LITTLE LEAGUE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP RING RECOVERED FOLLOWING BURGLARY

LittleLeagueRingFor Immediate Release

July 6, 2017

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— A 9-year-old boy just a week away from competing in the Little League World Series in Louisiana will now have his championship ring back thanks to the quick work of Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Thursday morning, around 8am deputies responded to a report of a car burglary on Magnolia Creek Road in Santa Rosa Beach that occurred overnight. Missing from the vehicle was a $900 DJI Drone, a bat bag with around $500 worth of baseball equipment, and a Louisiana Little League State Championship ring.

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Most of the items belong to the 9-year-old son of the victim who plays for the 9U Louisiana Knights out of Mandeville, Louisiana. His team recently won the ring playing in the Mid Summer Games Championship.

During their investigation patrol units discovered footprints leading away from the crime scene to a residence on Pepper Tree Road. The tenant of the residence was questioned and advised Stephen Grant, 29, came by her residence in the early morning hours asking her if she wanted to see his new drone. Investigators located Grant at his residence off 1st Street and his sneakers matched the same unique footprints found at the crime scene and on Pepper Tree Road.

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Grant later admitted to the burglary post Miranda and gave the locations of all the items, including the championship ring, which were recovered just hours after the burglary took place.

“This was great police work,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Not to mention the professionalism displayed by our deputies in creating a positive relationship with the victims in the case and getting back something with such sentimental value.”

Grant was arrested for burglary and grand theft and transported to the Walton County Jail without incident. He was recently released from jail on June 19th on violation of probation charges.

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CRIME STOPPERS WEEKLY WANTED

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

Mark Robert Fitzgerald– White male, 42 YOA, 6’, 180 lbs., Brown hair, Brown eyes.   This subject is wanted on 2 Felony Larceny warrants over $300.00 but less that 10K and one Felony Warrant for Contracting Without a License.  He was last seen in Walton County Florida.

Jerrick Marwan Sumlin– Black male, 5’7”, 150 lbs., Black hair, Brown eyes.  This subject is wanted on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant for the original offence of Hinder, Delay, Deprive, Prevent a Victim Communication with Law Enforcement.  He was last seen in Walton County Florida.

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WCFR HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF SAFETY THIS 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND

The 4th of July and fireworks go hand-in-hand. Walton County Fire Rescue would like to remind everyone to stay safe while celebrating Independence Day this weekend!

Not all fireworks are legal in the state of Florida. So, we encourage everyone to leave the big stuff, anything that explodes, lifts or flies, to the professionals. Fireworks that are approved for use by consumers include sparklers, small fireworks that emit color smoke only and glow worms.
“Our main concern is personal safety,” says Fire Chief Russell Beaty. “We want people to have fun this weekend, but we can’t emphasize enough the importance of taking safety precautions, especially when fireworks are involved.”
 
When lighting fireworks, be sure to do it away from any type of structure to avoid structure fires, have a water bucket or hose nearby and keep pets inside or at a safe distance from where the fireworks are being lit.
 
For a full list of fireworks approved for consumer use, CLICK HERE
 
For more fireworks safety tips, CLICK HERE
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DISPUTE RESOLVED PEACEFULLY AFTER NEARLY 10 HOURS

19648320_10101095387383782_233635148_oFor Immediate Release

June 30, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— One man is in custody following a domestic dispute that lasted nearly 11 hours starting Thursday night.

Deputies responded to 10917 US 331 North around 7:50pm after a gun was fired during an argument.

Howard Edward Johnson, 65, and his grandson got into a verbal disagreement leading to the display of weapons and the discharge of at least one into the air. Shortly after, Johnson locked himself inside the home along with his wife.  The grandson left the area when Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded.

Hostage negotiators attempted to establish communications with Johnson and SWAT was called to the scene. The wife was released from the home at 4:00 am. Johnson surrendered and exited the house at 6:47am.

Johnson was arrested and transported to the Walton County Jail without incident. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery.

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WCSO LAUNCHES MINI-DOCUMENTARY ON RIP CURRENT DANGER

Daughter of father who drowned is featured, shares her story

For Immediate Release

June 29, 2017

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is undertaking a signature project focused on water safety during the coming months, starting with a mini-documentary featuring the daughter of a man who died in a rip current.

Ken Brindley of Arkansas was an athletic, beloved 37-year-old married father of two when he jumped in the waters off Grayton Beach to join several others in an attempt to save another father and his son stuck in rip current, yelling for help.

His daughter, Madeline Brindley, now a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, is featured in the film. She was 6 years old in 2003 when her father was rescued. He was transported to the hospital, and on life-support for two days. The man he was trying to save drowned.

Walton County established lifeguard stations along the beaches in 2006.

Madeline Brindley has become widely recognized as a champion of water safety of all types—and wrote a children’s book to help spur families to talk about the issue.

“The video is powerful, moving, and very valuable,” Sheriff Adkinson said. “Every family that resides here or visits Walton County’s beautiful beaches needs to sit down and watch it together, and then talk in-depth about it.”

Sheriff Adkinson said he’s becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of those called in to do water rescues.

“We have our law enforcement and public safety officials risking their lives more and more due to these rescue calls—and so many are preventable because people are ignoring the flag system that I honestly have become very frustrated,” said Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. “Therefore, we are initiating serious attention during the coming months to tackle what is a serious issue—and in order to protect the men and women serving in uniform as well. I would like for both local residents and visitors to help us in a full-court press on this initiative.”

The film was produced by WCSO Special Policy Projects Manager Kelly Layman, in cooperation with Sky Pro Imaging.

