For Immediate Release

December 20, 2017

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla— Tuesday morning December 19th, Walton County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of an incident involving the professional misconduct of a deputy.

The incident was immediately investigated by the agency. It was confirmed the deputy improperly used his position to contact a woman who he had previously assisted while on duty on December 17th. The contact was made from his personal phone while off duty December 18th. However, this conduct is beyond the realm of professionalism we demand of our employees and is not to be tolerated.

The deputy, who has worked for the organization less than a year, was called in this morning, relieved of his duties, badge, and weapon and escorted out of the Administrative Offices.

“The position of a Sheriff Deputy is held to a higher standard and is one that requires trust,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “This individual’s blatant disregard of his oath will not be ignored and that is why swift action was taken.”

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December 15, 2017

Paxton, FL – Two juveniles and one adult have been arrested after committing multiple acts of criminal mischief in the Paxton area.

On Friday, December 8, numerous residents along County Highway 147, County Highway 0605 and other residential streets in Paxton began reporting damage to their property. The victims stated their mailboxes had been vandalized between the hours of 9:00 PM and 12:00 AM Friday night. Using surveillance camera footage from a home in the area, Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to identify one of the suspect’s vehicles.

The suspects, two 16-year-old males and one 18-year-old male who resided in North Walton County, were later located and questioned about the criminal mischief acts. All three suspects confessed and were arrested for multiple counts of criminal mischief and booked into the Walton County Jail.


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For Immediate Release 

December 13, 2017

Santa Rosa Beach, FL – A Santa Rosa Beach man was arrested Tuesday night after threatening one victim and firing shots at a second victim during an argument.

Just before 6:00 PM last night, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about a disturbance involving gunshots on Laverne Street in Santa Rosa Beach. The caller stated they heard two gun shots and yelling in the area. When WCSO deputies reached scene, the first victim stated he had just arrived at the second victim’s home when the suspect, Joseph David Hamilton, 53, of Santa Rosa Beach, began calling his name and approached him holding a long gun. The victim quickly hid behind a travel trailer as Hamilton got closer to him. The second victim, Hamilton’s neighbor, called out to the suspect when he heard the disturbance and stated he was recording the incident on his phone.

Hamilton then turned and began arguing with his neighbor. During the argument, the suspect set the long gun on the porch steps of the home. At this time, the neighbor, believing the victim was unarmed, advanced toward Hamilton who pulled out a pistol and pointed it at him. The neighbor quickly turned and began retreating into his home when he heard a single shot fired. The victim ran into his house and fled out the back door into the backyard. The suspect followed his neighbor into the backyard and fired a second shot. Fortunately, both victims walked away unharmed.

Joseph David Hamilton was arrested for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was transported to the Walton County Jail.

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The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a series of criminal mischief incidents that occurred Friday night between 9:00 PM and 12:00 AM in the Paxton area.

Approximately 30 residential mailboxes were vandalized on Flowersview Boulevard, Richerson Road, County Highway 147, Adams Street, Thomas Drive, Turner Street, Davidson Road, County Highway 0605, Nance Road and other residential streets in the area.

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 or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.

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December 12, 2017

Darlington, FL— Firefighters respond to a residential fire to find smoke coming from inside a home in Darlington. Fortunately, no residents were home at the time of the fire.

The resident came home to find smoke coming from inside his house and called for help. Within minutes of the call at 12:40 PM on Monday, December 11th, Walton County Fire Rescue crews arrived at the home to find what appeared to be a fire coming from inside a single story brick home. After turning off the electricity, firefighters entered the home to find black smoke covering the walls of the home. Firefighters soon figured out that the fire was coming from within the kitchen and were able to extinguish the heavy blaze. No victims were located during a quick search of the home. The owner was not present at the time the fire started.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but is believed to be due to electrical issues. Therefore, the home owner was advised to call an electrician to inspect the wiring in the kitchen before turning power back on in the residence.

