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DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A DeFuniak Springs man is put behind bars nearly two weeks after he brutally attacked a 74-year-old man who called him “grandson”. Walton County Sheriff's Office is releasing photos of the victim, with his permission, in order to shed light on elderly abuse in our community. 

On 19 September Justin Paul Carter walked into the home of Michael and Margaret Frey on McFarland Road in DeFuniak Springs and asked to speak with Margaret alone. When Michael told Carter that he could not speak to his wife without him present Carter became increasingly angry. Frey told WCSO investigators he repeatedly asked Carter to leave the residence and could tell the man was under the influence of drugs.  

Margaret Frey went outside to call 911 and while she was outside the house Michael stated that Carter attacked him. Frey told investigators Carter struck him in the face several times and pounded his head into a cabinet inside the home.

Believing that his life was in danger Frey pulled a .38 caliber pistol from his pocket and shot Carter in the mouth. Carter then ran from the home and shattered a front window of the residence. Frey sustained a fractured orbital socket of the right eye and a broken nose as well as a severe hematoma on the head.

“This is absolutely a justifiable use of force,” said Sheriff Adkinson of Frey’s actions. “This is inexcusable behavior toward a 74-year-old man and at WCSO we do not accept this kind of behavior toward our senior citizens. In this case, having a firearm saved this man's life.”

Carter was arrested this afternoon after he was released from the hospital. He was charged with aggravated battery of a person 65 or older, property damage of $200 or less, and trespassing. He was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail. 

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— It’s like the plot from the movie “Catch Me If You Can” except in this film we WILL catch the antagonist.

Wanted and arrested in multiple states, Joseph Donald Baxter, 32, is being heavily pursued by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office as a suspect in numerous fraud investigations in our county and surrounding counties.

An absconder from the Department of Corrections for violation of probation, Baxter is also wanted out of Bay County for failure to appear on an original charge of violation of probation. Baxter also has unverified warrants out of Georgia. He’s been accused of writing false checks, fraud, grand theft, and more. It should also be of note that he sometimes uses the alias Tyler Love.

Baxter has defrauded several people out of large amounts of money. One of his schemes allegedly includes posing as a mortgage broker in Georgia. A group of those he victimized even created their own Facebook page (See link below).

“His charades have gone on long enough,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “This guy needs to be put behind bars and we are going to put him there.”


Walton County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in apprehending Baxter. If you or anyone you know has information on the whereabouts of Joseph Donald Baxter contact WCSO at (850)-892-8111 and ask for the Investigators Bureau. 

Defuniak Springs, Fla— A Walton County woman discovers a backpack with wires hanging from it under her vehicle and a pipe bomb is later discovered.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a suspicious package in the area of South Verdi Lane Sunday September 13th after a complainant advised she was driving in town and heard a strange noise coming from under the vehicle.

Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies responded and collected two wires attached to a rocker light switch and located what appeared to be a pipe bomb inside a backpack. The immediate area was evacuated as a precautionary measure and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called in to the scene and disarmed the device without incident.

Further investigation revealed an ongoing civil dispute between the complainant and a suspect later identified as 30-year-old Kenneth Davis of DeFuniak Springs. According to the complainant Davis had made threats, reports of illegal activity to law enforcement, and further contacted the Department of Children and Families reporting allegations. Each incident was investigated and found to be false.

Probable cause for an arrest was obtained after a search warrant was carried out at Davis’ residence and several interviews were conducted. Davis was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail and charged with attempted murder, making an explosive device with intent to cause bodily harm, and filing false child abuse claims.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad for their swift assistance. Specifically Detective John Bell of the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office and Lt. John Corley and Deputy Jeff Duggins from BCSO’s Bomb Squad. Thanks to the efforts of all of the agencies involved this situation was able to be resolved without incident. It is always best to err on the side of caution when dealing with suspicious items, such as this.


Miramar Beach, Fla— Walton County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding the person or persons responsible for causing thousands of dollars in damages to a Walton County Golf Course.

On Saturday, August 29th WCSO deputies responded to a call for service at Sandestin Beach Resort in reference to criminal mischief. Responding deputies spoke to the head of maintenance of over the golf courses who located three areas of damage to courses while doing his routine morning checks.

The first was the 13 green on Raven course. It appeared someone had driven onto the green with a vehicle and did "doughnuts" on it. The landscaping was severely damaged. Damages to additional tees and greens totaled more than $15,000.

One witness told deputies around 10 p.m. on August 28th they saw a vehicle with one headlamp on the golf course and could hear a loud exhaust. No other witnesses or description of the vehicle could be found.

As the investigation continues Walton County Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone with information to call (850) 892-8111 or you can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 863-TIPS. 

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— Five Walmart employees, ages ranging from 19 to 25, are arrested following an organized attempt to steal items from their employer.

WCSO deputies responded to the Walmart located in Santa Rosa Beach just before midnight last night regarding a group of store employees stealing merchandise.  Deputies arrived and spoke with Walmart Loss Prevention Officers and collected evidence.  It was determined the five employees, all of whom are from Jamaica, have taken several items over the course of a few weeks.

The crimes occurred between Aug 11th and August 22nd on more than one occasion involving all five suspects. One of the suspects admitted in her statement that it was "an associate thing" and that they were "looking out for one another".  The scam went as follows; one employee would bring items to the register where their friend was working and scan items and then delete the items from the transaction. Also, at times they would make the motion like items were being scanned without actually scanning them. The items would be placed in bags and the employee would leave the store with the unpaid items.

Gillisa Hyde, 25, Rashid Cargill, 21, Maurica Notice, 21, Nashana Murrray 23, Jennea Edwards, 19, are all charged with Retail Theft and Conspiracy to Commit Fraud.

DeFuniak Springs, Fla— A DeFuniak Springs man is behind bars after a multi-agency investigation into drugs following a traffic stop Tuesday night.

Officer Jonathan Rockett from Defuniak Springs Police Department conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 90 and 8th Street on a vehicle with an expired tag.  Officer Rocket requested K9 assistance from the Walton County Sheriff's office. K9 handler Deputy Kristin Pond and partner K9 “Kayne” responded to the scene arriving just before midnight.

K9 Kayne was deployed and conducted a free air sniff of the vehicle's exterior and alerted to the presence of an illegal drug odor.  A search of the vehicle was conducted. A black back pack was located on the passenger floorboard containing .2 grams of methamphetamine, syringes, a scale, a metal spoon containing meth, two straws with white residue, and several empty clear plastic jewelers bags.  

The passenger of the vehicle, 34-year-old Tim Hill, was arrested by Officer Rocket and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

“We are not going to stop until this drug is off our streets,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson.


Walton County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the relationship between other county agencies and commends the teamwork between Officer Rocket and Deputy Pond in this case. 

New Harmony, Fla— A Paxton man is behind bars after deputies discover he has stolen a boat and a trailer during two separate thefts in Mossy Head; concealing them in two different locations.

Gregory Earley, 55, is accused of entering a parcel on Plantation Lane in Mossy Head between the dates of August 5th and 6th and stealing a Gulfstream camper trailer.

Due to surveillance by WCSO investigators, they were able to determine Earley had stored the Gulfstream trailer on a vacant lot in New Harmony – just south of Paxton. It was recovered late Monday night.

Between August 10th and August 11th a Whiteline Red Holland fishing boat went missing off Trout Drive in Mossy Head.

Wednesday, August 25th WCSO investigators located the boat concealed in a small shed with cut brush limbs covering the entrance to hide it from being discovered.  The hull numbers for the boat were scraped off to further conceal its ownership. It was later discovered Earley moved the boat to a family member’s property without their permission. The victim has positively identified the boat and trailer as belonging to him.


Earley was arrested for Grand Theft of $5,000 or more and transported to the Walton County Jail.  

