Untitled design (18)For Immediate Release

October 3, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Seven suspects are responsible for more than 50 car burglaries in Walton County, which include five stolen handguns from unlocked vehicles.

Six arrests have been made regarding 49 vehicle burglaries that occurred between August and September of this year.  One additional suspect has been identified as Elden Boksila, 14, but left the country before investigators could reach him for questioning.

Of the seven suspects identified, three are juveniles.

Tyjuan James Lee, 18, Santa Rose Beach

Jonathon Russell, 19, Fort Walton Beach

Felipe Da Silva Piraja, 24, Freeport

Devon Welch, 18, Santa Rose Beach

Anthony Dobbs, 17, Santa Rose Beach

Jamal Jackson, 17, Fort Walton Beach

(Active Warrants) Elden Boksila, 14, Destin

In these cases, five handguns were stolen and three have been recovered. In addition, a firearm stolen out of Niceville was also recovered.

“These kids are breaking into cars to find cash and guns,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “And they’re finding them in unlocked vehicles.”

Charges stemming from these cases include armed burglary, unarmed burglary, grand theft, arson and petit theft.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to lock their vehicles and take their belongings out of their car to prevent becoming a victim of these crimes.

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October 2, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— For the first time, Walton County Sheriff’s Office is incorporating the use of EMTs and paramedics at the Walton County Jail.

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics have the experience and skill in emergency situations that can be critical to preserving life in a jail environment. That’s why Walton County Sheriff’s Office has offered the opportunity for Walton County Fire Rescue EMTs and paramedics to serve even further.

Some of the main job duties involve responding to emergencies, performing critical medical intervention, evaluating new intakes, and transporting patients to medical facilities. They are vital in identifying inmates coming into the facility that may require medical attention. In addition, they can quickly identify signs of overdose, diabetes, and any other serious medical diagnosis.DSC_1007

“These men and women have field experience that gives them insight to handling all types of situations that may arise,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “This will not only benefit inmates and the nursing staff at the facility, but will ease the burden of tax payers as well.”

Nineteen have signed up for the detail at the jail. After participating in on-the-job training, approximately ten Walton County Fire Rescue EMTs and paramedics are currently taking shifts at the jail to assist.

“It’s a partnership that makes sense for everyone,” said Adkinson.

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September 29, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla—Eleven people die every day in the state of Florida from opioids. While the average is alarming, it’s a problem that isn’t just a risk for one demographic.

 “We all know someone or have a loved one who is affected by addiction,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “No one is immune.”

It’s a sight deputies in Walton County have witnessed numerous times; a drug overdose involving someone’s mother, father, son, or daughter. Then, the notification to family and friends is not far behind.

“It happens all too often,” said Adkinson. “It’s one of the toughest things we do.”

In May Governor Rick Scott declared a statewide public health emergency for the opioid epidemic, which allowed Florida to immediately draw down more than $27 million in federal grant funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Specifically, the federal funds will allow treatment and referral by courts to be evaluated for treatment of a substance abuse disorder. Treatments like VIVITROL, a non-narcotic medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to be used as a treatment alternative, along with counseling, for alcohol and opioid addiction. This medication is the only extended-release medication approved by the FDA for this purpose.

Although this medication has been available since 2014 it has been cost prohibitive due to the lack of third party insurance or Medicaid coverage. VIVITROL is a non-addictive antagonist, used to block opioid receptors so they cannot be activated.  It diminishes the cravings yet does not give a high.  The medication is administered monthly.

Now, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Chautauqua Healthcare Services to identify inmates at the Walton County Jail who could benefit from the treatment before their release. Upon their return to the community Chautauqua Healthcare Services will provide intensive outpatient treatment, case management, employment and housing assistance in addition to their monthly injections.

“On a regular basis we have family members and friends come to us desperate to help someone they care about,” said Rachel Gillis of Chautauqua Healthcare Services.  “Until now we have had little to offer beyond residential services they cannot afford and our outpatient services.

“I believe VIVITROL will give us the ability, for the first time, to help more than we have ever been able to in the past,” said Gillis.

On October 4th Chautauqua Healthcare Services and Walton County Sheriff’s Office will have a short ceremony and an official announcement discussing the VIVITROL partnership at Bogey’s Restaurant at 660 Baldwin Avenue in DeFuniak Springs.

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We stand united against evil and will continue to stand between our citizens and those who wish to do them harm.
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For Immediate Release

September 29, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla — Local firefighters help a mother give birth to a baby girl in the back of an ambulance Wednesday.

Just before 5:00 PM, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a call in reference to a 21-year-old woman who was in labor. Walton County Fire Rescue Medic 4 arrived on scene to find the woman lying on her side in her bed. The patient stated that she was 37 weeks pregnant and experiencing contractions.

While being transported to a local hospital, Walton County Fire Rescue Firefighter/Paramedic Austin Pugh and Firefighter/EMT Dawson Beale helped the DeFuniak Springs woman give birth to a baby girl weighing 6 lbs. 5 oz.

“These are the moments that make it all worth it,” says Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Many times, first responders deal with incidents with unfortunate outcomes, so when you get to experience a blessing like this, it reminds you why you do what you do.”

Firefighter/Paramedic Pugh and Firefighter/EMT Beale stopped by the hospital yesterday to visit with the family. The mother and baby are happy and healthy.

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Bogle PhotoFor Immediate Release

September 29, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Mental health is now being addressed head-on at the Walton County Jail.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office has hired a Mental Health Treatment Manager who is assisting in developing a substance abuse and mental health treatment program for inmates.

“It’s a population that has a really strong need,” said Tamara Bogle, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida.

Originally from Panama City, Florida Bogle is a Mosley High School graduate. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Florida State University and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.

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“The majority of jails just assess and stabilize,” said Bogle. “It turns into a catch and release program. What we’re trying to do is assess, stabilize and treat.”

Bogle’s goal is to head off the problem by providing services within the walls of the jail that will help reduce recidivism before inmates return to their communities.

“We want to make sure we are helping people while they are here so they don’t find themselves coming back to us,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “This is yet another step in reducing the cycle of incarceration.”

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Intensive group therapy coupled with individual sessions Bogle describes the method as restructuring the way each individual thinks so that they can handle situations on their own when facing difficult circumstances.


“They have made mistakes, they’ve made bad decisions and I don’t think any of them would deny that,” said Bogle. “But, these are good people and all of them have an opportunity to change. They just need a little help getting there.

Tamara has over eight years of experience providing clinical services within the correctional field, and is excited to build a comprehensive mental health treatment program within the Walton County Jail.

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Sound Training PICFor Immediate Release

September 26, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Walton County Jail inmates will now have a chance at learning to read and write.

“We find that a lot of the population in our jail is either way below reading level or functionally illiterate,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

That’s why Walton County Sheriff’s Office is in the beginning stages of implementing “Sound Training Reform”. Created in Middlesbrough, England the reading program is proven to increase reading ages of participants by an average of 27 months in just six weeks. The Walton County Jail is the first incarceration facility in the United States to pilot the program.

Sound training consists of six, one hour sessions delivered over a six week period. A tutor, trained by the program’s founder and creator Katy Parkinson, leads a group of four inmates through a variety of activities designed to close the literacy gap.

As well as improving inmate’s reading ability and comprehension, Sheriff Adkinson hopes the program will reduce recidivism.

“What we’ve done is try to determine the needs of the inmates and how to make them successful,” said Adkinson. “For anyone to be successful in life it’s critical they have the ability to read and write.”

“Reading is hopefully part of the jigsaw puzzle that will allow them to reintegrate into the community,” said Parkinson. “And, hopefully, give something back,”

“This is another step in trying to break the cycle of incarceration,” said Adkinson.

The first four inmates have been selected to be a part of the program’s pilot at the Walton County Jail and have already begun participating in the training phase.

Learn more about Sound Training and Lexonik, it’s parent company, here.


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TERRY MUG SHOTFor Immediate Release

September 25, 2017

Paxton, Fla— A third suspect identified in a home invasion robbery in Paxton is behind bars.

Anthony Antron Wilkins, 35, was the first arrested September 20th for his involvement in the June 27th incident when he and two others, Vance Gettis and Dawellyne Terry, robbed a home healthcare nurse at gunpoint.

The three men kicked in the front door of a house on Richerson Road around 10pm and struck the victim in the face, made her strip, and zip tied her hands together. The suspects disassembled the victim’s phone and ransacked the home searching for valuables before fleeing the scene.

“No one should have to go through what this victim experienced,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

Shortly after the incident Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to identify the three suspects.Home Invasion.jpg

The third suspect Dawellyne Terry, 22, turned himself in to the Walton County Jail this afternoon. He is charged with home invasion robbery with a firearm, a first degree felony. Anthony Wilkins was released from the Walton County Jail today on a $50,000 bond. Gettis is currently incarcerated in Covington County on unrelated charges and his extradition is pending.

“The hard work by our investigators put this case to rest,” said Adkinson. “Now the courts will decide their fate.”


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For Immediate Release

September 21, 2017

Bruce, Fla— James Farrell Davis, Jr., 58, of Bruce has been sentenced to life in prison after shooting his neighbor during an altercation over dogs he claimed were missing from his home.

On May 21, 2014 Davis approached a female neighbor and accused her of taking his dogs that were missing. A male resident of the home heard a commotion and walked outside to find Davis pointing a shotgun at the female victim. Davis turned the gun on the male victim and threatened to kill him.

When the male resident retreated to his house to protect the three children inside, Davis followed him to the doorway and attempted to enter the home while pointing the shotgun at the victim. The two began to struggle when the gun went off, firing a round into the male resident’s abdomen. The victim quickly grabbed a hammer and smashed Davis over the head until he could rid him of his shotgun.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on scene to find Davis wounded on the front porch armed with a handgun. Deputies quickly secured the gun and detained the shooter. Walton County Fire Rescue paramedics treated the victim and the shooter at the scene before transporting them to a local hospital. Davis was later booked into the Walton County Jail where he awaited trial.

On Tuesday, Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells sentenced James Farrell Davis, Jr. to life in prison for attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, burglary with a firearm and shooting into a building.

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For Immediate Release

September 20, 2017

Paxton, Fla— Three suspects have been identified and two men are behind bars following an investigation into a home invasion robbery in Paxton.

On June 27th, around 10:00 PM, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at a home on Richerson Road regarding a home invasion robbery with a firearm. The victim told deputies around 9:30PM three masked men armed with handguns kicked in the front door of the home where she worked as a home Healthcare Nurse.

The victim was then struck in the face with the handgun, made to strip, and her hands zip tied together. The suspects disassembled the victim’s phone and ransacked the house searching for valuables before fleeing the scene.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office Investigators were able to identify three suspects including Vance Gary Gettis, 29, of Paxton, Florida and Anthony Antron Wilkins, 35, of Florala, Alabama.

“These investigators refused to give up on this case,” says Sheriff Michael Adkinson, “and because of their hard work and dedication, three dangerous men have been identified.”

Anthony Wilkins has been arrested on outstanding warrants for his involvement in the robbery home invasion with a firearm and was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail where he is being held on a $50,000 bond. Vance Gettis is currently incarcerated in Covington County on unrelated charges and his extradition is pending. This is still an ongoing investigation and a third arrest is expected.

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