Across the area

T-Mobile stores' owner wanted for questioning by authorities

Police issued an arrest warrant Saturday for the owner of three Columbia County cell phone stores that were raided by officials Friday.

Christopher Bettis, 28, had been wanted for questioning in connection with raids at his T-Mobile stores, where authorities say they discovered nearly 300 suspected counterfeit items including designer handbags, wallets, sunglasses and other merchandise.

Mr. Bettis faces a charge of insurance fraud and two counts of counterfeit trademark violations. He was expected to be traveling home to Evans from Virginia, but as of Saturday he had not contacted police.

Police look into death of woman at motel


Authorities on Saturday said they were investigating the death of a woman who collapsed in a Thomson motel room late Friday.

Thomson Police Investigator Lt. Scott Whittle identified the woman as 23-year-old LaShonda Williams, who lived in the 600 block of Ellington Avenue in Thomson. Lt. Whittle said medical personnel and officers found Ms. Williams unresponsive at 11:36 p.m. at Knox Terrace Motel.

"We know that she had some medical problems, but we don't know if that's what caused her death," Lt. Whittle said. "Right now, we're treating this case only as a death investigation."

An autopsy was performed Saturday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta, according to McDuffie County Deputy Coroner Sammy Purvis. Preliminary findings revealed "no foul play," Mr. Purvis said.

He has requested toxicology tests be performed, and results should be ready in six to eight weeks.

Mom, boyfriend face child cruelty charge

An Augusta mother and her boyfriend have been arrested on a child cruelty charge.

Authorities charged Letesia Deshawnda McGahee, 27, with second-degree child cruelty Friday. Her boyfriend, Rico Williams, 32, was charged with first-degree child cruelty.

Richmond County officers were sent to A Child's World day care on Wrightsboro Road on Friday after a report of a 4-year-old boy showing signs of abuse.

Mr. Williams and Ms. McGahee remained in the Richmond County jail Saturday night.

Dearing family loses home to morning fire

An early morning house fire displaced a McDuffie County family Saturday, but the blaze caused no injuries.

McDuffie County Fire Department officials were dispatched to 3795 Culbreth Road in Dearing about 2 a.m. Saturday, Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Sewell said. The fire began in the attic of the two-story home, which was destroyed, he said. The cause was unknown Saturday.

Augusta KFC robbed

An Augusta restaurant was robbed Saturday night, according to a Richmond County dispatcher.

The incident at the KFC on Deans Bridge Road occurred at 7:42 p.m. Saturday, the dispatcher said.

No other details were immediately available late Saturday.