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DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A fugitive on the run for more than a year is arrested in Walton County on additional drug charges after investigators find him with methamphetamine and hydrocodone pills.

Earlier this week the Walton County Sheriff’s Office obtained information on a location for Thomas Robert Spence, 41, who had an active warrant out of Walton County for fleeing and eluding a police officer with lights and sirens and habitual driving on a suspended license. Spence also has a felony violation of probation warrant on drug charges out of Butler County, Alabama.

After conducting surveillance for several days Spence was observed entering a residence on Wee Acres Road in DeFuniak Springs carrying a black zipper pouch. WCSO Investigators and deputies surrounded the house and went in to apprehend Spence who attempted to avoid arrest by jumping through a window at the rear of the residence, but was apprehended by deputies.

Consent to search was given by the two residents for investigators to locate Spence’s bag. Investigators located the bag inside the residence containing methamphetamine, Hydrocodone pills, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

Spence was arrested for the two outstanding warrants and is also charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with a prescription, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested and transported to the Walton County Jail.

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A 16-year-old who stole a car in Walton County leads to a pursuit with Okaloosa Deputies in the early morning hours Wednesday and captured carrying a fully loaded handgun.

Just after 1am Walton County dispatchers received a call from a resident on Dalton Way advising he was in his home when he heard his Dodge Charger start up in the driveway. He told dispatchers he looked out the window and saw the vehicle leaving the driveway. He said the vehicle was traveling toward North Holiday Road. Deputies responded while looking for the vehicle and a BOLO was sent to Okaloosa given the direction of travel and the proximity of the county line.

A short time after Okaloosa advised they were in a vehicle pursuit with the stolen Charger. Less than 10 minutes later OCSO advised the suspect had crashed at Cape Drive near Wright Parkway with two different objects and then a wooden privacy fence where he became lodged and was unable to continue.


The subject fled on foot with Okaloosa County deputies in pursuit. The suspect, a 16-year-old male, was located and placed into custody. A fully loaded semi-auto handgun was located in the suspect’s pocket. He was identified as Eric DeWayne Graves of Ft. Walton Beach.

A records check found that the suspect has an extensive criminal history to include multiple vehicle thefts, narcotics violations, criminal mischief, and burglary. It was further found that Graves has two active warrants for Grand Theft Auto out of Santa Rosa County.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has charged Graves with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, carrying a concealed firearm, resisting arrest without violence, and possession of marijuana less than 20 grams. He is also facing charges in Walton County for Grand Theft Auto related to today’s theft.

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Turn 'em in Tuesday Fitzgerald.JPG

This week’s wanted suspect is 41-year-old Mark Fitzgerald. Fitgerald is wanted by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for grand theft and contracting without a license. We are asking for the public’s help in locating Fitzgerald and bringing him to justice.

You can assist our agency by submitting your tips for CASH by calling Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at 863-TIPS or 888-654-TIPS. You can also TEXT TIP214 plus your message to CRIMES (274637) or submit a web tip at

We will be introducing a new wanted suspect every Tuesday on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @WCSOFL and help us TURN ‘EM IN!

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Miramar Beach, Fla— Three suspects under the age of 20 are behind bars following a retail theft that led to a foot pursuit and the confiscation of two weapons.

Just before 6 o’clock Monday evening a Walton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was performing a security check at Silver Sands Outlet Mall when he was flagged down by employees from Sunglass Hut in reference to three suspects who had just stolen $600 worth of sunglasses and fled in a black vehicle.

The deputy canvassed the area and located the vehicle near South Shore Drive. After initiating a traffic stop the deputy approached the vehicle and immediately smelled an odor of marijuana. The deputy escorted the driver, Jonathon Clark Longe, 20, from the car. While putting the driver in custody the two remaining passengers in the car attempted to flee.

After a short foot pursuit Jakeem DeWayne Peoples, 19, was apprehended with a fully loaded 9mm handgun in his waistband. The weapon returned as stolen out of Crestview. The second passenger 15-year-old Darien Isaiah Hallmon, led deputies back to Silver Sands where he was apprehended.

Upon search of the vehicle a second weapon was found concealed under the front passenger seat. In addition, deputies located powdered cocaine in individuals baggies, scales, and stolen merchandise from Ralph Lauren, Sunglass Hut, and Adidas.

All three are charged with grand theft and resisting arrest without violence. Additionally, Longe and Peoples are charged with dealing in stolen property. Longe is being charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell and Peoples is charged with possession of a concealed weapon.


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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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