Defuniak Springs, Fla— On Saturday August 22nd WCSO was conducting a security check in the parking lot of Allstate in Defuniak Springs when they noticed a Black Ford Mustang with Allen Walker, 25, behind the wheel. Deputies confirmed through dispatch Walker was driving without a license.

As Walker began to leave the parking lot traveling south toward Bob Sikes Road he immediately rolled up the driver and passenger side windows while exiting the parking lot upon seeing the deputy in his patrol car.

Deputies initiated a traffic stop as soon as the vehicle entered the roadway signaling the driver with emergency sirens to stop the vehicle. The vehicle started increasing speed while driving recklessly and made an aggressive turn into a residence approximately 300 feet east of 19th Street.

The vehicle traveled through the yard of the residence around a car, which was parked in the driveway, and exited on to 19th street in a reckless manner. Walker exited the vehicle leaving it in the middle of 19th street with the driver’s door open.

Walker fled on foot traveling West on Sam’s Branch Drive when Deputies noticed his right hand in his pocket as if he was trying to empty it.

Walker jumped the fence of a home at the end of the road, circled behind a structure only to jump the fence again and head back east. Additional WCSO deputies were on the other side of the structure and gave Walker verbal orders to get on the ground.

Deputies seized a syringe into evidence that Walker dumped during the pursuit. Walker was arrested and transported to the Walton County Jail for processing. Later, it was discovered that there were two juveniles located in the vehicle during the time Walker attempted to flee.


Walker was charged with cruelty towards child that could have resulted in mental/physical injury, resisting an officer during a traffic stop, habitual DWLSR, resisting an officer without violence, and drug possession. 

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— On August 22, 2015 WCSO deputies were dispatched to a suspicious person complaint near W. Hodge road where they observed a white male, later identified as Burnham Edson, 35, with blood on his face.  

Edson was treated on scene by South Walton Fire Rescue and deputies drove to his residence to attempt to make contact with Edson’s wife and friends who were at the home.

Due to his level of intoxication and initially giving deputies the wrong address Edson was told he needed to stay in the patrol car for safety reasons. The car was left running so he could have air conditioning.

When deputies attempted to make contact with friends and family at the home they heard loud bangs and ran outside and witnessed Edson kick out the rear driver side window of the vehicle.  Edson was screaming obscenities and attempting to climb out the window. A deputy grabbed Edson and told him he was under arrest and gave him orders to get on the ground.

Edson continued to yell obscenities and began to resist, clinching his right fist, and turning towards the deputy to swing a punch. A second deputy deployed a Taser striking Edson in the back.

“If you’re going to be dumb you had better learn to be tough,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “This was a qualified and measured use of force in which the actions of the deputy were dictated by the actions of the subject.”


After checking the patrol car it was observed that Edson had kicked the sliding window open and attempted to remove a shotgun from the vehicle lock. Edson was arrested for property damage/ criminal mischief of more than $200 and resisting an officer with violence. 

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— Scratched, cut, and bruised from running through the woods an 18-year-old is now behind bars after a citizen calls to report a reckless driver in Santa Rosa Beach.  

On August 20th just before 12:30am WCSO deputies responded to a reckless driver complaint near 30A and Highway 98. The caller told dispatchers the driver of the vehicle was all over the roadway, riding in the median, and speeding in access of 80 miles an hour.

Deputies caught up with the vehicle on Allen Loop Drive and as they approached the car the vehicle blew through a stop sign at Allen Loop and Masters Court. Deputies initiated a traffic stop as the vehicle approached, but the suspect quickly accelerated the car, swerving around the patrol car, and continued on Allen Loop Drive.

The suspect drove approximately 200 yards past the deputies when he pulled over and ran into the woods. A passenger in the vehicle positively identified the driver as Shane Sanders, 18, and said they knew Sanders license was not valid and thought he may have been under the influence of drugs.

The WCSO K9 Unit was called in and K9 Ella located Sanders in under an hour with the keys to the vehicle still around his neck on a lanyard.  


Sanders was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement officers, driving without a license, and was also issued a citation for running a stop sign.