SVU and FBI investigation lead to two arrests for sex crimes against children

Two Jacksonville men were arrested on charges of sexually related crimes against children in two separate incidences. The FBI and OCSO SVU collaborated in this effort.

Two Onslow County men have been arrested on criminal charges for child pornography and taking indecent liberties with minors, in two separate incidences on the same day.

Tuesday, July, 9, 2019, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office SVU (Special Victim’s Unit) assisted the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sexual Exploitation Task Force in an investigation and execution of a search warrant at the home of Matthew James Jones.

As a result of the search warrants execution, the seizure of computer devices that contained numerous pornographic digital photographs and video footage of minor children. The investigation, as well as examination of forensic evidence seized is still on-going.

Jones, 55-years-old of Stillwood Circle in Jacksonville, was taken into custody without incident. He was taken before a magistrate where he was charged on a total of  (8) counts:

  • (4) Counts Second Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • (4) Counts Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
Photo Courtesy of OCSO: Jones

UPDATE: (3:22pm)- The Onslow Beat received a tip that Matthew James Jones is employed by the Family Dollar store located at 8699 Richlands Highway, 28574, NC as the Head Store Manager. Freelance Reporter to The Onslow Beat, Bonnie Roman reached out for a statement from staff at the Richlands Family Dollar location. The staff member said, “We are on strict orders from corporate not to discuss this matter.” The staff member did also say, “We are all in shock.”

Bonnie asked additional questions in light of public concern.

Are there hidden cameras in the store restroom? What about use of the store computer?
She was informed that the store does not have Wi-Fi and the only computer in the store is for corporate operations, like inventory tracking and store applications. So from this, nothing in the store could be seized and there are no hidden cameras in the store restroom.

The NCDPS shows no history of priors.

Bond for Jones $10,000 secured.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Det. Johnston at 910-989-4047 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019010096 when calling.


In the second, unrelated arrest on Tuesday,  July 9, 2019, deputies responded to a domestic call regarding argument between a female caller and her boyfriend.

OCSO Deputies learned that the boyfriend, Robert Daniel Wagner had inappropriately touched and photographed children known to him. Wagner, 33-years-old of Avon Drive in Hubert was arrested on-site, taken before a magistrate and charged with (2) two charges:

  • (1) Count Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • (1) Count Indecent Liberties with a Child.

This investigation and the forensic examination of the evidence seized in relation to this arrest is still ongoing.

Photo Courtesy of OCSO: Wagner

The NCDPS database shows no priors.

We will continue to update on this suspect as information comes available.

Bond for Wagner $20,000 secured.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Det. Kensington at 910-989-4029 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019010099 when calling.

 

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

 

 

Homeless man with a mental illness sentenced to prison on two counts of murder

Willie George, Jr. age 34, pleaded guilty by an Alford Plea in Onslow County Superior Court today for two counts of second-degree murder.

This afternoon  in Onslow County Superior Court, Willie George Jr. age, 34  pleaded guilty by an Alford plea.

Willie George, Jr. admitted to the killings of 17-year-old Khalil Kirkland and 72-year-old Carl Eisert on the cold night of January 3, 2016.

The two victims bodies were found on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC nearly a half-mile apart on the same night.

George, Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. An Alford plea is where a suspect admits no guilt, but agrees there is enough evidence to convict him at trial.

George, Jr. suffers with bi-polar disorder and was not taking his medication during the time of these heinous acts of murder. He was also homeless and battling alcoholism. The court believes that a combination as this is lethal and lead to this terrible outcome.

In an exclusive duo-interview with DA Ernie Lee, he said there was no doubt in evidence and George admitted himself to being guilty in court as well as accepted the plea agreement on that admission of guilt.

DA Ernie Lee said there was no weapon used in the murders, “just his bare hands”, speaking of Willie George, Jr..

There is another case involving a hit and run tied to this case with another individual that is still ongoing. Second-degree murder was the original charge and has remained consistent in that throughout the course of justice through sentencing. DA Lee said there was no proof of intent of malice to try for First-degree murder, the best aligned by definition of the law and evidence founded, was second degree.

As part of the plea deal, George was sentenced to prison in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections for a minimum of 34 and a maximum of 42 years.

Mental illness, the lack of mental health care and substance abuse was a significant part of conversations today surrounding the trial today.

The defendant and both victims had family in the courtroom for support through the final process of justice.

Footage from today’s trial proceedings:

 


 

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PREVIOUS: The N.C. Fifth Prosecutorial District Attorney Ernie Lee issued a press release this afternoon stating the trial for Willie George, Jr. will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 2pm in Onslow County Superior Court.

George, Jr. was charged by law enforcement and indicted by the Onslow County Grand Jury with two counts of second degree murder for crimes that occurred on January 3, 2016 on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC.

The victims are Carl Joseph Eisert, age 72 and Khalil Edwin Kirkland, age 17. George, Jr. was also charged for assault on Gerard Natale in the same time period.

Kirkland was a student at Northside High School and employed at Burger King at the time of his murder.

The defendant is represented by William J. Morgan and the State is represented by District Attorney Ernie Lee and Chief ADA Michael Maultsby.

The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Police Department.

Wilmington PD is investigating vandalism of confederate statutes downtown

Wilmington Police Department reported that confederate monuments in downtown Wilmington were vandalized around 3:00am on Thursday, July 4, 2019. WPD is looking for what appears to be a woman who is responsible for vandalizing the statues.

(WILMINGTON, NC)- The George Davis statue located around the corner of Market & Third Streets, Third and Dock Streets has been vandalized again. This act is coincidentally following protests in downtown Wilmington in late June demanding removal of these statues.

The statue that is dedicated to the fourth attorney general of the confederate states, George Davis stands on Third and Market Streets.

The statue was erected in the City of Wilmington, NC in 1911.

Wilmington Police Department reported that confederate monuments in downtown Wilmington were vandalized around 3:00am on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

Wilmington Detectives are trying to find out the identity of what appears to be a female who was involved in vandalizing the confederate statues in downtown. WPD reported previously that vandalism has happened in the same place in 2017.

The Gabriel James Boney Confederate Memorial was also vandalized in the 2017 incident, though it is not clear whether it was specifically also involved in this incident.

The investigation revealed that the suspect threw orange paint on the monument and fled from the scene.

Watch the video footage below.

                                              Video Footage Courtesy of Wilmington PD

 

 

 

 

MISSING: 14-year-old teen in Wilmington NC

Wilmington Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating missing teen, Brandy Walker, age 14.

(WILMINGTON,NC)-

UPDATE: Wilmington PD says the teen has been located safely.


Wilmington Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing teenaged girl.

Photo Used is Courtesy of Wilmington Police Department

14-year-old, Brandi Walker is described to be 5’8″ inches tall, 115 lbs and last seen wearing gray tights with a white/ lime green t-shirt. Citizens are urged to use the anonymous Text-a-Tip line or call Wilmington Police Department at 910-343-3609 with any information on her whereabouts.

Woman charged with a felony abuse of an infant at a Sneads Ferry childcare center

Bethan Pringle, age 23 charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury to an infant child under age 1 at a Sneads Ferry Childcare facility.

There are several daycares in Sneads Ferry with violations reported to the NC DHHS/DCDEE database this year.

(SNEADS FERRY, NC)-

Photo from Childcare Network Website

On June 11, 2019 the Childcare Network parents in Sneads Ferry received a notice informing them of an incident that occurred in their school the day prior where an infant child was injured while in the care of the facility.

The infant child who is under 1-year-old was provided with CPR by caregivers as well as lifesaving techniques for emergency situations. The child’s parents were notified immediately by the center and the teacher involved was suspended without pay at that time, pending an internal investigation as well as by law enforcement.

The incident allegedly was quickly determined not to have been caused by a hazard, lack of security, supervision nor due to inappropriate ratios of caregivers to student at the time of the incident. Some parents were also allegedly informed soon after that the teacher would not be returning to the school based on this incident.

The Onslow Beat reached out to the Childcare Network location on Thursday, June 13th for a statement and they declined to do so with a pending and open investigation.

Col. Chris Thomas at Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday there was anticipation of closing the case this week. He further assured, “To my knowledge this is the only incident that has been reported to the Sheriff’s Office from that location.” “They have been completely cooperative with the investigation and were the reporting party as well.”

The infant child was transported to Vidant Medical in Greenville from Onslow Memorial Hospital for treatment immediately following and released Thursday of last week. Medical professionals have since advised that the infant is expected to recover.

Today, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a release stating it had been determined that this act was purposeful. The childcare worker, Bethan Pringle, age 23 was the worker who was responsible for the child’s injuries. The infant suffered from head trauma which resulted when the child was intentionally dropped by the suspect.

Pringle was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. She was issued a $100,000 secured bond and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

Childcare Network is a 5-star facility with a superior classification, as well as the newest facility in the area. This facility opened in August 20, 2018 and has swiftly corrected any violations prior to date as required by the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) . The most recent inspection from DHHS/DCDEE shows where the facility was rated a 211/235 score and there were no violations despite this tragedy.

There have been two violations during an unannounced visit by the DCDEE to this facility that occurred in 2018 and both swiftly corrected.

Rule Violated: Medications including prescription and non-prescription items were not stored in a locked cabinet or other locked container. Medications in space #9 and space #10 were stored in the cabinet under the diaper changing table; the cabinets were unlocked.

Rule Violated: Caregivers did not document compliance with visually checking on sleeping infants aged 12 months or younger and/or the documents were not maintained for a minimum of one month. In space #9. a visual sleep check was documented at 9:45am. During the classroom observation at 10:30am, the infant was still asleep and no other visual sleep checks had been documented. (12/10/18)-DHHS database

There are limited childcare options in the quaint fishing village of Sneads Ferry.

Another local facility has parents skeptical in the quality of facility standards since a change in ownership leaving some parents feeling grim about care options.

One mother said, “This is why I would rather just stay at home until our baby is older, so I know that he is safe.” in response to this incident. “You cannot trust anywhere anymore.”

The Onslow Beat took a deeper look into local daycare options to see how they compare to Childcare Network in light of standard of care and violations in Sneads Ferry.

Noah’s Ark Preschool: Four (4) violations in March 2019 for broken furniture, poor activity plan and lacking first aid training. Another two (2) in May for administering medication after the expiration date with expired permission form.

Sneads Ferry Quality Care has six violations documented by DHHS/DCDEE just this month from an unannounced visit. Violations range across a variety of lack in training for childcare workers, not having CPR & First Aid certifications and Child Maltreatment Training. Some of these violations are still pending response to the department. One violation:

Rule Violated: New staff, who had contact with children, did not receive at least 16 hrs. orientation within first 6 weeks. Three of the thirty-two staff employed had not completed the required orientation training within the first 6 weeks of employment. -DHHS database.

A Happy Home Daycare in Sneads Ferry that is a licensed home daycare had violations in 2017 for hazardous chemicals like cleaners and pesticides. There were no violations in 2018 on either visit yet there have been violations founded in 2019.

Rule Violated: Hazardous cleaning supplies and other items that might be poisonous were not kept out of reach or in locked storage when children were in care. Three bottles of hand sanitizer were located in the home: One was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table used by the children for lunch routines, a second bottle was located on the cabinet beside the diaper changing table accessible to the children, and a third bottle was located on the corner of the desk adjacent to the children care space accessible to the children. Four aerosol cans were located in the home: One can of Lysol and one can of Resolve were located on a shelf above the diaper changing table and one can of Lysol and one can of Ozium Air Sanitizer was located on a shelf behind the entrance/exit door to the child care space.- DHHS database. (2017) 

Rule Violated: Written record of up-to-date pet vaccinations as required by NC law and local ordinances, including rabies vaccination for dogs and cats, was not available. The vaccination for Cornflake, the cat, expired 12/30/18.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Activity plans did not include activities intended to stimulate the developmental domains, in accordance with NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. An activity plan was not available.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Operator did not provide a written statement to parents regarding the smoking and tobacco restriction. A signed and dated acknowledgement statement from each parents indicating they had received a copy of the smoking and tobacco restriction.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
 
To view any additonal childcare facility’s performance and possible violations, visit the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education through NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

The Onslow Beat urges parents to do research on every facility in any location before enrolling as well as facilities to ensure training and references prior to hiring.

Bank Robbery Suspect Identified In A Second Robbery

(JACKSONVILLE, NC)-

UPDATE: Armed Robbery Suspect Identified.

The suspect in last Thursday afternoon’s armed robbery of First Citizens Bank, 302 B Western Blvd., has been identified as Christopher Bryan Shingleton, 42, of Swansboro, NC. “Shingleton is currently in the custody of the Craven County Detention Center on similar, but unrelated charges” said Captain Mike Capps, JPD Investigations Supervisor. Shingleton will be served on robbery warrants related to the bank heist in Jacksonville. Bond information is pending first court appearance.

On Thursday, June 13th at approximately 4:02 PM, officers of the Jacksonville Police Department responded to an armed robbery at First Citizens Bank, 302 B Western Boulevard, Jacksonville. The preliminary investigation revealed that a masked man entered the bank and handed a note to the teller. The suspect left on foot in an unknown direction of travel. No one was injured in the accident.

“JPD Detectives have been collaborating with investigators from Havelock PD and Morehead City PD as well as agents from the NC State Bureau of Investigation on this case” said Captain Capps. He expressed appreciation to our media partners for their assistance in getting the photo to out the public, leading to tips and calls to the department.

“We would like to thank the media for their assistance, through broadcasting and social networking, which directly led to the identification of the suspect” said Captain Capps.

Anyone with additional information about the suspect or incident is asked to call JPD Detective Jason Griess at jgriess@jacksonvillenc.gov at 910-455-4000 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-6413. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information determined to be of value to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)


PREVIOUS:

Jacksonville Public Safety issued a press release this evening informing the public and seeking help identifying an armed bank robbery suspect. There are no injuries reported in the afternoon incident at the bank.

At approximately 4:02 PM, officers of the Jacksonville Police Department responded to an armed robbery at First Citizens Bank, 302 B Western Boulevard, Jacksonville.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a masked man entered the bank and handed a note to the teller. The suspect left on foot in an unknown direction of travel. No one was injured in the accident.

“We are in the early steps of this investigation and could use the assistance of the public in identifying the subject in the surveillance images” said Captain Mike Capps, supervisor of the JPD Investigative Services Division.

The man is described as a white male, over 6’ tall. . At the time of the incident he was wearing a dark colored hoodie, dark pants, a white hospital/medical mask and gray ball cap with the “H” Hurley insignia.

Anyone with information about the suspect or incident is asked to call Jacksonville Police at 910-455-4000 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information determined to be of value to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

Two charged with felony child abuse of an infant child in Scotland County this week.

(SCOTLAND CO.,NC)-

Thursday, Scotland County Sheriff’s Office reported an arrest two adults on felony abuse and negligence of a 16-month-old boy.

Kristy Beth Backus, age 23 and Zachary Crabtree, age 24, both residents of 21000 McIntosh Road, Laurinburg, NC were arrested for charges related to a child abuse report received from Scotland Memorial Hospital on May 26, 2019.

Backus. Photo Courtesy of Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Backus was charged with:

(2) counts of Felony Child Abuse, Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury and (1) count of Felony Child Abuse by Negligence, resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.

Crabtree. Photo Courtesy of Scotland County Sheriff’s Office

Crabtree was charged with:

(1) count of Felony Child Abuse by Negligence, resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.

This stems from an unconscious/unresponsive infant child, who was brought in to the Scotland Memorial Hospital. During this hospital visit, the medical staff reported the child allegedly had severe injuries to the head, and other internal medical factors consistent with the symptoms of Shaking Baby Syndrome (SBS). The child was air lifted to a special children’s hospital where he received continued intensive care.

The infant child was confirmed to allegedly have ongoing serious bodily injuries, which were reported as being multiple internal injuries to the brain, in conjunction with other injuries to the infant’s body both internal and external. The infant was reportedly 16-weeks-old at the time he was seen during the reported visit for treatment at Scotland Memorial Hospital.

“During the investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, along with the criminal investigative unit it was determined that Backus was allegedly the approximate cause of the ongoing abuse. Crabtree was arrested reportedly for alleged negligence.” Scotland County Sheriff’s Office said in a public statement on their agency’s investigations unit Facebook page.

Backus received a secured, $500,000 bond, and Crabtree received a secured, $250,000 bond. Backus and Crabtree are both scheduled to be in court, Monday, June 10, 2019.

Neither Backus or Crabtree have any prior criminal history listed in the NCDPS system.

Missing Person Investigation is ongoing for James Wilson, Jr. one year later

(Jacksonville, NC)- The investigation to find missing person James Wilson, Jr. continues. On Thursday, May 31, 2018, Jacksonville Police Department issued a Silver Alert for James Wilson, Jr., a 78-year old man who apparently walked away from his home in the Country Club Road area. A year has passed since this investigation began. Detectives have investigated dozens of tips, but none have led to finding Mr. Wilson. Detectives are looking for assistance from the community.

Mr. Wilson suffers from dementia. Mr. Wilson is a black male, 5’11” tall and weighs approximately 196 pounds. He has gray hair and brown eyes.

We have asked residents to check infrequently used buildings on their property such as storage sheds or buildings not used daily.

“During the investigation, we learned that Mr. Wilson may have hitch-hiked in the past. We ask that anyone who may have picked up someone matching Mr. Wilson’s description to please give us a call” said Captain Mike Capps, Supervisor, JPD Investigations Division. “We appreciate the continued assistance from the public in calling in with information.”

Mr. Wilson’s daughter, Jayna Wilson has been his biggest advocate since the beginning of the disappearance of her father. Jayna took to social media herself to encourage people to share the posts about her father and to continue looking for him, or any clues that might lead to him.

If you believe that you have seen Mr. Wilson, please call 911 immediately. If you have information please contact JPD Detective Vincent Waddell at 910-938-6408 or vwaddell@jacksonvillenc.gov or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-5034. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to arrest. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

Johnsonville is recalling an estimated 95K pounds of sausage products

Johnsonville is recalling an estimated 95K pounds of ready-to-eat jalapeño cheddar sausage products due to possible contamination.

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2019 – Johnsonville, LLC., a Sheboygan Falls, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 95,393 pounds of its ready-to-eat jalapeño cheddar smoked sausage products that may be contaminated with extraneous material, specifically hard green plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The jalapeño cheddar smoked sausage items were produced and packaged on March 12 and 13, 2019. The following products are subject to recall:

• 14-oz. film, vacuum packages containing “Johnsonville JALAPEÑO CHEDDAR Smoked Sausage” with a “Best By 06/09/2019” date on the back of the package.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 34224” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped nationwide and internationally.

The problem was discovered when the company notified FSIS that they received a consumer complaint regarding green hard plastic in the product.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Kirsten Bishir, Johnsonville, LLC. Consumer Relations Coordinator, at KBishir@johnsonville.com and by phone or text at 1-888-556-2728.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day.

URGENT: Burn ban issued for 18 ENC counties including Onslow and surrounding areas

RALEIGH – Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and canceled all burning permits for the following counties in Eastern North Carolina: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington.

The burning ban went into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2019, and will remain in effect until further notice. The N.C. Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions.

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Violating the burn ban incurs a $100 fine plus $180 court costs. The person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.

“The dry weather conditions these last few weeks, plus the potential for an increase in human-caused wildfires in the region, makes this ban on open burning necessary,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “During the month of May, there have been 355 wildfires statewide, covering 1,348 acres. This burn ban is a proactive step to protect lives and property by preventing human-caused wildfires.”

Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.

Yesterday Richlands VFD reported a burn barrel fire that got out of control.

Photo Courtesy: Richlands VFD

Answers to frequently asked questions

Q: What is open burning?

A: Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative material is illegal.

Q: May I still use my grill or barbeque?

A: Yes, if no other local ordinances prohibit their use.

Q: How should I report a wildfire?

A: Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Q: My local fire marshal has also issued a burn ban for my county. What does this mean?

A: The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.

Q: Are there other instances which impact open burning?

A: Local ordinances and air quality regulations may impact open burning. For instance, outdoor burning is prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts. Learn more about air quality forecasts at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/air-quality-outreach-education/air-quality-forecasts

Q: Can I have a campfire when I go camping?

A: Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. Portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping during a burn ban.

Q: What can I do to protect my house against the risk of wildfire?

A: Learn about wildfire risk assessments and preparedness and prevention plans on the N.C. Forest Service website.

Residents with questions regarding their specific county can contact their county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service or their county fire marshal’s office.

910-347-4270 Brian Kelly, Onslow Co. Fire Marshal.

910-324-3633 Ben Patterson, Onslow Co. Ranger.

TRAGIC: Swansboro by Sail Capt. victim of a drowning incident Thursday evening

Friday, May 24, 2019, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a release in regards to a call at approximately 5:30pm on May 23, 2019 to assist with a drowning that occurred in Swansboro. The victim, a 55-year-old white male was recovered in the late afternoon in the intracoastal waterway near the Hwy 24 bridge in Swansboro.

Photo Credit: Swansboro by Sail

Preliminary investigation reveals that the drowning has been ruled accidental and that no foul play is suspected. Detectives of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office have met with officers from North Carolina Wildlife and shared our investigation.

The OCSO is not releasing or confirming the victim’s identity at this time.

Live and Local Radio Host, Raeford Brown reported via social media prior to the sheriffs office release:

A fatal boating mishap in Swansboro last night. An investigation is underway to determine what happened. Michael F. Dunleavy, 55, died when he either fell or was knocked overboard. He and a friend were aboard his 34 foot sailboat, “Fevre”, out for a short spin, when it’s believed a breeze caused the sailing vessel’s boom to hit Mr. Dunleavy, knocking him into the water. His wife was at a downtown restaurant, awaiting his return. Details are still sketchy.

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends.

-Raeford Brown

Swansboro by Sail confirmed the report from Radio Host, Raeford Brown with a post informing supporters and followers that the Captain had passed.

The communities prayers and condolences are with his wife, family, friends, frequent passengers and colleagues.

Mike Dunleavy, Captain of Swansboro by Sail

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

BUSTED: “Operation Royal Taken Down” knocked the Aryan Kings Gang off their throne in Sneads Ferry

Several people have been arrested on felony drug charges after the conclusion of “Operation Royal Taken Down.”

On Wed. May 22, 2019, investigators with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit investigated the criminal activity of Aryan Kings Gang members in and around the Sneads Ferry Community of Onslow County. Members of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Team 2 executed two traffic stops during this investigation, resulting in the seizure of user quantities of marijuana, heroin, crystal meth and $14,612.00 in US currency. Information developed during the investigation indicated that the source of the suspected narcotics was coming from 1417 Old Folkstone Road. A search warrant was granted to search the premises of 1417 Old Folkstone Road, being the residence of David Craig Milam. During the search of the residence, narcotics investigators located the following items: (3) pistols; (3) rifles:

27.5 grams of heroin; 29.9 grams of crystal methamphetamine; digital scales and glassine bags for re-packaging. One of the pistols was reported stolen from Pender County Licensed Firearms Dealer.

The following individuals were arrested May 22, 2019 as a result of the investigation:

David Craig Milam, 35-years-old; 1417 Old Folkstone Road, Sneads Ferry CHARGES:

1. (F) Trafficking Heroin by Possession

2. (F) Trafficking Heroin by Manufacturing

3. (F) Trafficking Methamphetamine by Possession

4. (F) Trafficking Methamphetamine by Manufacturing

5. (F) PWIMSD Heroin

6. (F) PWIMSD Methamphetamine

7. (F) Manufacturing Heroin

8. (F) Manufacturing Methamphetamine

9. (F) Maintaining a Dwelling

10. (F) Possession of Stolen Firearm

11. (F) Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon

12. (F) Conspiracy to Traffick Heroin

13. (M) Possess Drug Paraphernalia

14. (M) Possession of less than half-ounce of marijuana

BOND: $1,000,000.00 secured

Brian Richard Pearce II, 25-years-old; 406 Winery Rd, Sneads Ferry CHARGES:

1. (F) Possession of methamphetamine

2. (M) Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

3. Failure to Appear- Misdemeanor Larceny

BOND: $7,000.00 secured

Robert Edward Harmer,46-years-old; 313 Kenny’s Ave, Holly Ridge CHARGES:

1. (F) Possession of Heroin

2. (M) possession of Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $2,500.00 secured

Anthony David Lynn, 29-years-old; 733 Nine Mile Rd, Jacksonville CHARGES:

Order for Arrest

1. (M) Larceny

2. (M) Conspiracy

BOND: $500.00 secured

Charley Lynn Wiggs, 39-years-old; 1124 Carver Rd, Midway Park CHARGES:

(F) Possession of methamphetamine

(M) Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $15,000.00 unsecured

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019007673 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

BUSTED: More heroin, cocaine and marijuana off the streets of Holly Ridge in a multiple agency effort

(HOLLY RIDGE, NC)-

On Wed., May 22, 2019 at approximately 1:30am, in a multi-agency effort, Officers with the Holly Ridge Police Department, Surf City Police Department and the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at 134 N. Green Street. During the service of the search warrant, officers located heroin, cocaine, marijuana and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

The resident of 134 N. Green Street, James Harley Wood, 39 years of age, was arrested and charged with:

• Possession of Heroin

• Possession of Cocaine

• Possession of Marijuana

• Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Wood has no prior drug related charges in the NC DPS system. The system shows one misdemeanor larceny from 2016.

He was given a $5,000 secured bond and released to the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

BUSTED: Four people charged and arrested with heroin and paraphernalia in a traffic stop in Holly Ridge

On Tuesday, May 21, 2018 Officer Rodriguez of the Holly Ridge Police Department conducted a traffic stop for a traffic violation. During the traffic stop, a search of the vehicle was conducted and drugs and drug paraphernalia were located. The individuals in the vehicle were subsequently arrested and all charged with:

possession of heroin

• possession of drug paraphernalia

Dylan Foster, W/M, 26 years of age, 493 Miller Rd, Beulaville, NC

Marissa Markley, W/F, 22 years of age, 623 Creek Dr, Hampstead, NC

Brian Cosgrove, W/M, 25 years of age, 717 Court St, Jacksonville, NC

Cynthia Leonard, W/F, 29 years of age, 307 Clearview Dr, Holly Ridge, NC

They were each given a $3,000 secured bond and released to the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

Jacksonville man Terry Barnes pleaded guilty and sentenced to 14-17 years for the 2016 second-degree murder of his live-in girlfriend Tina Meyer

  On May 21, 2019, Terry Gordon Barnes, age 53 years, pled guilty to second degree murder.  The defendant was sentenced by Judge Charles H. Henry of Onslow County to a minimum of 168 months and a maximum of 214 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.  The State of North Carolina was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Kelly B. Neal and Precious Harrison-Cobb.  The defendant was represented by Attorney Paul Castle of Jacksonville, North Carolina.

    The evidence shows that on September 19, 2016, Onslow County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Old Maplehurst Road in reference to a shooting. Deputy Mark Hipple responded to the residence and found Tina Marie Meyer unresponsive on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound to left chest area.  Deputy Hipple located the defendant, Tina Meyer’s boyfriend of many years, outside the residence in a Ford Explorer and found Addison Riley, Tina Meyer’s step-fahter, inside the residence.  The defendant initially told Deputy Hipple that Mr. Riley had shot Tina Mayer and Mr. Riley indicated that the defendant had been the shooter.  An investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office would ultimately prove the defendant had shot and killed Tina Meyer.

During closing arguments of the April 2019 trial, ADA Kelly Neal argued the facts of forensics only made sense and that Terry Barnes did in fact kill Tina Meyer. Additionally that a verbal confrontation had transpired between the two of them before the rifle was retrieved. ADA Kelly Stated in his arguments it was impossible for an 81-year-old man who uses a walker to stand and walk to have shot Tina Meyer.

ADA Kelly Neal in closing arguments in the April trial

Defense Attorney Paul Castle argued that it did not make sense and that the man responsible for the death of Tina Meyer was her step-father, Mr. Riley. Castle presented demonstration of what he believed to exemplify the scene of the crime that night in his clients defense.

    Detectives learned that these three individuals had been out drinking that night and upon returning from the Globe and Anchor Bar, the defendant went into Mr. Riley’s bedroom and grabbed a .410 shotgun and returned to the living room.  He pointed the weapon at Tina Meyer and shot her in front of Addison Riley.  At the time of the shooting Mr. Riley was seated on a couch in the living room and Tina Meyer was standing in front of him.  The defendant put the weapon back in Mr. Riley’s bedroom and left the residence to sit in his vehicle.  An autopsy performed by Dr. John Almeida revealed that Tina Meyer had been shot in the left chest area with an entrance wound under her left armpit.  He concluded the wound was a fatal wound and that the shot occurred at a distance of three to five feet away from the victim.  

    The defendant was interviewed by Sheriff’s Office detectives and initially blamed Mr. Riley for the incident.  During the interview he eventually admitted to shooting Tina Meyer.  The defendant indicated the three of them had been out drinking and when they returned Tina Meyer was fussing at him.  He went into the bedroom and grabbed Mr. Riley’s shotgun and came back into the living room.  He pointed the gun at Tina Meyer to prove a point to her, thinking the gun was unloaded.  He cocked the weapon, pointed it at Tina Meyer and pulled the trigger, shooting her.  He demonstrated to detectives how he held the gun when he stood in front of the victim and shot her.  He told detectives he had been drinking and that alcohol played a part in what occurred.

    The case was tried as a first degree murder from April 1, 2019 until April 12, 2019 in Onslow County Superior Court.  The trial ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict.  

    DA Ernie Lee stated in a press release, “I commend the work done in this case by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.  The work done by the detectives and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit that night brought Tina Marie Meyer’s killer to justice.  This case was a senseless tragedy where someone lost their life due to a combination of alcohol and the use of a firearm.  Due to the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office, this defendant will serve a minimum of 168 months behind bars.”