Columbia County man gains notoriety as Miley Cyrus stalker

Morris News Service


TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. -- Mark McLeod stood out among the throngs of fans at the Tybee Island pier even before he told police he and Miley Cyrus were engaged - even before he said the teen star communicated with him through secret messages in photos and her "Hannah Montana" TV show.

Mr. McLeod, 53, of Appling, first drew attention during the carnival scene shoots for "The Last Song" last month because he was walking up to young girls and making "inappropriate comments," Tybee Island police said.

When officers approached him, the Columbia County man began screaming obscenities and had to be subdued in double-locked handcuffs. He also tried to head-butt one of the arresting officers on the way to the patrol car, Tybee police reported.

This isn't the first time Mr. McLeod has popped up at a Miley event, nor is it the first time for him to come to the attention of law enforcement. He showed up outside a March 6 book signing in Manhattan, where in a video clip posted by the New York Daily News, he professed his love for the girl he said he would marry.

"He was already a known stalker," said Tybee Police Lt. Bob Bryson. "There was some intelligence given to us. Disney security was pretty open that there were people that were more of an interest to them because of their interest in her."

A Los Angeles police detective who works in the department's threat management unit contacted Tybee police after learning of Mr. McLeod's arrest. His presence at her film shoot here violated a court order in Los Angeles County, Detective Kevin Puebla told Mr. Bryson. Detective Puebla hoped to submit paperwork to have Mr. McLeod taken into custody.

But the Augusta area man was already gone.

The day after Mr. McLeod was arrested and taken to the Chatham County jail, he was released because of overcrowding, Sheriff's Lt. Tommy Tillman said.

Mr. McLeod did not have money to post bail, so he was released after signing a subpoena promising he would appear for a Sept. 1 court date.

Jail officials, Lt. Tillman said, apparently did not believe Mr. McLeod was a danger to himself or others, so they did not order a psychiatric evaluation at Georgia Regional Hospital.

Contacted Tuesday in Los Angeles, Lt. Puebla said he was aware of Mr. McLeod but could make no other public comments to the media.

Tybee Island law enforcement are concerned about McLeod returning. Fliers with his mug shot, physical description and some of his comments on the Web have been posted to alert officers. They were not aware "of the L.A. situation," Bryson said, until after McLeod was arrested.

"We're definitely on the lookout for him," Bryson said.

Perceived relationship

During the long ride from Tybee to the Chatham jail, McLeod talked with Officer Warren Millikan about his perceived relationship with Miley, which had begun a year and a half ago, he said.

"'Our eyes met at her concert and we both knew," he is reported to have told Officer Millikan. "I walked straight through security and up to her bus. Billy Ray was standing there. He shook my hand and said, 'You're the good man we've been praying for.'"

Mr. McLeod said he is not close to Miley's mother, Trish, whom he says was "linked to security." Miley's security people, he added, "walked with the devil."

A Disney movie executive in charge of national publicity said the studio would have no comment.

Lt. Bryson, however, assured that Miley has round-the-clock security staffed with experts. In addition, off-duty Tybee officers are providing additional protection.

Filming is expected to continue on the island this week, and should Mr. McLeod return, Lt. Bryson said, he could face charges of stalking or aggravated stalking, depending on the circumstances.

Mr. McLeod could not be reached at his Appling home. A message said his voice mailbox was full.

His determination was evident to Tybee police.

"No one will ever be able to keep us apart," he told Officer Millikan.

"We're like one."



Read the arrest report.



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