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For Immediate Release

December 11, 2017

Miramar Beach, FL—The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a suspect involved in a robbery at CVS pharmacy on South Holiday Road in Miramar Beach.

At 10:25 AM on Monday, December 11, 2017, Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call regarding a robbery at CVS pharmacy. Witnesses told investigators that a white male wearing a dark colored jacket and beanie approached the clerk at the pharmacy counter and displayed a note demanding all the Pharmacy’s oxycodone and no one would get hurt. The suspect kept one hand in his pocket, insinuating he was armed.

The suspect left on foot, Walton County Correctional Institute’s K9 Unit responded to the scene. However, a track could not be found. It is possible the suspect may have had access to a vehicle.

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 or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile Application.


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For Immediate Release

December 11, 2017

Freeport, FL— Firefighters respond to a residential fire on McCloud Road and discover a partially engulfed structure, a second structure on the ground and a fully engulfed vehicle nearby.

Within minutes of being dispatched at 10:03 PM on December 10, Walton County Fire Rescue crews along with Eglin Airforce Base Fire Department’s crew from Site C6 arrived on scene and discovered the fire encompassing a portion of the mobile home and a nearby vehicle, as well as a storage trailer that had already collapsed to the ground. Crews quickly jumped into action and were able to knock down the heavy flames. Fortunately, all residents made it out of the home safely and no major injuries were reported.

The State Fire Marshals Office is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire.

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Counterfeit-Xanax-Pills-Containing-Fentanyl-1For Immediate Release

December 7, 2017

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla—  A 15-year-old is arrested following an investigation into the sale of narcotics.

In October of this year, Walton County Sheriff’s Office was notified Brendon Wayne Anderson, 15, was selling a prescription equivalent of Xanax to juveniles in Walton and neighboring counties. An investigation was launched and investigators were able to confirm the information.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and Anderson was picked up at his home in Santa Rosa Beach on December 6th. Anderson was charged with the sale of a controlled substance, which is a third-degree felony. After screening by the Department of Juvenile Justice he was released to his parent’s custody pending future court hearings.

“Every pill on the street illegally provides a level of danger to the person taking it,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Our goal is to prevent potential overdoses and keep these dangerous drugs out of the hands of our children.”


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1CY0B1JNDEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla—John Harding, one of two suspects charged in the October Amber Alert out of Walton County, has been extradited and charged with kidnapping.

On October 28th  Joseph Harding, 35, and Paul Lewis Vaughan, 39, entered a home on Otter Pond Road taking Rebecca Harding, 33, and Gracie Harding, 2, by force using brass knuckles, a pool stick, and other weapons. The two men then fled the scene with the victims in a red Ford Mustang.

Multiple agencies responded to help aid in the search including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Holmes, Geneva, Jackson, and Bay County Sheriff’s Offices.

Rebecca and Gracie were located several hours later in Samson, Alabama unharmed.

Vaughan was booked into the Walton County Jail on November 15th where he is being held on a $50,000 bond. Harding was arrested in Holmes County November 21st on aggravated assault charges out of Walton County. He was extradited to Walton County Jail on December 5th and additionally charged with kidnapping.

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On Friday, December 1st a gun was discovered on a school bus returning kids home from Maude Saunders Elementary School.

Nearing the end of the route, the gun was reported to the school bus driver by a student who saw it in another child’s bag. The gun was a .32 caliber single action revolver, with no ammunition, and the child who had the weapon is 7-years-of-age in the second grade.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has no reason to believe the student had malicious intent when bringing the weapon to school. The gun was not loaded and no ammunition was found in the child’s possession.

“One of our main priorities as an agency is to protect the children in our county,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “However, we also pride ourselves in protecting families from humiliation and not invading the privacy of those affected by these occurrences.”

This incident is still under investigation and the family was contacted. Any punishment will be handled by the Walton County School District.

“At no time during this investigation did we believe there was a threat to the school or that an arrest was necessary,” said Adkinson.

An investigation is still open in this case.

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