Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Medals of Honor presented to Deputy Jonas Saunders, Constable Ron Bowling

jonas-1Around 7:44 p.m. Monday, September 26, 2015 Deputy Jonas Saunders received information from Whitley County E911 that David Christian, 77, of Lot Mud Creek Road was at his residence and
threatening to commit suicide.

Dep. Saunders responded to the residence, approximately 12 miles South of Williamsburg. Due the nature of the call, Second District Constable Ron Bowling also responded.

Upon arrival, Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling attempted to deescalate the situation. Verbal contact was made through a window. Christian was in an upstairs bedroom, cursing at officers and refusing to allow them entry.

The officers remained calm and tried to establish conversation. Christian was very upset and cited separation from his wife as the cause for why he would commit suicide by setting himself on fire.

Efforts to calm him were interrupted when he received a phone call and became even more emotional. Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling listened while Christian yelled at the caller with abusive language. Suddenly they were alerted by a very strong smell of gasoline.

Fearing Christian was actually going to attempt suicide by setting himself ablaze, Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling took action and forced entry into the residence through a patio door. The room they
entered was on fire and filled with smoke. They located Christian in a closet, and his clothing was on fire. He had to be forcibly removed from the residence. Even though he was combative and aggressive toward the officers, they managed to extinguish the flames. He was transported by Whitley Co. EMS to a nearby hospital.

Dep. Saunders and Constable Bowling were courageous and selfless. By putting their physical safety at risk to save a suicidal man, they demonstrated their commitment to serve and protect all.

[Pictured Above: National Sheriff’s Association President Greg Champagne, Constable Ron Bowling, Sheriff Colan J. Harrell, Deputy Jonas Saunders and Kentucky Sheriff’s Association President Wayne Wright; Pictured Below: Sheriff Colan J. Harrell, Constable Ron Bowling and Deputy Jonas Saunders]


Tips requested after recovery of stolen tractor and utility trailer

Around 8:30 a.m. September 13, 2016, the sheriff’s department received an anonymous tip that a stolen John Deere tractor could be located in a field along Smith Bend Road in the Rockholds community.

tractor-1Sergeant Todd Shelley went to the described location and located a 2016 tractor on a utility trailer. The trailer and tractor were confirmed stolen out of Crossville, Tennessee. The trailer was reported stolen from an individual and the tractor was reported stolen from a business.

Sgt. Shelley is continuing the investigation. Anybody with information about the theft or how the items came to be left at the aforementioned location is asked to call Whitley County E911 at (606) 549-6017.

Tip leads to meth lab discovery, arrest

Around 5 p.m. September 3, 2016, Deputy Jonas Saunders received information that a meth lab may be located at a Hwy 25S residence near the Emlyn community. Dep. Saunders made contact with 32-year-old Robert C. Trabish at that residence.

While looking around the residence, Dep. Saunders saw in plain view what appeared to be a one-step methamphetamine lab. Inside the residence were multiple items associated with the manufacture of meth, including drain cleaner and lantern fuel.

Tabish was arrested and is charged with first-degree manufacturing methamphetamine. He was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations (“DESI”) responded to the scene to take control of and safely dispose the meth lab. Dep. Saunders was also assisted by Detective Derek Eubanks.

2nd arrest in robbery investigation, also leads to drug investigation

Sheriff Colan Harrell reports that a second subject has been arrested in connection to the August 28, 2016 robbery and multiple vehicle break-ins at the High Top boat ramp. During the investigation continued by Deputy Brian Hensley, an arrest warrant was obtained for a second suspect: Glennis R. Nantz, 44, of Woodbine

On September 3, deputies arrested Nantz at his Hwy 6 residence without incident. Dep. Hensley noticed that Nantz has in his possession a pair of Reebok tennis shoes that matched the description of those taken during the robbery.

While at Nantz’s residence, Detective Derek Eubanks found upon Nantz a small bag containing a crystal substance believe to be methamphetamine and cash. Nantz asked Det. Eubanks to retrieve personal items from the residence and in plain view was a digital scale and another bag containing a crystal substance.
Upon search of the residence, approximately 3.5 grams of a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine, cash and drug paraphernalia were located and seized.
Dep. Hensley charged Nantz with first-degree robbery, theft by unlawful taking from an automobile, theft by unlawful taking of parts from an automobile, first-degree criminal mischief, attempted theft of an automobile and receiving stolen property.
Dep. Hensley also charged Nantz with impersonating a peace officer. During the investigation, a victim stated that Nantz and Isiah Chad Canada, who was arrested at the boat ramp the morning of the reported robbery, presented themselves as park rangers.
Dep. Hensley is continuing the investigation into the robbery and thefts. Det. Eubanks is continuing investigation into the drug-related activity.

71-year-old arrested for wanton endangerment

Around 2:20 p.m. September 2, 2016, Sergeant Todd Shelley responded to a Whetstone Road residence near the Rockholds community. Whitley Co. E911 had received a call that shots were fired from a vehicle toward a house.
Sgt. Shelley made contact with the homeowner, who identified a suspect. Sgt. Shelley located the accused, and in her vehicle were five bullet casings and a Ruger .22 caliber pistol.
Upon inspection of the home, Sgt. Shelley located a bullet that had penetrassted one window pane and came to rest before entering the home.
Sgt. Shelley arrested Julia Miller, 71, of Whetstone Road. She is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment.