Press Release

Whitley County Sheriff Dept.

Man arrested in pipe wielding assault

On March 25, 2018, Deputy Jonas Saunders was providing extra patrol in the Kensee Hollow area, where he encountered Michael J. Leach, 30. Dep. Saunders knew Leach to be wanted in connection to an assault that occurred at a MacKayla Circle residence.

Dep. Brandon Prewitt had responded to the assault several days earlier and found an adult male with. serious injuries to his face and head. According to witnesses, Leach and the victim were engaged in a fist fight until Leach obtained a metal pipe, which he used against the victim.

Whitley County EMS responded, and the South Whitley Fire Department assisted in setting up a landing zone at Boston Elementary. The victim was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The victim has since been released.

Leach fled the scene by vehicle prior to Dep. Prewitt’s arrival. Dep. Prewitt obtained a warrant for Leach’s arrest. Following Dep. Saunders’ traffic stop, Leach is now lodged in the Whitley Co. Detention Center.

Public help requested – Old Barton School Rd. burglary

The sheriff’s department is seeking the public’s help identifying the man in these photos.
On March 21, 2018, Deputy Brandon Prewitt responded to a burglary complaint at an Old Barton School Road residence, located off Fifth Street outside of Corbin.
The burglary occurred around 9:15 a.m. and one photo shows the perpetrator exiting with a 42″ LG brand flat screen TV. He also has a bottle of liquor in his left elbow. Additional property was taken.
The man shown in these photographs entered the passenger side of a white Chevrolet Impala with black wheels. The car left the residence in the direction of Fifth Street.
Anybody who can identify this man or with information of the crime should contact Whitley County E911 at (606) 549-6017. In case of emergency, always dial 911. Dep. Prewitt is continuing the investigation. Tips can remain anonymous.  

Drug possession in judicial center results in arrest

Around 11:30 a.m. March 19, 2018, Court Security Officer Chris Brown observed a man enter the Whitley County Judicial Center while continuing to smoke a cigarette. CSO Russell Strunk advised Michael David Young, 34, of Corbin, that tobacco was not permitted within the building.
Young left the building, went to an area where there were shrubs, and then re-entered for his appearance in circuit court. CSO Brown and Strunk went outside to where Young had walked. Within the shrubbery was a hypodermic needle containing a clear liquid.
Circuit Court Judge Paul K. Winchester was notified of the incident, and Young was ordered to take a drug test. While in a holding cell, Young was searched. CSO Brown found on Young’s person a small flashlight. In it was a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.
Young was questioned about the needle found outside and admitted it had belonged to him. He appeared under the influence and admitted to using drugs. After Young failed to produce a urine sample, Judge Winchester sentenced him to six months of incarceration.
Young now faces new charges by the sheriff’s department: possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. CSOs also determined Young was wanted for arrest due to charges in Laurel County.
Young was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center, and the investigation is continuing.
“Court Security Officers are on the frontline of protecting and maintaining order in and around the judicial center. What they do isn’t always as ‘newsworthy’ as other sheriff’s department activities, but their work is praiseworthy. Please join me in recognizing our CSOs for their work.” -Sheriff Colan J. Harrell

Child’s call to 911 results in arrests

Around 4 a.m. March 10, 2018, Deputy Brian Hensley responded to a 911 call from a KY 779 residence in the Rockholds community. According to dispatchers, two children under the age of 15 were in a home where a physical confrontation was occurring.

Upon arrival, Dep. Hensley heard yelling and screaming. Inside the home, he made contact with two adults, who had visible injuries and the smell of alcoholic beverage about their persons. The two juveniles were located, and social services was called to the residence. The juveniles identified the adults as their grandparents.

During the investigation, Dep. Hensley located a knife and a piece of wood with nails exposed. Among what was written on the wooden instrument was “Pain/may cause death.”

Dep. Hensley charged Scott Powers, 55, and Teresa Bunch, 51. with fourth-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Dep. Hensley is continuing the investigation and was assisted by Williamsburg police officer Mike Taylor.

Road rage results in shooting

On March 3, 2018, Dep. Joe Prewitt responded to a shooting at the intersection of US Hwy 25 and Hwy 204. A 25-year-old male was shot through an ear following an altercation with another driver.

Dep. Prewitt learned that prior to the shooting and at another location, Shiner Church Road, the victim and 77-year-old John T. Mullins exchanged words. Mullins was reportedly upset by the victim’s partial blockage of the roadway.

After parting ways, the two came into contact again at the US Hwy 25 and Hwy 204 intersection, where another verbal confrontation ensued. Mullins pointed a .38 caliber revolver at the victim and shot him at close range. The bullet went through the victim’s left ear.

