Sheriff indicted for sexual battery in high school drug search

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

High School Drug Search Leads To Indictment Of Sheriff For Sexual Battery

A south Georgia grand jury indicted Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby on Tuesday for sexual battery, false imprisonment and violation of oath of office after he ordered a school-wide search of hundreds of high school students. Deputies allegedly touched girls’s vaginas and breasts and groped boys in their groin area during the search at the Worth County High School April 14.

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Two of Hobby’s deputies were also indicted Tuesday in connection with the case.

The controversial search drew national attention because of how the body search of students was conducted under the guise of a drug search, but produced no drugs or arrests.

The Worth County indictment accuses Hobby of one count of violating his oath of office and two counts of false imprisonment — all felony charges. He was also indicted on one count of sexual battery, a misdemeanor.

Hobby’s attorney, Norman Crowe Jr., said the sheriff was at the school, but did not search students. He said jurors at trial will get to hear the sheriff’s side of the story.

“The sheriff’s position is that he’s not guilty,” Crowe said. “He’s committed no crime.”

Deputy Tyler Turner was indicted on one felony count of violation of his oath of office and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery. Deputy Deidra Whiddon was indicted for one felony count of violation of her oath of office.

District Attorney Paul Bowden said warrants had not yet been issued for the arrest of the sheriff and his deputies, but he expected that as early as Thursday. He said he is preparing a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal to outline the charges against the sheriff. Deal has authority to suspend the sheriff as he did recently with DeKalb Sheriff Jeff Mann and Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman.

Reward offered in search for man suspected of raping, killing baby

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 2:20 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

Police Looking For Man Who Killed, Sexually Assaulted Baby

Police in eastern Ohio are looking for a man suspected of raping and killing a baby girl.

According to WFMJ, the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Joshua Gurto.

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Gurto is accused of raping and killing a 13-month-old girl in Ohio’s Ashtabula County. He is wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Conneaut Police Department on aggravated murder and rape charges, WFMJ reported.

The child, identified by authorities as Sereniti Jazzlynn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley, died Oct. 7, according to WJW. Citing the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office, the news station reported that she suffered blunt force trauma to her head and trunk.

Investigators told WJW that Gurto is the boyfriend of the baby’s mother. He has not been seen since shortly after Gurto’s death, when police in Conneaut released him from custody, WKYC reported.

“He was very cooperative through the whole initial process,” Conneaut police Det. Mike Sullivan told the news station. “We opted to release him. There were no charges to keep him at the time.”

Charges were filed against Gurto last week.

“She was a precious girl,” Sereniti’s mother, Kelsie Blankenship, told WKYC. “She brought me a reason to live.”

In an obituary, family members remembered Sereniti as a “loveable little girl who brought a smile to your face.”

“Her personality was bright and her smile was contagious,” the obituary said. “Although her time here was short, the lasting memories she brought to her family will forever be treasured.”

Police said Gurto has ties to western Pennsylvania.

He is described as:

  • 37 years old
  • 5 feet, 10 inches tall
  • 145 pounds
  • Deformed right ear
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Tattoos on right forearm

Anyone with information on Gurto’s whereabouts is asked to call the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 866-4WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the information to 84711.

Tipsters can remain anonymous.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Body of missing 6-year-old boy found in dumpster

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

VIDEO: Body of Missing 6-Year-Old Found In Dumpster

The body of a 6-year-old boy with autism, who was reported missing near Lynnwood, Washington, was found in a dumpster early Tuesday.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said Dayvid Pakko was a victim of a homicide. A 19-year-old man, who is a relative of the boy, has been taken into custody.

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Detectives were processing the crime scene Tuesday morning and are expected to be working for several hours

Dayvid was reported missing at about 5 p.m. Monday.

Crews searched for the boy in the area of 44th Avenue West between 156th Street and State Route 99, just outside Lynnwood city limits.

According to the sheriff’s office and relatives, Dayvid stayed home sick from school Monday. He was last seen at about 2:30 p.m.

The sheriff's office said Dayvid was under adult supervision while he was at home, but did not say who he was with.

Dozens of search and rescue personnel, along with civilian volunteers combed the area.

Warrant alleges mother put 2 toddlers in oven, turned it on

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 6:52 PM

Georgia Mother Kills Two Youngest Sons By Placing Them In The Oven

A 24-year-old mother of four is accused of killing her two youngest sons “by placing them in an oven and turning it on,” according to an arrest warrant obtained Monday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

An official autopsy is pending.

Fulton County jail officials said Lamora Williams waived her first appearance in court Monday on felony murder charges.

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The arrest warrant alleges Williams put her sons in the oven sometime between midnight Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday.

Williams called her sons’ father, Jameel Penn, on Friday night and showed him by video chat that something was wrong in her Atlanta apartment home.

Penn said he immediately called the police.

2 Children Found Dead in Apartment; Mother Charged

When officials arrived at the Oakland City West End Apartment complex, the boys, 2-year-old Ke’Younte Penn and 1-year-old Ja’Karter Williams, were dead.

Related: 2 children found dead in Atlanta apartment; mother charged

Friends and family members of Williams told the AJC she suffered from undiagnosed mental health problems that were exacerbated by her father’s death when she was 19 and by having four children younger than 7. They said she was also a single mother who had some help from Penn, but not enough considering her mental health.

Williams’ longtime friend Neesa Smith said Williams quit a job about a month ago because she couldn’t find a babysitter for the kids. 

“Nobody could tell what she was going through,” Smith said.

Williams’ sister, Tabitha Hollingsworth, said Williams is at risk and should be put on suicide watch in the Fulton County Jail, where she remains without bond.

Mother accused of killing toddler sons has history of mental illness, family says

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 2:17 AM

2 Children Found Dead in Apartment; Mother Charged

More details are emerging about an Atlanta woman accused of killing her two sons.

>> Watch the news report here

Lamora Williams, 24, has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of her two children, ages 1 and 2. Their brother, a 3-year-old, survived.

The father of the boys, Jameel Penn, told WSB-TV's Chris Jose that Williams showed the gruesome scene to him on a video call.

>> 2 children found dead in Atlanta apartment; mother charged

"It was like a real horror movie. It was Friday the 13th," he said. "When I saw my kid, how I saw my kid, that's when I knew what was going on."

On Friday night, Williams told police that she left the kids with a relative around noon and returned home late in the evening to find the children dead. Police say that's not true.

Jose learned Penn was one of two people Williams called that night.

A picture that WSB-TV obtained shows an oven taken from the apartment. Police say the two boys, Ja'karter and Ke'yaunte, had obvious injuries, including burns.

Police said their brother saw his mother kill the boys.

Penn first met with Jose at a vigil with friends and family Saturday night. He told Jose that the last time he saw his two toddlers was last month.

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"Ja’karter, Keyante, my world, my everything. I’m lost," he said.

Neighbors expressed their grief and disbelief at the vigil. They told Jose that the apartment "smelled like death" – a smell investigators say indicates the bodies may have been inside for a few days.

"How does a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old get in the stove?" said Neesha Smith.

Williams' mother, Breanda, told Jose that her daughter has struggled with mental health issues her whole life. 

"I just came from the jail," she said. "I also let them know to put her on suicide watch because she’s gonna kill herself."

Lamora's sister, Tabitha Hollingsworth, believes that the deaths could have been prevented. 

"This was something we saw that could possibly happen. She's had issues from a baby. Issues my mom tried to address with the state of Georgia," Hollingsworth said.

Williams is expected to make her first appearance in court Monday.