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Police Blotter, April 19, 2015

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:15 AM

The following accounts were taken from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports:

Man pretends to be deputy

A Martinez woman said Wednesday that a man claiming to be a deputy who called her about a incident she witnessed wasn’t a deputy.

The 38-year-old woman said she got the call at noon. The caller identified himself as Columbia County sheriff’s Deputy Tim Rollins and said he was investigating an incident reported to the sheriff’s office on Monday involving a woman being harassed.

The caller asked if she had information on the incident, so she recounted what the victim told her.

She was suspicious of the call, so the woman called the sheriff’s office and was told no Tim Rollins worked for the department.

Two arrested for drunkenness

Authorities arrested two people in separate incidents Tuesday for being drunk in public.

At about 2:30 p.m., a deputy responded to a call of a man in the bushes outside River Ridge Middle School. Jeffrey Murl Moore, 50, was found outside of the Evans school with eight empty beer cans and four unopened cans next to him. Moore said he was from Greenville, S.C., is homeless.

He registered a .131 blood alcohol level and was charged with public drunkenness.

Another deputy responded to a call about a woman on the side of Hereford Farm Road near Lawrence Drive at about 5:30 p.m. Helen Lavern Turner, 56, of Evans, was found laying on the side of the road with an open bottle of wine and three unopened bottles. She refused to take a field alcohol test, but was charged with public drunkenness.

Fraudulent loan damages credit

A Martinez woman told deputies Monday that someone damaged her credit by defaulting on a loan obtained with her information.

The 53-year-old woman said she had a credit report run while trying to refinance her home.

The report showed that someone used her last name and Social Security number to get a $1,045 loan in November. Since then, the loan has not been repaid and it damaged the woman’s credit.

The woman contacted the loan company and told them about the fraud and reported it to authorities.

Man says he was drugged, robbed

A man called authorities Monday stating he’d been drugged and robbed by a friend.

The man said he went to a Old Petersburg Road house to visit a friend. He said his friend shot him up with heroin and robbed him because the man’s friend was sleeping with his wife.

The man said his friend drives a red Chevrolet with a hood scoop and runs an escort service.

The deputy found track marks from intravenous drug use on both of the man’s arms and he admitted to be being a frequent heroin user. The deputy had difficulty understanding the man’s garbled speech because he was heavily under the influence of drugs.

The man only gave the deputy his friend’s phone number. But the deputy didn’t make contact with him and searched, but never found the red Chevrolet. A neighbor said she didn’t recognize the man.

Categories: Local

Marriage Licenses, April 19, 2015

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:08 AM

Stephen Hill Reasoner IV and Avery Ensley Palmer applied for a marriage license on April 9, 2015, and were married April 9, 2015, in Evans.

Travis James Gauthreaux and Christiana Noelle Tejeda applied for a marriage license on March 13, 2015, and were married April 4, 2015, in Augusta.

Jonathan Eugene Sheets and Tarilyn Marie Garrard applied for a marriage license on March 16, 2015, and were married April 4, 2015, in Sandersville, Ga.

Ralph Stephen Debord and Tonnia Price Powell applied for a marriage license on Feb. 25, 2015, and were married March 28, 2015, in Appling.

John Levent Rose and Stacey Harbin Stencel applied for a marriage license on April 10, 2015, and were married April 10, 2015, in Evans.

Emmanuel Joseph Angulo and Annastasia Marie Dilworth applied for a marriage license on April 9, 2015, and were married April 9, 2015, in Evans.

Terry Eugene Reames and Stephanie Nicole Gray applied for a marriage license on April 9, 2015, and were married April 9, 2015, in Evans.

Joseph Leroy Jenkins Jr. and Diondra Lanise Johnson applied for a marriage license on March 13, 2015, and were married April 9, 2015, on Fort Gordon.

Walter Frank Ramsey II and Courtney Brie-Ann Frasier applied for a marriage license on April 6, 2015, and were married April 11, 2015, in Evans.

Bradley Thomas Williams and Melissa Sue Bryan applied for a marriage license on March 27, 2015, and were married April 4, 2015, in Bogart, Ga.

Karluis Arbolay Mitchell and Cristina Melissa Lopez Cora applied for a marriage license on April 2, 2015, and were married April 2, 2015, in Evans.

Erick Fabian Lopez and Diana Zamudio Rodriguez applied for a marriage license on April 6, 2015, and were married April 10, 2015, in Evans.

Brian Christopher Watson and Ashley Nicole Wedding applied for a marriage license on April 13, 2015, and were married April 13, 2015, in Evans.

Stuart Anthony Lehn and Leah Rose Finney applied for a marriage license on March 26, 2015, and were married April 4, 2015, in Peachtree City, Ga.

Christopher Damron Treager and Amy Kathleen Cotton applied for a marriage license on March 24, 2015, and were married April 10, 2015, in Evans.

Gerald Macellus Tanksley and Annisha Lashelle Vaughns applied for a marriage license on Aug. 20, 2014, and were married April 4, 2015, in Augusta.

Andrew Joseph Cowan and Lisa Marie Prickett applied for a marriage license on April 15, 2015, and were married April 15, 2015, in Evans.

Categories: Local

Divorces, April 19, 2015

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:08 AM

Tammy Brown and Victor Brown, March 26, 2015.

James E. King and Jenne E. King, March 26, 2015.

Bertha Renee Nasworthy and Billy Graham Nasworthy Jr., March 30, 2015.

Matthew W. Baldwin and Wilva Baldwin, March 20, 2015.

Cynthia D. Allison and Glenn M. Allison, Oct. 6, 2014.

Peggy Hilton Lane and Fred Larry Lane, Oct. 15, 2014.

Johnny Hugh Braddy Jr. and Jessica Lynn Braddy, Dec. 17, 2014.

John O. Warren and Chelsea A. Warren, March 20, 2015.

Pamela Makison Pitcher and Michael Eugene Pitcher, Dec. 22, 2014.

Melissa Gale Woods and Stacy Michael Woods, Jan. 16, 2015.

Constance E. Strohl and Kendall C. Strohl, April 2, 2015.

Mary Franklin Barmore and Burton B. Barmore III, March 31, 2015.

Megan Jesson and David Jesson, March 30, 2015.

Faith Mowell and Robert J. Mowell II, March 20, 2015.

Oral Corbin Calton and Deborah Lynn Carlton, March 20, 2015.

Robert W. McQuinn Jr. and Krystal L. McQuinn, March 20, 2015.

Christopher Allen and Donna Holbrook, March 16, 2015.

Holley P. Oellerich and James D. Oellerich, March 20, 2015.

Journey Yvonne Parker and John Ira Parker, March 20, 2015.

Cynthia Inez Hogan Allen and John Royce Allen Jr., April 7, 2015.

Stephanie Meriweather and Gerald Meriweather, March 26, 2015.

Derek Brewer and Caitlin Brewer, March 30, 2015.

Eli Jesse Dove and Lara Dove, April 1, 2015.

Categories: Local

Gov. Nathan Deal to speak at Chamber event in May

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:07 AM

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will be visiting Columbia County next month.

Deal has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Post-Legislative Breakfast on May 7, chamber officials announced this week.

The annual event is held at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Evans.

Included in the program will be updates on the 2015 Session of the General Assembly from Columbia County’s local legislative delegation. The delegation includes Sen. Bill Jackson, Sen. Jesse Stone, Rep. Ben Harbin, Rep. Barry Fleming, Rep. Barbara Sims and Rep. Tom McCall.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast and the main program begins at 8 am.

There is no charge for Columbia County Chamber members. Nonmembers can attend for $25. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the Chamber at (706) 651-0018 or online at

Categories: Local

Chamber announces new VP

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:07 AM

Heath Taylor was recently hired as the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s first vice president.

Taylor took over as the chamber vice president, a newly-created position, on Monday.

He will oversee membership sales and retention efforts, including committees and programs.

Taylor also will head the Columbia chamber’s new Foundation and Workforce and Education Committee and programs.

Taylor spent seven years as the Director of Membership and Vice President of Business and Community Development for the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

Categories: Local

Alleged rape victim made similar accusations before

Sun, 4/19/2015 12:05 AM

A woman who accused a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy of rape last week made a similar allegation against another man last year.

In a report filed with the Richmond County Sheriff’s office on July 11, 2014, the 33-year-old Martinez woman said a friend raped her in a hotel room five months earlier. The woman said she and a longtime friend went out to eat. The pair argued and went back to a hotel on Boy Scout Road in Augusta to watch movies.

The woman said she rolled over to go to sleep and her friend began tickling, then kissing her. When her friend got on top of her, the woman said she pushed him off and told him “No” several times, according to the report. The woman said her friend stopped.

After falling asleep, the woman said she woke to find her friend on top of her. He swore when she opened her eyes and looked at him, according to the report. The woman, who said she rolled over and went back to sleep, said her friend was still in the room when she awoke at about 11 a.m. and they talked until he left for work at about 2 p.m.

The woman said she kept in contact with the man for a few weeks. When asked by investigators if she kept any clothing from the night of the incident, the woman said she did, but the articles had been washed several times. She also didn’t know if her friend used protection during the incident, according to the report.

No charges were filed in connection to the incident.

In her recent report, the woman alleged that Cpl. Jason Turner raped her at his Martinez home on April 9. The woman said Turner assaulted her between 12:30 and 6 a.m. and she did not give him permission to touch her or have sex with her, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

She also claimed Turner took photos of her with his phone.

The woman went to Georgia Regents Medical Center to have a sexual- assault examination performed.

“At this point, we are unable to corroborate her allegations,” Morris said Wednesday. “Due to the lack of evidence, no charges have been filed. The case remains open pending crime lab results (of the sexual assault kit).”

The woman also called authorities twice on Feb. 13 to report battery at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law. At about 7 a.m., the woman said she and her husband were arguing about a sick child when her husband punched her in the face several times, threw her down and kicked her several times. She said he then, slammed her head into a door, according to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office incident report. The only visible injury was a small scratch on the woman’s forehead.

Her husband said that during the argument, his wife attacked him and slapped him across the face. He told deputies that he pushed her away and tried to walk away, but his wife jumped on his back, according to the report. The woman’s husband said he pulled away, which is when she fell and hit her head on the door, and he left.

No one was charged and the woman’s husband said he’d seek a divorce and wanted no more contact with his wife.

More than an hour later, the woman called authorities again claiming she was assaulted by her mother-in-law. She said her mother-in-law came into her house looking for a compressor and she followed her mother-in-law around the house because of the earlier incident with her husband. She said her mother-in-law hit her with her left arm, according to the report.

The woman’s mother-in-law said she was looking for a compressor for her son and the woman was ‘getting in her face” so she put her arm up to keep the woman off her, but never hit her.

Categories: Local

Panthers pounce on Wildcats heading to post-season

Wed, 4/15/2015 12:15 AM

With wins in three of their last four games, the Lakeside High School Panthers head into the Region 2-AAAAA Tournament with confidence and a head of steam.

The latest win was Friday when they beat Lexington High 8-1 after the Wildcats began the day by losing to Evans.

A No. 4 seed, the Panthers (9-10, 2-4 Region 2A-AAAAA) will travel to No. 1 seed and defending Class AAAAA state champion Houston County (13-7, 9-1 Region 2B-AAAAA), in a doubleheader on Thursday beginning at 4 p.m.

If a deciding game in the best-of-three series is needed, it will be played Saturday because both schools’ proms are Friday.

Panthers’ coach TJ Davis was happy his guys had one more game to get ready for the postseason.

“We gave the guys three or four days off, we wanted to make sure the fielding was still there,” Davis said. “Make sure our game as a whole is where we want it to be going into playoff time. If we’re playing like this and playing well going into the playoffs, we’ve got a chance.”

He knows they’ll face a battle-tested Bears’ team.

“I know they’re pretty good,” Davis said. “Houston’s got some of those guys coming back who can make it tough on you. Traveling is always tough, especially when you go that far.”

The Panthers jumped out quickly Friday, scoring two first inning runs. Leading hitter Raekwon Bennett knocked in his team-leading 18th RBI, driving home Luke Wiles with a triple over first base down the rightfield line. Bennett came home to score on a Brandon Hensley groundout.

The Panthers broke it open with a five-run rally in the second. Leading off, David Stahler, Cameron Johnson and Tyler Scarbary all reached and Parker Leathers drove an 0-2 curveball into the right-center field gap, clearing the bases.

“I was looking fastball but saw curveball and just kept my hands back and tried to drive the ball and hit it as hard as I could,” Leathers said.

“It kind of opened the floodgates for us,” said Davis of his batter coming through in the clutch. “It gave us a cushion to do some different things on the mound. The more we play with a little bit of cushion the better we’re going to be. That makes everybody feel better but it definitely gives your pitchers some confidence and it lets your defense play and just go.”

Junior Daniel Wiggins (3-1) was the recipient of the Panthers’ offensive showing, picking up the win with four innings on the mound. He gave up one run on two hits with a strikeout. Scarbury pitched two scoreless innings and Patrick Tom closed out the seventh.

Wiggins and senior Jake Gilbert should be taking the hill for the Panthers to open the series against the Bears. Leathers thinks the team as a whole is catching fire at the right time.

“Our hitting is coming along and our pitching is really getting us there,” Leathers said. “Wiggins threw a heck of a game against Greenbrier (March 31) and things are falling together for us and we’re getting hot for the playoffs.”

Categories: Local

Evans re-writing lacrosse history

Wed, 4/15/2015 12:14 AM

The history of lacrosse in Columbia County will be adding another chapter next year.

After gauging interest from students, officials at Evans High School made the move to field a girls and boys team beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

“We felt the time was right, now, financially and with some other things, to give it a go,” said Evans’ athletic director Kevin Kenny, who filed paperwork with the GHSA on March 29. “We have some people in place that are willing to coach it, so we decided to go ahead and start next year.”

Evans joins Lakeside, which started a boys team in 2006 and a girls team in 2007 and Greenbrier, which started a boys team in 2007 and a girls team in 2008.

Jeff Becker, Greenbrier boys lacrosse coach and president of the Augusta Lacrosse Club, was excited to hear the Knights were adding the sport and what it might eventually mean down the road.

“This will hopefully break the seal and possibly see more teams start,” said Becker. “I’m sure they will have growing pains. We all do but it would be great to see a region in Georgia that is of only Columbia County and maybe Richmond County teams.”

Kenny said Gina Zagarella, a special education teacher and an assistant coach with the softball and track teams in her first year at the school, has been identified as the girls’ coach.

Zagarella said she had always been interested in the sport and just missed out playing as Mill Creek High School added it in 2010, the year after she graduated. She has had some experience with it already, though.

“Being a P.E. major, I taught a few lessons on lacrosse and we would play it in class sometimes, and I always enjoyed it,” Zagarella said. “When coach Kenny brought up that opportunity, I thought it would be a great experience and definitely a challenge but I thought it would be definitely fun,” Zagarella said.

She thinks getting some girls out will be a hurdle to clear.

“I think my first biggest challenge is competing with soccer in getting some girls out there,” Zagarella said. “Most of our athletic girls are doing either soccer or track right now. I think the biggest challenge will be trying to convince girls to come out and try a new sport.”

Kenny meanwhile is looking for a boys coach.

“We’ve had some interest from the lacrosse association and CSRA and lay coaches to help,” Kenny said. “Greenbrier and Lakeside use their lay coaches’ knowledge and expertise and we’re going to have to do the same thing probably, get some lay coaches to help get the program started.”

Kenny noted that established programs will be in the second year of their area schedule next year and not sure if they will be able to play a varsity schedule or come in playing just JV games that first season.

“If we have to play a JV schedule the first year that’s not a big deal,” Kenny said.

Lakeside boys coach Ron Ritter was also excited to have another county school jump in feet first.

“It will only make our area stronger in the long run,” Ritter said. “Hopefully they will reach out and ask for help starting the program up.

‘‘Lacrosse is a close-knit sport and we need to work together to make sure they prosper.”

Categories: Local

J.D. Paugh Memorial Concert on Saturday

Wed, 4/15/2015 12:11 AM

Evans Towne Center Park will be the place to rock this weekend at a concert to honor a fallen officer and raise funds for local law enforcement.

The rock band Tonic will perform Saturday at the inaugural J.D. Paugh Memorial Concert at Lady Antebellum Pavilion.

The concert was organized in conjunction with the fourth annual J.D. Paugh Memorial Ride, which will be held earlier in the day, said Michael Cardenaz, president and co-founder of the J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation.

A concert for the slain officer was considered by foundation officials for a few years, Cardenaz said. Musicians will perform at Wild Wing Cafe in Augusta after the ride. But organizers wanted to extend the festivities into the evening.

“We didn’t want to go small,” Cardenaz said. “We wanted to go big. We wanted to do a headlining act that evening.”

The all ages concert starts at 6 p.m. with Tonic and special guests The Edison Project.

Tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased at the gate or at Wild Wing Cafe, Augusta Harley-Davidson and online at and

Proceeds from the concert and ride benefit the J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation, which supports 13 Georgia and five South Carolina law enforcement agencies around the Augusta area.

“Everybody has budget constraints,” said Cardenaz, adding that they help purchase needs and wish list items for the agencies. “The things that make the officers’ jobs safer and in turn makes their ability to serve the public safer.”

The foundation also provides benevolence, financial assistance to law enforcement officers who may have fallen on hard times due to injuries or accidents.

Cardenaz said food and drink vendors will be at the concert, so no outside food, drink or coolers are allowed. But chairs and blankets are welcome.

For more information, visit

Categories: Local

Harlem to celebrate Georgia Cities Week

Wed, 4/15/2015 12:11 AM

Harlem officials will spend next week celebrating Georgia Cities Week.

The theme for the week of festivities from the Georgia Municipal Association is Destination Downtown. And city officials will be showing off a part of downtown, the city’s Public Safety Building, during an open house on Sunday.

“It’s for people to come in and look,” said Stacie Hart, the city’s Community Services and Events coordinator.

Hart said citizens are invited to tour the building at 110 W. Milledgeville Road from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The public can talk to police officers and firefighters, tour the facility and view equipment and enjoy refreshments.

Georgia Cities Week gives cities an opportunity to share information about the valuable services they provide to residents and how they positively affect quality of life for citizens. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate community achievements and recognize volunteers and city employees.

In honor of Georgia Cities Week, city officials will recognize three Harlem Middle School sixth graders who wrote entries for the “If I Were Mayor” essay contest at the monthly meeting on April 27.

Hart said she’ll also be recognizing two senior citizens who are active in the community.

“I’m hoping it will also encourage volunteerism from many,” Hart said.

Also during the city-centered week, a Harlem High School senior will be job-shadowing Public Works Director Robert Fields.

Categories: Local

Police Blotter, April 15, 2015

Wed, 4/15/2015 12:08 AM

The following accounts were taken from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports:

iPad is stolen from visitor

A man in town for the Masters Tournament called authorities Friday after discovering his iPad missing from his hotel room.

The 60-year-old man said he left his room at the Quality Inn on Jimmie Dyess Parkway near Interstate 20 at about 6 a.m. the previous day to go to the tournament. He said the iPad was missing when he returned at about 5:30 p.m.

The hotel manager said housekeeping personnel did make a note that the man’s room door was open when they arrived to clean it.

Woman scared by firecrackers

A Grovetown woman said early Sunday that someone set off fireworks near her home.

The woman said someone set off firecrackers in front of her home between 10:50 p.m. and midnight Saturday. She was on the side of her home when she heard the fireworks, but she didn’t see anyone or a vehicle nearby.

A deputy found red paper strewn in the street in front of the woman’s home and two pieces of Black Cat wrapper paper next to her mailbox. The mailbox and yard were not damaged.

Man threatened by computer

An Evans man said Thursday that a computer hacker locked up his computer.

A 46-year-old man said he got a call from a 989 area code at about 6 p.m. The caller claimed to be a Microsoft employee who needed remote access to the man’s computer to safeguard it from viruses. The man followed the caller’s instructions to go to to allow the remote access. After following the instructions, the caller asked the man to pay for the services.

When the man refused to pay initially, the caller insisted the man provide his credit card information. When the man again refused, the caller told him the computer would be blocked. The computer reset and the man couldn’t log in. When he called the number back, it went to a recorded message stating the number was out of service.

A deputy told the man to contact all of his banking and credit institutions.

Woman taken for drug tests

A friend of a Martinez woman called 911 early Sunday to say she might have been drugged at an Augusta club.

The woman said she was at a night club in Richmond County late Saturday into Sunday morning and left about 2 a.m. because she was feeling unusually intoxicated, possibly high. She went home, but didn’t feel any better. The woman called her roommate, who called 911.

The woman was adamant that she’d only had two alcoholic beverages during the night. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital for further evaluation.

Thieves target jewelry store

An employee of a Martinez jewelry store said Thursday that she found evidence someone tried to break into the store through the ventilation system.

The employee of The Gold Shop at 3817 Washington Road said she found damage to the air conditioning duct that leads into the building. She thinks someone tried to get into the building through the air duct.

Categories: Local

Perfect day for county teams

Tue, 4/14/2015 9:18 PM


On the day back from spring break, it was a perfect day for Columbia County teams in their respective region tournaments. All who played moved on to the semi-final round and qualified for the state post-season.

Where to start.

The Evans boys tennis team entered the Region 2-AAAAA tournament as a No. 4 seed on the road facing No. 1 Houston County. Forfeiting No. 1 doubles because one of the players was ill, all three singles won for the 3-2 win.

“We went out and played hard today,” said Evans coach Sarah Harrington. “I told the boys, No. 4 doesn’t mean anything, play strong!”

Not as big an upset but the Lakeside soccer girls were a No. 3 seed on the road facing No. 2 Northside, Warner Robins. They went into penalty kicks tied at two and won that 4-3 in seven attempts. They’ll face No. 1 seed and crosstown rival Greenbrier Thursday night at Blanchard Woods Park.

The No. 1 seed Lakeside boys and girls tennis teams cruised to 5-0 wins over Warner Robins and Northside, Warner Robins, respectively. No. 2 seed Greenbrier girls and boys followed suit. The girls beat Warner Robins 5-0 while the boys topped Jones County, 3-0.

In soccer, the No. 1 seed Greenbrier boys beat Northside, Warner Robins, 10-2, while the Lady Wolfpack blanked Warner Robins, 9-0. The No. 2 seed Evans Lady Knights beat Jones County at home, 3-1. The Lakeside boys were a No. 2 seed facing No. 3 Warner Robins and won at home, 4-2.

The Grovetown soccer boys had their shot at an upset delayed when their game with Houston County was postponed due to lightning. The Lakeside boys will face the winner of that contest – at some point.

Categories: Local

Mother arrested for hosting teenage party

Tue, 4/14/2015 11:48 AM

An Evans mother was arrested Monday accused of hosting a party with drugs and alcohol for her teenage daughter and her friends.

Rachel Lynn Lehnardt, 35, was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

An Augusta woman told authorities Saturday that she was recently appointed as Lehnardt's sponsor through Alcoholics Anonymous and Lehnardt told her about a recent incident at her home on Whitney Pass, according to a Columbia County Sheriff's Office incident report.

Lenhardt said her children were with their father when her 16-year-old daughter texted asking if she could have friends over "to party," according to the report. She agreed and allowed her daughter and her friends to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana in her home.

The woman said Lehnardt continued to describe the incident stating she played naked Twister with the teens and had sex with an 18-year-old and her daughter's 16-year-old boyfriend, according to the report. The woman said Lehnardt also claimed she showed photos of herself and her boyfriend having sex and other pornographic material to her daughter.

Lehnardt was released from the Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $3,200 bond, according to jailers.

Categories: Local

Missing man found drowned in lake

Tue, 4/14/2015 11:37 AM

A man wanted in South Carolina who disappeared from a lake recreation area over the weekend was found dead in the lake early Tuesday.

Columbia County Deputy Coroner Bonnie King said that a park ranger found Devin T. Wright, 47, of Jackson, S.C., floating 20-30 feet off shore in a cove at West Dam Recreation area at about 8:30 a.m. King pronounced him dead at 10:15 a.m. He is presumed to have drowned, but King said an autopsy will be performed at a Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.

Wright was reported missing early Saturday after a park ranger at the recreation area on Clarks Hill Lake discovered his drivers license in the trunk of a rented Ford Focus in the parking lot and some personal items including keys, a cell phone and clothing on a picnic table nearby, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

The vehicle was seen in the park the night before, but was not reported until the park ranger saw it again Saturday morning.

Though no one saw Wright in the water, Morris said the Columbia County Dive Rescue and Recovery Team was called and searched for Wright.

Morris said Wright is a suspect in about 15 incidents of thefts of construction equipment, accessories and vehicles in Columbia County over the past several years. In one of those cases, the victim saw a piece of his stolen construction equipment for sale online. He found out where the equipment was and saw it before calling authorities, according to a press release from Aiken County sheriff’s Capt. Eric Abdullah.

On April 6, Aiken County authorities executed a search warrant and began a week-long search of property owned by Wright in Ridge Spring, S.C., said Abdullah. A large cache of stolen property including vehicles and construction equipment was found on the property.

Categories: Local
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