undercover methods WCSO Investigators were able to confirm the information and actively engage Hughes as he asked, graphically and specifically, to solicit a 10-year-old for sex and sent child porn already in his possession.

Hughes is a coach for DeFuniak Springs Little League based out of Walton County.

“He was entrusted to coach girls who were in his target age group,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “And in the most despicable and disgusting way possible he betrayed that trust.”

Hughes was arrested on September 15th on charges of using a computer to solicit parent/guardian consent to engage in sexual conduct with a child, directly promoting sexual performance by a child, and transmission of child pornography via electronic device – all felonies. He was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. This investigation is still ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.

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For Immediate Release

July 25, 2016

Walton County, Fla— For the second year in a row the Walton County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for kids to head back to school by holding a backpack drive benefiting those in need in our community.Through August 5th WCSO will be collecting back packs and other school supplies needed for Walton County students to attend classes. We encourage citizens to drop off any donations to our north and south end offices in Santa Rosa Beach and DeFuniak Springs. WCSO will also be participating inner agency.On the day of August 5th WCSO will hold two separate pick-up events at the Boys & Girls Clubs in the north and south end of the county. The first will be at the DeFuniak Springs Boys & Girls Club at 9am Friday August 5th and the second will be at the Santa Rosa Beach Boys & Girls Club at 2pm.


DeFuniak Springs Teen Club                                                               South Walton Youth Club

850-892-3752                                                                                      850-622-0602

435 N 9th St.                                                                                       427 Greenway Trail

DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433                                                               Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549

“We look forward to giving kids a boost of confidence as they hit the books for the new school year,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Let’s make this the best year yet.”

All donations will be accepted during our normal office hours.

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Curry Mug Shot

For Immediate Release

July 16, 2016

DeFuniak Springs, FLA— A burglar is behind bars thanks to the brave acts of a 17-year-old.

Buddy Lee Curry, 41, is being held on a $105,000 bond after breaking into a home in DeFuniak Springs and sexually battering a teenager. Curry entered the house on Walnut Drive early Friday morning armed with a pocket knife and took several items including an air compressor, chop saw, 2 wallets, and a bottle of prescription pills. There were also additional items such as lap tops and air tools which he was attempting to take from the home.While inside the residence Curry went into the 17-year-old’s bedroom and exposed himself, got on top of the victim, put his hands around the victim’s throat and threatened their life if they attempted to scream. During the encounter Curry touched the victim inappropriately. The teenager was able to get away from Curry and wake up the parents who then confronted Curry inside the residence.A struggle ensued between the victim’s father and Curry who then fled the scene in a light colored SUV. Deputies caught up with the suspect at Highway 90 West and Girl Scout Road after being positively identified by the victim from the back of an ambulance.

“She is a very, very brave girl,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “She acted courageously during an incredibly awful situation.”

On his person Curry was in possession of a labeled prescription bottle belonging to the victim’s father, a screw driver, and yellow handle pliers – all taken from the home.While being booked into the Walton County Jail it was discovered Curry was also in possession of small metal tin containing methamphetamine and Oxycodone pills.Later, Curry was also positively identified as the suspect in an attempted burglary where he tried stealing an ATV from a residence on Highway 90 West.Curry is being charged with sexual battery on a person under the age of 18, burglary with battery, grand theft, battery, introduction of contraband into a jail, possession of a controlled substance, and grand theft auto.

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For Immediate Release

July 18, 2016

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— A frantic mother calls 911 to report accidently locking the keys to her car inside her vehicle with her 19-month-old baby still inside.On Saturday July 16th at around 1:30pm deputies were called to the intersection of County Highway 30a and Ryan Street in Seagrove Beach. A mother had inadvertently locked her key fob in her truck with the engine running and her child inside. The air conditioning was running at the time, but the fob had an automatic shut off time of 15 minutes.While deputies were en route the truck shut off and the outside temperature was 90 degrees. Deputies Eric Alexander, Eric Traugott, and Wesley Barnhill arrived at the scene along with South Walton Fire Department. The three deputies worked diligently to unlock the vehicle with SWFD monitored the child’s condition.After just minutes the truck was unlocked and the child was reunited with her mother. SWFD checked and cleared the child.

“Our deputies were able to quickly work to open the door,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Our first responders work miracles every day.”


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