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Posted by on in Press Releases

 

Miramar Beach, Fla— A 16 year old girl on vacation with her family has run away for the third time since visiting Florida. Maci Withrow was last seen at the pool at Maravilla in Miramar Beach on Thursday August 6th at approximately 6pm wearing a floral print dress. She was reported missing Friday by her family. Withrow dyed her hair purple hair and is wearing the same dress she was last seen in.  It should be noted she could have dyed her hair again since the photo. 

 

Her family was here on vacation from Ohio.  They were due to check out Friday and have since returned home. 

 

Withrow sometimes tells people her name is Meci, that she is 20 years old, and that she is from Germany and is traveling on her own.  She was reported to have been seen in the area of Ellis Road and the Pompano Joe's beach access and may be in the company of a female with dark hair named Katie.  Nothing further is known about Katie.

 

If you have any information on Withrow’s whereabouts contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at 892-8111. 

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A traffic stop for non-operational tail-lights leads to the arrest of a DeFuniak Springs woman this morning. Deputy Phillip Kent was responding to a reckless driver call in the area of U.S. Highway 331 North and Highway 90 around 10:30am when he spotted a green GMC pick-up truck at the corner of Black Bass Boulevard and Juniper Lake Road with no working tail-lights.

Deputy Kent made contact with the driver, 35-year-old Jessica Land, and asked for her Driver's License, which she did not have. The deputy asked Land and her passenger to step out of the vehicle in efforts to gather their information since they did not have identification on them.

While running their information through dispatch, K9 Sergeant Nick Bearden conducted a free air sniff around the exterior of the GMC pickup with K9 Duko. While completing the free-air sniff, K-9 Duko alerted to the vehicle providing probably cause for a search.

“I have never seen that many syringes during one traffic stop,” said Deputy Phillip Kent.

Kent and Sergeant Bearden conducted a vehicle search locating approximately 20 syringes in Land's purse, a spoon with residue and several other needles located in a VHS movie box, and a Kroger ibuprofen bottle with a white powder substance that tested positive for Cocaine. A small jewelers bag of a clear liquid was also found inside the vehicle and tested positive for Methamphetamine.

 

Land was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine, possession of narcotic equipment, and driving on a suspended license. Land was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. 

 

Rosemary Beach, Fla— A 27-year-old Walton County man is behind bars after admitting to WCSO deputies he was “high on Xanax” and running from law enforcement while he and his associates burglarized neighborhoods in Rosemary Beach.

 Jeremy Ray Thomas of Inlet Beach told WCSO investigators on the night of July 30th he was with multiple other individuals who he knew were checking door handles of vehicles, “rummaging” through vehicles, checking door handles of residence, and burglarizing houses in the area of West Water Street. A resident called 911 after she says she had a suspicious encounter with someone who had broken into her pool deck.  

Thomas admitted in a post Miranda interview to jumping a fence or gate and being present in the back of a residence, which had a pool.  Thomas was arrested by WCSO and charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling after a positive ID was made during a photo line-up with the victim. Thomas was transported to the Walton County Jail.  

Walton County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the apprehension of those committing burglaries and other crimes in our jurisdiction. However, we encourage residents to please remember to HIDE your things, LOCK your car, and TAKE your keys to avoid becoming a victim to these crimes of opportunity. 

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Just before 3:30PM Wednesday July 29th deputies responded to a home on Popcorn Avenue in DeFuniak Springs in reference to a domestic dispute.

 

When deputies arrived on scene the complainant, Crystal York, 37, was observed acting erratically and told investigators the suspect, Rodney Svetlik, 42, had fled on foot.

 

York gave permission for deputies to search the premises and further investigation revealed methamphetamine inside the home along with equipment and tools used to manufacture meth. A small amount of marijuana was also found inside the residence.

 

Svetlik was found walking along the roadside shortly after and was put into custody.

 

Svetlik and York were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing meth, possession of less than 20g of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

No charges were filed for domestic battery due to lack of evidence. Svetlik did, however, receive an additional charge of introduction of contraband for having marijuana on his person when he was turned over to the jail.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco performed an underage buy operation for the sale of alcohol to minors at several businesses in the county. The detail ran from 7:30pm to 10pm on July 22nd.

The following is a list of places WCSO and ABT conducted underage test buys on. Two buys were made from Wine World at Water Color and Tom Thumb Store #80. Eilene McGarey and Brian McGough were both given a Notice to Appear as a result of the operation.

 

BUDDYS FOOD MART #2 
10970 Hwy 98 Inlet Beach

 

PEDDLER'S PUB
10343 E. COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A KIOSK 1 Seacrest Beach

 

TOM THUMB FOOD STORE #86
3871 E COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS, INC #0153
110 WATERCOLOR WAY Santa Rosa Beach

 

 

EMERALD COAST WINE & SPIRITS 
88 WATERCOLOR WAY Santa Rosa Beach

 

WINE WORLD AT WATERCOLOR 
1735 EAST COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A Santa Rosa Beach
Positive buy Bottle of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay

 

SALLY'S BY THE SEASTORE
2320 W COUNTY HIGHWAY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

TOM THUMB FOOD STORE #80
5044 W COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach
Positive Buy 4 pack Coors Light

 

EXPRESS LANE #65
7930 WEST COUNTY HWY 30A Santa Rosa Beach

 

Walton County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the businesses in our area and we are happy to report the majority were in compliance of the law. We want to make sure as we get closer to the beginning of the school year that the proper steps are taken to ensure alcohol does not end up in the hands of minors.

           More than a dozen deputies are to thank for performing a flawless buy/sting operation leading to the recovery of two YETI coolers in Walton County over the weekend. The top-of-the-line coolers are a hot item for thieves looking for an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

While working three burglaries and thefts of three YETI coolers Saturday evening on Eastern Lake Road one of the victims told deputies they found a post on Craiglist advertising two Yeti coolers identical to the ones stolen.

Deputy Nick Embry checked the posting and agreed the items listed were the victim’s coolers. WCSO Sergeant Cory Webster was notified and obtained permission to conduct a buy/sting in Inlet Beach.

Deputy Don Fernandez changed into street clothes and drove an unmarked vehicle to the “buy” with Sergeant Webster hiding in the back seat. Two suspects, later identified as David Slater Sills and Zachary Allen Ard were identified by deputies as the sellers. The deal went down with Sills running from the scene when he spotted Deputy Embry’s marked unit coming towards him. He was captured on the beach 20 minutes later by Beach Patrol Deputy Jason Day. Both suspects were booked into the Walton County and then remanded to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice and taken to Crestview for intake.

Both suspects are being charged with felony burglary and dealing in stolen property. Sills is being charged with resisting an officer without violence, which is also a felony. In a post Miranda interview, Ard admitted to the crimes and implicated Sills as well.  Sills did not give a statement.

The third YETI cooler was recovered the following morning at the suspect’s home.

 

This operation is a great example of how committed our deputies are to taking thieves off the streets and serving our community. 

On Saturday night deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Winston lane at Inlet Beach in Walton County, Fla in reference to a battery.

When they arrived deputies spoke to the caller and learned three boys had been fishing on the beach when the suspect, later identified as Buffalo Bills Offensive Line Coach Aaron Kromer, and the suspect’s son confronted them over the use of beach chairs left by a beach access.

Victims told deputies Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw the pole into the water and then pushed one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face. It was stated Kromer then told the boys to return the chairs to where they found them.

The victim stated Kromer also told him if he reported him to the police he would kill his family.

Kromer was subsequently arrested early Sunday morning on a misdemeanor battery charge and transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. He has since been released on bond.

WCSO is continuing to investigate and additional charges may be filed. WCSO executive staff will be reviewing this case first thing Monday morning when the redacted arrest report will be made available. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— Available now is a new technology helping residents in Walton County receive emergency services through text message. The service provides a new way to reach 911 never used before in Northwest Florida. Text to 911 is a new feature available on all major carriers in Walton County.

Citizens who are deaf, hearing impaired, or have a speech disability can now send a “short message” (SMS) text to 911 during an emergency. When a voice call might be dangerous or otherwise impossible texting to 911 is now a safe alternative.

Residents should check with their wireless phone company before texting to 911. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone and wireless service subscription or contact with a wireless company with a “data plan”.

Texting to 911 is different from making a voice call to 911. When making a voice call dispatchers will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location automatically. However, in most cases when you text 911 from a wireless phone, the dispatcher receiving the information will not know the texting party’s location.

For this reason, when sending a text message to 911 it is imperative to also send your location as quickly as possible.

 

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is the first to introduce this new technology LIVE in Northwest Florida. This is a prime example of how we are continuing to work to keep our community safe. 

Seacrest, Fla— A 25-year-old Georgia man is arrested following a domestic dispute at a Seacrest condominium. 

On June 5th deputies were dispatched to the Inn at Seacrest where a victim provided a sworn swritten statement that her boyfriend Michael C. Griffin became angry and struck her in the face with an open hand, hit her with a gun, and put the weapon to her head.

The victim said the pair had been drinking at a nearby restaurant and had gotten into a verbal argument that quickly escalated.

Deputies found Griffin hiding in some thick brush south of the condo where he denied anything physical happened.

Further investigation revealed the victim had obvious marks to her face and mouth and a knot was visible on her forehead.

 

Griffin was placed under arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and booked into the Walton County Jail. 

Mossy Head, Fla— A runaway juvenile wanted out of Okaloosa County is now behind bars once again.

On June 4th just after midnight deputies responded to a call regarding a burglary at the Raceway located at 14338 State Road 10 (U.S. Highway 90).  When they arrived deputies discovered the store’s front door had been shattered and while clearing the building found blood by the cigarettes.

Surveillance footage from the store shows the suspect making entry, carrying his own plastic bag, breaking the front door glass with a shock absorber from a motorcycle. The part was found at the scene (pictured).

Surveillance video also shows the suspect walking into the store wearing a mask to hide his identity in a camouflage hat, jeans, and a long sleeve plaid shirt stealing nineteen cartons of cigarettes.  

A clerk recognized the clothes worn by the suspect, which lead deputies to a home located at 14888 U.S. Highway 90 where investigators found Michael Allen Stiles, 16, and his 18-year-old roommate. Deputies noticed Stiles had an injury to his hand.

Consent was given to search the property. Further investigation revealed a bloody shirt, plastic bag, and the cartons of cigarettes stolen from the Raceway inside the home.

Outside the house deputies also located one of two rear shock absorbers to a motorcycle. The part matches the absorber found at the scene used to break the window.

Stiles is being charged with criminal mischief, burglary, and grand theft. The juvenile’s extensive criminal history is the reason Walton County Sheriff’s Office feels compelled to release this information.

“It’s sad to see this kind of criminality in such a young man,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “But he will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

 

Stiles was booked into the Walton County Jail and is being transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice.