Saying Good-Bye to Our Hero…

Picture, if you will,  a beautiful church sitting up on a hill. At the doorway of the church sits a green tractor tricycle, with lovely flowers adorning the back. A colorful array of flowers fill the pulpit, where people stand, some sitting, who are present to pay their final respects to the bravest little boy they have ever known. Some are sniffling quietly, while others allow the tears to flow freely, and some just struggled to keep their composure.

And in the center of the pulpit sits a small white casket, with a green tractor embroidered on the back. And there inside the sea of white lie Eli Sims, the smallest cancer warrior many had ever known. No one would ever guess by looking at his sweet, angelic face that this child had fought more battles in his short three years on this Earth than most men had seen in a lifetime. There are no marks on the outside of his thin little frame, yet if we could see on the inside, it would confirm the battle scars of his brief Earthly presence.

At Eli’s  feet, lie two handmade cards from his older brothers, Noah and Colin, along with two rubber bracelets that read “Prayers for Eli”. Standing beside the casket are two of the strongest people you will ever meet, and not by choice, I assure you. Throughout the last 16 months, Kelcey and Jason Sims have clung to their undying faith in God to get them through the nightmare that cancer put their son through, and their family. If one had never met these wonderful people, they would not be able to see the tiredness in their eyes or  the pain in their hearts, but I could and it was all I could do to get through our brief condolences without breaking down like a baby.

Behind Kelcey was a recliner, which had to be brought in since she was still recovering from her second surgery, after complications from a hernia repair several weeks ago. She will still undergo more surgeries too in the near future. What these parents have went through will change their lives, and the lives of their children forever, for the loss of a child is something that cannot be explained…at any age.

And of course, nearby as always was their family, close friends, and their church family. What a support system this family had! It was nothing short of inspirational the way this tight-knit congregation had enveloped the Sims’ family with love, prayers, and faith. I’m quite certain this family could not have made it without them. That’s what a difference a devoted church family can make in your life and Barfield Baptist has an amazing one, without question.

When Eli was diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver cancer in late December 2015, the very first thing this church did was hold a huge prayer rally. They coordinated fundraisers, helped with the children, and was never far away if the Sims’ needed a helping hand, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. 

For sixteen months, Eli fought a courageous, valiant battle. He was given every type of chemo out there to rid his body of this wretched disease. And nearing the end, when Jason and Kelcey were told there was nothing more they could do medically, they set out on another path to search for alternate means to save their son’s life. This journey took them to different states for clinical studies, but sadly, the end result was same….so they brought Eli home to spend his last days with his family. They watched as his little body grew weaker and weaker, until finally it could take no more. Eli passed on April 10, 2017, and even though it was expected to eventually happen, it still didn’t make it any easier. 

Tomorrow, Kelcey and Jason will lay their sweet baby to rest. I can’t even imagine their pain. I don’t think anyone can unless you’ve been through it and my heart goes out to them. Losing a child is not how the natural order of life is supposed to go, but we really never know what hand life is going to deal us.

Eli’s battle has touched more people than one can count and Clay County has rallied behind the Sims. I think I can safely say that hearts are breaking all over this county tonight for the loss of this little hero

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 13th,  those who wish to are welcome, and encouraged to join in forming a line along Hwy 9 from Benefield Funeral Home in Lineville to Barfield Baptist Church ( the route of the procession) beginning at 9:30 am.

The procession will begin at approximately 10:00 and will be led by two big green tractors, that Eli loved so much, fire trucks, and a police escort. So, please come join us and show love for our fallen hero and his dear family.  But remember to be safe. Please stay out of intersections and watch for traffic. This event has not been approved, nor will they be responsible,  by law enforcement, Benefield Funeral Home, or Barfield Baptist. We invite you to pay your respects, but we don’t want to see anyone hurt. 

 

 

Sheriff’s Office Investigates Sexual Abuse cases 

On March 18, 2017, Sheriff’s Investigators received a complaint of possible sexual abuse of underage children. The investigation began with an allegation of sexual misconduct in late 2016 and early 2017. That investigation led to more possible sexual abuse dating back to 1997.

Sheriff’s Investigators were able to piece together time frames associated with the alleged victims. In the early morning of March 30th, 2017, Sheriff’s Investigators and Deputies executed a search warrant at 631 Hayes Road, Ashland, Alabama and seized several electronic devices possibly associated with storage of child pornography.

Arrested was Christopher Kendal Smith, age 39 of Ashland, and Phillip Mills, age 32 of Ashland.  Smith has been charged with 3 counts of Rape 2nd and remains in the Clay County Detention Center with bonds totaling $300,000.00.

Mills was charged with possession of marijuana 2nd. Mills was committed to the Clay County Detention Center and later released on $12000.00 bond. This investigation is continuing with deputies following leads and collecting evidence of other possible victims, stated Sheriff Latham.

Investigators are urging persons with any knowledge of this or any other sexual misconduct activity to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division at 256 354 2176, Investigator Shannon House or Jason Freeman, as there is no statute of limitations on most sex crimes.

Former E-911 Director Faces Felony Charges

Marsha Spurlin

Former Clay County E-911 Director, Marsha Spurlin, was late to be added to the list of indictments handed down by the Grand Jury on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Spurlin has been charged with Theft of Services 1st and Theft of Property 1st.

Spurlin was terminated from Clay County E-911 in January 2016, and although the reason for her termination was never specified, there were allegations of misconduct, misappropriation of funds, and abuse of authority.  Shortly after her termination, an investigation was launched into alleged wrongful activity of the former Director by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

According to the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts State Audit for this time frame, this wrongful activity is confirmed in great detail. The report names Spurlin doctoring her time card for overpayment of hours,  and giving herself a raise without consulting district, among several other issues . Below is a description of a charge made by Chief Examiner on audit report:

The Director was responsible for communicating to an outside payroll service the approved amounts of compensation to be paid for each employee. The Director instructed the payroll service to pay her additional amounts which were not authorized or approved by the District. These unauthorized amounts include an additional 13.33 hours in addition to her normal salary, 10.42 hours of overtime, 65.33 hours of holiday pay, 20 hours of leave sold and an excess amount received from a one-time salary increase. Additionally, the Director increased her base salary without authorization or approval of the District.

The report can be read in its entirety at: http://www.examiners.state.al.us/ReportSearch.aspx

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Spurlin’s bond has been set at $20,000 for these felony charges. Her arraignment will take place on April 26, 2017.

 

Clay County Grand Jury Report- April 11, 2017

The Grand Jury report for April 2017 is as follows:

  • JESSIE DEE WATERS – Burglary, 3rd Degree
  • EDWARD CRAIG ATCHLEY – Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, Possession Controlled Substance
  • SHONTONIO QUINTAVI BATTLE– Theft of Property 1st
  • MICHAEL AARON BOYD –  Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Pistol-Carrying without License, Possession of Controlled Substance
  • CHARLES JAVORIS BROWN-Escape 3rd Degree
  •  DONALD DAKOTA CAMPBELL – Possession Forged Instrument
  • AMANDA SUE CAMPBELL – Identity Theft
  • JOSHUA CODY CULLARS – Theft of Property 1st, Burglary 3rd Degree
  • BRANDI LYNN DELANEY – Driving while Revoked, Switched Tag, Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, 2 Counts Possession of Controlled Substance
  • WOODROW DOUGHERTY– 10 Counts Possession Forged Instrument
  • JADARIUS DEONTE DRUMMONDS – Strangulation/Suffocation, Domestic Violence 3rd-Assault 3rd, Violation Domestic Violence Protection Order
  • GAVIN JENNINGS EAST – Discharge Gun OCC Building-Vehicle
  • JOHN WILLIAM EDMONDSON -Theft of Property 2nd, Possession Marijuana 1st, Del/Sale Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Controlled Substance
  • AUDREY BRANDY FOWLER –  5 Counts Possession of Forged Instrument
  • GLENN ADRAIN – Burglary 1st Degree, Domestic Violence 2nd Degree
  • BRANDON CORTEZ GLENN – False Reporting to Law Enforcement
  • LAMAR GLENN – Assault 2nd Degree
  • SKYLAR CHRISTIAN GLENN  -Discharge Gun OCC Building/Vehicle
  • NATHAN ALEXANDER GODWIN – Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, Possession of Controlled Substance
  • THOMAS RAY GRAVETTE – Possession of Controlled Substance, Use/ Possession Drug Paraphernalia
  • CHRISTOPHER WAYNE GRIFFIN – Pistol-Certain Persons for, Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia
  • RICHARD MATTHEW HALL – Possession/Receive Control SU
  • CECIL STEPHEN HAYES – Use/ Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Controlled Substance, Pistol in Vehicle
  • CINDY MARIE HICKS HAYNES -Burglary 3rd Degree, Theft of Property 1st
  • AUDREY ANDRETTE HEARD – 3 Counts Possession Forged Instrument
  • STEVEN RAY HUBBARD – Domestic Violence 3rd- Harassment, Throw Deadly/Danger/Missle, Possession Controlled Substance
  • GLORIA ELIZABETH HUNT – Identity Theft
  • JAMES MELVIN JENKINS JR – Break/Enter Vehicle, Theft of Property 2nd
  • JONATHAN LEE JONES – 2 Counts Sex Abuse- Child Less 12 year old
  • RICHARD ALLEN KENT – Possession Marijuana 2nd, Possession Controlled Substance
  • AARON MICHAEL MAPLES – Pistol-Certain Persons For, Burglary 3rd Degree, Theft of Property 2nd Degree
  • TANNER BLADE MARTIN – Theft of Property 1st, DUI-Controlled Substance
  • ROBERT NEIL MASHBURN – Theft of Property 3rd Degree
  • ASHTON CAIN MCARTHUR– Sorna Violation
  • STEVEN LEWIS MITCHELL – Discharge Gun OCC Building/Vehicle
  • LARMIE CASEY MIZE – Possession Controlled Substance, Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Marijuana 2nd
  • DECARLTON LYNN NELSON– Theft of Property 1st, Burglary 3rd Degree, Possession Controlled Substance, Drive w/ Suspended, Open Container Violation
  • TERESA LYNN SAPP– Possession Marijuana 1st, Possession Controlled Substance
  • MARSHALL LARRY SPATES– Theft/Deception 2nd
  • MARSHA LUKER SPURLIN – Theft of Services 1st, Theft of Property 1st
  • TERRY FERNANDO TAYLOR– Theft of Property 3rd Degree
  • JOSHUA RAY THORTON– Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, 3 Counts Possession Controlled Substance
  • NICHOLAS WESTON TURLEY– Possession of Controlled Substance
  • MATTHEW DYLON WATTS– Discharge Gun OCC Building/Vehicle
  • WILLIAM MORRIS WHATLEY II – Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Marijuana 2nd, Possession Controlled Substance
  • JANNY BUTLER WHITE– Sorna Violation
  • JOSEPH COREY WILBANKS– Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, Possession Controlled Substance
  • KEVIN WAYNE WILLIAMS –  Three (3) Counts  Sorna Violation

 

 

Multiple Agencies Assist in Locating Missing Person

Press release issued by Lineville Police Chief Shane Dunnagan:
Just after 9pm on Tuesday March 21, family members of Tiarra Ingram reported to the Lineville Police Department that she had left her residence after having a seizure. Ingram was seen later that night around 11pm, but ran when she was confronted.
Officers and the Clay County Rescue Squad were unable to locate Ingram and continued to patrol the area along with family members who were also out looking.
The next morning a larger search party consisting of the Clay County Rescue Squad, Lineville Police Dept., Lineville Maintenance Department, and the Lineville Fire Dept. responded to search the area on foot and by four wheelers. The Randolph County Rescue Squad also responded with their K9 search dog. The ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) Aviation Unit was contacted and sent a chopper to assist in locating Ingram. Ingram was not found to be in the area where she was last seen and the search was expanded.
A statewide broadcast, local news, and social media was used to spread the word of the missing person. Around 9pm,  we received our first call from a subject who had seen Ingram on the railroad tracks in the Highland Area earlier that day. Lineville Police and Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area where they patrolled and walked the tracks, but Ingram was not found.
On Thursday night around 6:40 Jarred Henderson, a Cheaha State Park Ranger, located Ingram on Adams Gap Rd. Henderson contacted the Clay County Sheriff’s office and Deputy Shaddix responded and made contact with Ingram. Clay County Sheriff Ray Latham and his wife Beverly arrived on scene and Ingram was given food and water. Investigators from Ashland and Lineville along with the Clay County Rescue Squad also responded.
Sheriff Latham and his wife transported Ingram back to the Lineville Police Dept. where she was seen by paramedics and reunited with family. Ingram was transported to the Clay County Hospital where she was treated and released with no injuries.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has gotten with the family and Equipped Ingram with a bracelet which can be used to locate in the event of a missing person. This equipment is used by the Sheriff’s Department normally on Alzheimer and Dementia patients and has proved to be a life saver.
This situation could have had a devastating outcome, but thanks to the many different agencies who responded, Ingram was returned home safely to her family.
Chief Dunnagan states “I want to thank all the agencies involved; Clay County Rescue Squad, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Lineville Fire and Maintenance Dept., Ashland Police Department, CSX, Cheaha Park Ranger, Ingram’s family, friends, and the concerned citizens in the community who called and help locate Ms Ingram. I would also like to give a special thanks to the Randolph County Rescue Squad and the ALEA Aviation Unit who responded to our County to help”.

U.S. Forest Service Prescribed Burn Notification- March 23, 2017

The Talladega National Forest – Talladega Ranger District is planning to burn 825 acres today, 4 miles east of Sylacauga, AL and the Shoal Creek Ranger District is planning to burn 100 acres today, 4 miles northwest of Coleman Lake and 1 mile south of Co. Rd. 55.  For further details, please see the attached News Release. 

(Heflin, Al)  March 22, 2017—- The Talladega National Forest – Shoal Creek Ranger District is planning to burn 100 acres today, 4 miles northwest of Coleman Lake and 1 mile south of Co. Rd. 55.    Forest Service roads 540, and 540C form portions of this burn boundary.  FSR 540 should be traveled with caution due to fire personnel usage.  During today’s burn, the public will notice Forest Service fire crews and equipment.  Smoke may also be visible on County Road 55.

The wind is expected to be out of the North and carry the smoke to the South over the forest towards the Coleman/Horse Camp area.  As the temperatures cool later today, the smoke may begin to settle down in the Shoal Creek or Choccolocco drainages.  Some settling may also occur around the general area of the burn. Signs will be posted if needed.  If encountering smoke on roadways, please slow down, turn on your low-beam headlights and use caution when encountering prescribed burning operations and smoke.

Remember, a prescribed burn is a controlled fire ignited by professionally trained and experienced Forest Service personnel.  A prescribed burn is carefully planned to improve the health of your national forest.  If you have any questions, please contact the Talladega Fire Dispatch at 256-362-7000

LPD Take Burglar Suspect in Custody

Below is a press release issued by Lineville Police Chief Shane Dunnagan:

Just after 3:00 am on the morning of March 18th, Lineville Officers responded to a break- in on Evans Ave. Officers were able to get pictures of the subject and because of recent contact, were familiar with him. 

Lineville Officers, assisted by Ashland Police and Clay County Sheriff Deputies, located the subject at his residence and placed him under arrest. 23- year- old William Trammell was arrested on charges of Burglary, Theft of Property 1st, and Possession of Burglary Tools. Lineville Investigator has also obtained evidence to charge Trammell for the Burglaries at the Dial Apartments and several vehicle break-ins in the same area.

Chief Dunnagan states “This has been an ongoing investigation, and thanks to the community for their help in closing these cases. I would also like to thank Ashland Police and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance”.

U.S. Forest Service Prescribed Burn Notification-March 20, 2017

The Talladega National Forest – Shoal Creek Ranger District is planning to burn 600 acres today, at Coleman Horse Camp. FSR 553,500, and 553D form portions of the burn unit boundary, also the Talladega Ranger District is planning to burn 980 acres today, 5 miles east of Sylacauga, AL. Forest Service roads 601, 601B, 601D, 601E and 601K should be traveled with caution. Please read press release issued below for more information.

(Heflin, Al)  March 20, 2017—- The Talladega National Forest – Shoal Creek Ranger District is planning to burn 600 acres today, at Coleman Horse Camp. FSR 553,500, and 553D form portions of the burn unit boundary.  Please use caution while traveling in this area due to crews and vehicles present.

 

The wind is expected to be out of the south and carry the smoke to the north toward the middle of the forest.  Smoke will be visible from Hwy. 78, forest service roads 553, 500.

As the temperatures cool later today, the smoke may begin to settle down Shoal Creek Drainage and some settling may occur down.   Some settling may also occur around the general area of the burn. Signs will be posted if needed.  If encountering smoke on roadways, please slow down, turn on your low-beam headlights and use caution when encountering prescribed burning operations and smoke.

Remember, a prescribed burn is a controlled fire ignited by professionally trained and experienced Forest Service personnel.  A prescribed burn is carefully planned to improve the health of your national forest.  If you have any questions, please contact the Talladega Fire Dispatch at 256-362-7000.

U.S. Forest Service Prescribed Burn Notification for March 17, 2017

(Heflin, Al)  March 17, 2017—- The Talladega National Forest – Shoal Creek Ranger District is planning to burn 300 acres today, approximately 3 miles north of Delta. FSR 512 form portions of the burn unit boundary.  Please use caution while traveling in this area due to crews and vehicles present.

The wind is expected to be out of the southwest and carry the smoke to the north toward County road 3, 24 and 49 in the Abel area.  Smoke will be visible from Hwy. 9, Hwy. 281 County roads 49 and 3.  As the temperatures cool later today, the smoke may begin to settle down Chulafinnee Drainage and some settling may occur down Armstrong creek towards Hwy. 9.   Some settling may also occur around the general area of the burn. Signs will be posted if needed.  If encountering smoke on roadways, please slow down, turn on your low-beam headlights and use caution when encountering prescribed burning operations and smoke.

(Talladega, Al)  March 17, 2017—- The Talladega National Forest – Talladega Ranger District is planning to burn 1805 acres today, 9 miles south of Talladega, AL in the Horn Valley area.  Forest Service Roads 600-1 and 662 form portions of this burn boundary and will be closed for today. During today’s burn, the public will also notice Forest Service fire crews and equipment along County Road 308 (Horn Valley).  Smoke will be visible from Hwy 77 and County Rd 7.

The wind is expected to be out of the southwest and carry the smoke to the northeast towards Chandler Springs and Cheaha State Park. As the temperatures cool later today, the smoke may begin to settle down in Horn Valley and the Hatchet Creek drainage . Some settling may also occur around the general area of the burn. Signs will be posted along roads if needed.  If encountering smoke on roadways, please slow down, turn on your low-beam headlights, and use caution when encountering prescribed burning operations and smoke.

Remember, a prescribed burn is a controlled fire ignited by professionally trained and experienced Forest Service personnel.  A prescribed burn is carefully planned to improve the health of your national forest.  If you have any questions, please contact the Talladega office at 256-362-2909.

 

Body found in Clay County Identified

According to a 911 call that went out earlier this Sunday morning, March 12,  a deceased male, approximately 60 years of age, was found by a passerby near the intersection of Providence Rd and Canady Rd in the Bluff Springs/Mellow Valley area. The body was just outside of the deceased’s vehicle that appeared to have gotten stuck in the mud.17269728_650728118462012_507952837_o

According to sources, the deceased has been identified as Donald Campbell, of Alexander City, who was reported missing by family on Saturday, March 11. Campbell suffered from dementia and was last seen around 3:00 pm on this day.

This information has not yet been confirmed by Clay County Sheriff’s Office, but rather information I have gathered on my own.

My heart goes out to this family for the loss of their loved one.

The Nitty Gritty – Clay County News and Events