“This is an incredible young woman, and a courageous family,” Layman said. “As a community, we are indebted to them for sharing their story in an effort to prevent future tragedies. Most of all, Madeline is proof positive of the sheer impact one young person can make.”

As a high school student and as part of her pageantry platform for Miss Teen Arkansas, Madeline received tremendous community attention for her personal testimony in front of many groups, plus thousands of hours devoted to water safety community events across the Midwest. She also worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers in Arkansas on lake and boating safety campaigns.

The film was made utilizing the Sheriff’s portion of County tourist development bed tax.

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INMATES GET OPPORTUNITY TO PAVE NEW WAY

19619719_10209700753731065_1502296184_oFor Immediate Release

June 29, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Inmates incarcerated at the Walton County Jail were given a unique opportunity to plan for their return to the community Friday.

Career Source of Okaloosa Walton in conjunction with Emerald Coast Technical College put on a career day bringing their mobile unit to the jail off Triple G Road in DeFuniak Springs.

The event was aimed at teaching inmates about the federal bonding program, different types of eligibility for financial aid, and careers accessible to them regardless of their criminal record.

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“The idea is to get these folks thinking about getting away from the life that got them here,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “If there is one or two who see the opportunity to change their life and do it – we’ve done our job.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently providing vocational and technical learning opportunities to inmates while serving their sentences to help them create a pathway to enroll in at vo-techs like Emerald Coast Technical College once they are released.

Twenty inmates from both Walton and Escambia Counties participated in the event.

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SEVERAL CARS KEYED AT TERRAMAR APARTMENTS IN SANTA ROSA BEACH

Scratches 1For Immediate Release

June 28, 2017

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— Multiple vehicles sustain damages after owners find their cars have been keyed at a Santa Rosa Beach apartment complex.

From May 11th to June 26th three victims reported their cars have been keyed in the parking lot of TerraMar apartments on Dune Lakes Circle. It is possible that more victims may exist, but have not reported the damages to Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

These crimes are occurring at night and it is unknown if suspects live in the area or not.

Scratches 2Anyone with information is asked to contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at (850)-892-8111 or you can remain anonymous by calling Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 863-TIPS. Submit a web tip at http://www.emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.

Potential victims may also call the non-emergency line to report damages to your vehicle.

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THREE SUSPECTS SOUGHT IN HOME INVASION ROBBERY

Home Invasion.jpgFor Immediate Release

June 28, 2017

Laurel Hill, Fla— An investigation is launched after three men kick down the door of a home in northern Walton County and hold a woman at gunpoint.

At 10:30 pm Tuesday night deputies responded to a home on Richerson Road following a 911 call regarding a home invasion robbery.

Deputies found the victim, who is a home Healthcare Nurse, frightened with injuries. She told deputies at around 10 o’clock the front door was kicked in and three males wearing black gloves, long sleeve shirts, and masks entered the house armed with handguns. The victim stated they were possibly wearing stockings to cover their eyes and mouths.

When they entered the house the victim was struck in the face, with what she believes was a gun, knocking her unconscious. When she regained consciousness the suspects made her strip and zip tied her hands.

Several bedrooms in the house were ransacked. The suspects took the victim’s cell phone and disassembled it in the house. Found in the front yard was a large fixed blade knife taken from under the homeowner’s bed. Due to the possibility the suspects left on foot Walton County Correctional and Okaloosa K9 Units responded to the scene. However, a track could not be found.

She describes one of the males as being shorter and heavy set, weighing 280-300 pounds, and two of them as tall and slender.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at (850)-892-8111 or you can remain anonymous by calling Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers at (850) 863-TIPS. Submit a web tip at http://www.emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.

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MISSOURI MAN ARRESTED AFTER THREATENING WALTON COUNTY TDC EMPLOYEE WITH GUN

For Immediate Release 

June 26, 2017

Walton County, Fla – A Missouri man was arrested early Monday morning after threatening a Walton County Tourist Development Council employee with a gun.

Around 2:45 this morning, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about a verbal disturbance on the beach in Inlet Beach. When WCSO deputies arrived on scene, the victim stated he had been collecting items left on the beach after hours when he was confronted by the suspect, later identified as Richard Chase Murray, 43, of Missouri. Murray stood in front of the Walton County TDC employee’s truck pointing a flashlight and a gun at the victim, threatening to shoot him if he did not allow Murray to retrieve his beach tent, cooler and beach chairs out of the back of the truck.

The victim identified himself as a county employee to Murray and explained that he was enforcing Walton County’s Leave No Trace ordinance, which was implemented to reduce environmental impacts on the beaches of South Walton. The suspect continued to threaten to shoot the county employee if he did not give him his property. After retrieving his belongings from the county vehicle, Murray left the scene.

Richard Chase Murray was later located by WCSO deputies and was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and transported to the Walton County Jail.

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SUSPECT BEHIND BARS AFTER BATTERING LOCAL MAN WITH GOLF CLUB

For Immediate Release

June 26, 2017

DeFuniak Springs, Fla – A DeFuniak Springs man has been arrested after attacking a local man with a golf club.

On May 14, 2017 just before 1:00 p.m., the Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a physical altercation in a residential area just off of Highway 83 in DeFuniak Springs. When deputies arrived on scene, the victim stated he and Wilson Junior Mount, 54, were arguing over money when Mount grabbed a golf club and started swinging it towards his head. Mount then swung the golf club again, striking the victim in the back of the legs.

Responding deputies and the WCI K-9 Unit immediately began searching for Wilson Mount, who had fled the scene prior to their arrival, but were unable to track down the suspect.

Wilson Junior Mount was located and arrested on Sunday, June 25, 2017 for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was transported to Walton County Jail.

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