Mullins was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. The victim was transported to Baptist Health Corbin, where physicians determined he needed to be transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Dep. Prewitt is continuing the investigation. Williamsburg police and Kentucky State Police assisted.

Missing Person ALERT

Family of Ricky David Lawson, 56, of Louden Road, say that on March 3, 2018, he left a family member’s residence in a smell, red 1989 Dodge Ram pickup with the intent of returning to his home but has not made contact with family since that date.

Lawson (pictured below) is approximately 6’3″ tall and weighs around 152 pounds. When he was last seen around 10 p.m. March 3, he was wearing blue jeans, a red tee shirt, a blue jacket, brown boots and a camouflage cowboy-style hat.

Anybody with knowledge of Lawson’s whereabouts is asked to please contact Whitley County E911 at (606) 549-6017. In case of emergency, always dial 911.

Lieutenant Dennis Foley is continuing the investigation.

Investigation, search warrant lead to drug arrest

On March 1, 2018, Deputy Jonas Saunders, Sheriff Colan Harrell, Chief Deputy Tim Baker and Dep. Cody Harrell executed a search warrant at a Fairview Depot Road residence, located off Hwy 1804. Approximately $6,000 in cash and drugs were seized.
Upon arrival, nobody would answer the door, but activity could be heard inside the residence. Entry was forced, and in a bathroom Michael Wilde, 36, was located attempting to flush drugs down a toilet.
Wilde was taken into custody. In his possession was over $6,000 in cash and multiple narcotics. Wilde was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Wilde also had an active warrant for his arrest stemming from a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife investigation. He was arrested for the warrants, which included charges of illegal taking of wild deer/turkey, obstruction/interference with an officer, second-degree endangerment of a peace officer and second-degree fleeing or evading an officer (on foot).
Dep. Saunders is continuing the investigation.

Two lost children, three adults arrested

On February 26, 2018, Deputy Jonas Saunders responded to a Hart Road residence after two children, ages 8 and 7, walked up to a stranger’s home and stated they were lost.
Dep. Saunders determined that the two kids walked through the woods for approximately two miles. They were left unattended for approximately two hours.
Dep. Saunders made contact with their grandmother, Angela Hubbard, 55, who said she believed the children were with their father. During the investigation, the father, Aaron J. Roark, 35, arrived at the scene. Roark said he believed the children were in the care of Hubbard.
Court records indicated Roark had a warrant for his arrest for non-payment of fines. Another person in the vehicle with Roark, Stanley Price, 35, was also determined to be wanted for arrest for failure to appear in court.
Roark and Hubbard were arrested for first-degree wanton endangerment and endangering the welfare of the minor. Roark and Price were also arrested for their outstanding warrants. All three were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Social services responded, and the children were placed into the custody of a family member. Deputies Joe Prewitt and Jason Strunk assisted in the investigation.

Felon apprehended, child removed from home

Around 8:30 p.m. February 22, 2018, Deputies Brandon Prewitt and Brian Hensley and Kentucky State Police Troopers Brandon Creekmore and Aaron Peace went to a Sheila Circle residence to arrest a man wanted for arrest.

A tip alleged that Garrett F. Elmore, Jr., 28, of Briar Creek Road, could be located at the residence. Elmore. had an active warrant for his arrest relating to a parole violation.

While knocking at the door, a man matching Elmore’s description was seen running through the home. Dep. Hensley and Trooper Creekmore located Elmore in a bathroom. In the bathroom was a bottle containing what’s believed to be crystal “ice” methamphetamine and needles.

A search of the residence led to the finding of a loaded syringe in the bedroom of Summer Thomas, 22, of Sheila Circle. In the residence was a three-year-old child.

Social services responded, and the three-year-old was placed into the custody of a family member. Thomas was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and first-degree possession of a controlled substance.

Elmore was taken into custody for the parole violation warrant (for a felony offense) and also charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth),  possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a minor. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center. The sheriff’s department welcomes all tips leading to arrests, and tips will remain anonymous.

Tip leads to recovery of stolen truck

On February 23, 2018, Deputy Brandon Prewitt received a tip that a stolen vehicle could be located along Ballard Ford East Road. Dep. Prewitt and Detective John Hill responded to the tip and located a 2007 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck abandoned in the mud.

Nobody was around the vehicle and E-911 dispatchers confirmed the truck was reported stolen by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department. A local towing company removed the truck, which had sunk into the mud approximately halfway up the doors.

Dep. Prewitt is continuing his investigation. Anybody with information about the theft or how the truck came to be abandoned should contact the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department or call Whitley Co. E911 at (606) 549-6017. The sheriff’s department appreciates all tips, and tips will remain anonymous.