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At approximately 12:35 a.m., this morning, deputies responded to a home off Santa Barbara Avenue in Santa Rosa Beach, regarding a residential burglary in progress.  The victim found a person standing in the hallway of his home and a struggle took place that lead to the garage.  During the struggle, the suspect struck the victim with a tennis racket and tools off the work bench.  The victim’s wife called the Sheriff’s Office and was able to give a description of the suspect who fled from the scene on a blue mountain bike.  After approximately three minutes on scene at the residence, Deputies made contact with an individual matching the suspect’s description at La Canossa Boulevard and South Church Street.  The victim was able to identify the individual as the person he had the physical altercation with inside his home.  The suspect, Codey Ray Peoples, 23, of 199 10th Street, Santa Rosa Beach, was charged with burglary of an occupied residence with simple battery and attempted theft. 



The WCSO K9 Unit and School Resource Deputies are enlisting the help of our Walton County K through 4th grade teachers and students to come up with a name for our K9 “stuffed” pup.  The K9 Unit will choose the name and will present the pup to the winning class.  The winning class will get to keep the pup for the year and at the end, the School Resource Deputy will choose a student out of the class who has shown a “Commitment to Excellence.”


We also plan to engage the community through Facebook and recognize all the classes who submitted a name.  The winner will be announced and a photo opportunity will be done with the classroom, K9 Unit and School Resource Deputy.



Kick-off begins today and all submissions must be given to the School Resource Deputy by Friday, October 10th.  The Public Information Officer will work with the K9 Unit in choosing the top 5 names, which will be posted on Facebook.  A winner will be chosen by the K9 Unit, taking into consideration the number of votes each name gets on Facebook.  A time will be set up to highlight the event and make the presentation to the classroom.



Stephanie Sousie, 41, of 27 Mason Street, Santa Rosa Beach, was arrested on September 30, 2014, for grand theft over $20,000 and scheme to defraud.  Sousie was a bookkeeper for Path of Grace Thrift Store in Miramar Beach, which is an organization that helps women get back on their feet by providing housing and jobs.  Between July and December 2013, Sousie embezzled money from the organization by making unauthorized transactions on various business accounts. 


On Wednesday, September 24th, the Eglin Range Patrol observed two males in a vehicle on Eglin property with a suspicious bottle next to the driver’s side door.  The Walton County Sheriff’s Office was notified and responded to the area of 15000 West State Highway 20 to assist Eglin Range Patrol.  Upon further investigation, the bottle was determined to be an active one-pot methamphetamine cook vessel.  Investigators with the Vice/Narcotics Unit arrived on scene and rendered the bottle safe. Various items used in the manufacture of and consumption of methamphetamine were found in the vehicle and surrounding area.

Richard Lee Cox (uncle), 33, of 38 Pahl Road, Niceville and Bryan Matthew Cox (nephew), 29, of 58 Beach Street, Freeport, were both charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.



On Wednesday, September 24, members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office VICE/Narcotics Unit assisted State Probation with an administrative search at the home of Gary Dale Edwards, 62, of 847 Ezra Brannon Road, DeFuniak Springs.  Edwards voluntarily signed a consent to search form allowing the Sheriff’s Office to assist State Probation. Methamphetamine was found in some of Edwards clothing on his bed.  State Probation arrested Edwards for violating his probation.  Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office secured the residence and obtained a probable cause search warrant for the residence.  During the search another container of methamphetamine was located in Edward’s bedroom. 



Edwards was charged with possession of methamphetamine.



The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is excited to announce our first Jail Break Zombie Fun Run!!  The course for this race will have obstacles.


When: November 1, 2014


Where: Walton County Sheriff’s Office located at 752 Triple G Road, DeFuniak Springs


Time: Race times begin at 8 am / Registration and packet pickup begins at 7 am on the morning of the race.  Early packet pick-up will take place the day before the race, October 31st from 12:00 pm-5:00 pm at the Walton County Sheriff's Office (located at 752 Triple G Road in DeFuniak Springs.)


Why: To raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)


For more information please call 850.892.8186


To sign up: or



Please see our video at on our Facebook page. 


Posted by on in Press Releases
Sgt. Jennifer Fannin is helping Tara find a home. She is a 3 year old female Schnauzer/Bulldog that is heartworm negative and already spayed. While at the Walton County Animal Shelter, Tara was selected by Alaqua Ani...mal Rescue to participate in their Unconditional Love Program. The program rescues unwanted canines from neglect and abuse situations and uses inmate labor to train them with basic obedience skills with the goal of being adopted as companion canines. During training, Tara learned basic obedience commands such as: Sit, Down, Take a break (potty), Here, Stay, etc.

If you would like to adopt Tara please contact Alaqua Animal Refuge at 850-880-6399 or the Walton County Animal Shelter at 850-892-8758.



Jonathan Michael Saylor, 38, of 4115 E Hwy 20, Freeport, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 36 months state prison time and $975.00 worth of legal fees for sexual battery.  On December 23rd, 2013, Saylor held a victim against her will, with a knife to her throat and sexually battered her.  After reviewing all the evidence, deputies and investigators with the WCSO arrived at Saylor’s residence on January 10, 2014, to arrest him.  Saylor fled the scene and a brief struggle took place when he was apprehended.  The Sheriff’s Office charged Saylor with battery, aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, sexual assault and resisting an officer with violence. 



On Monday, September 22, deputies responded to a domestic violence call in the area of Kylea Laird Road in Freeport.  The caller stated that his children’s mother had rammed his vehicle with her car intentionally to try and get him to stop and give their son to her.  After speaking to all parties involved, to include two children ages 14 and 11, Tara McCullers, 32, was charged with 3 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and 2 counts of child abuse.  McCullers intentionally struck/rammed Jerald Hansley’s truck with her car, she attempted to intimidate and/or scare Hansley who is the father of her children and did put fear in both children who stated they were scared during the incident.  The 14 year old child, who was in the vehicle with McCullers, hit her head during one of the intentional strikes of the two vehicles but did not sustain injuries.  


Top Left: Simmons Top Right: Ritchie Bottom Left: Ramirez
Steven Ryan Ritchie, 23, was sentenced to 15 years in the Department of Corrections, based on six prior out-of-state felony convictions and he is also designated as a Habitual Felony Offender. ... Ritchie plead guilty September 4th, to include: resisting an officer with violence, grand theft auto, burglary of a dwelling, two counts of grand theft, two counts of burglary of a conveyance and destroying electronic monitoring equipment. Ritchie was arrested and charged August 27th by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, leaving a scene of an accident with injuries, resisting arrest with violence and grand theft auto. Ritchie was driving a 1999 blue Jeep Wrangler which was reported stolen out of Miramar Beach. Upon contact, Ritchie rammed the jeep into a deputy’s patrol car, pinning the deputy inside the vehicle and causing injury to the deputy’s shoulder. Ritchie fled on foot but was apprehended nearly 5 hours later by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office secured a search warrant for his DNA. Upon receipt, it was determined that Ritchie was a match for several burglaries that had occurred in the Santa Rosa Beach area.
Gerald Wayne Simmons, 26, was convicted by a Walton County Jury on August 13, for his participation in the burglary of a dwelling while armed with a firearm and dealing in stolen property. Simmons was sentenced to 30 years in the Department of Corrections with the first ten to be a minimum mandatory sentence for the burglary of a dwelling while armed. The dealing in stolen property conviction is to be served consecutively. On May 23, 2013, the victim arrived and found his home burglarized. Among the items taken, were several firearms, a large amount of cash and jewelry. Walton County Sheriff’s investigators were able to determine the defendant had pawned several pieces of jewelry on May 24, 2013, including a class ring clearly identified as the victims.

Chrispin Pedro Ramirez, 22, is sentenced to life in prison without parole for first degree murder of Arthur Anderson, 77. Ramirez was also sentenced to life in prison for burglary of a dwelling with assault and 50 years in prison for arson of a dwelling, grand theft auto, resisting arrest with violence, discharge of a fire bomb and destruction of a fire safety device. All sentences were imposed consecutively. The charges stem from Ramirez stabbing Anderson when he discovered Ramirez and 16 year old Haley Bowden unlawfully inhabiting a home for which he was the caretaker. After stabbing Anderson, Ramirez set fire to the dwelling and stole Anderson’s vehicle. After being apprehended, Ramirez threatened deputies with weapons and resisted arrest. Ramirez confessed fully to all crimes for which he was charged. The crime of destruction of a fire safety device arose from Ramirez’s damaging a fire sprinkler in his cell in the Walton County jail on May 6, 2013. Co-defendant Haley Bowden is still facing prosecution for her part in Anderson’s murder and the connected crimes.
(L to R: Ritchie, Simmons and Ramirez)
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