Originally created 08/17/97

Local and regional news briefs



Police seek mother in kidnapping case

Aiken County Sheriff's Office was investigating a report of a parental kidnapping Friday night in the Beech Island area.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Steven and Melanie Mayo were taken from their grandparents' home by a person believed to be their mother, Wendy Mayo, police reported.

The grandparents, Thomas and Sandy Stavely, have legal custody of the children.

Steven is described as 3 feet 6 inches tall, 42 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Melanie is described as 24 inches tall, 26 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes.

Wendy Mayo, 23, of St. Paul, N.C., is described as white, 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes.

Police say she was accompanied by her brother-in-law, Gregory Horne. They left with the children in a 1996 or red two-door 1997 Nissan with a North Carolina license plate, police reported. The license plate number wasn't known.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of the children and their mother should contact Aiken County Sheriff's Office at (803) 642-1761 or (800) 922-3211.

Plane flips in emergency landing

WAYNESBORO -- A crop duster flipped over after an emergency landing Friday in Burke County when a cylinder blew.

The small aircraft with only the pilot aboard blew an exposed front cylinder, causing an increase in temperature and a drop in oil pressure, said Battalion Chief Kerry Mallard of the Burke County Fire Department.

As the pilot tried to land the plane on a road off Georgia Highway 24 just north of Morris Village Trailer Park, oil was thrown on the windshield and the pilot could not see, Chief Mallard said.

He was able to make a fairly smooth landing. But once on the ground, the plane became wrapped up in fence wire and flipped over, he said. The pilot walked away with no injuries, Chief Mallard said.

Two burglars hit woman's home

Two men broke into an Augusta woman's Jackson Road home Friday morning and stole jewelry and cash.

Nina Ruth Mills, 42, was asleep about 3 a.m. at her home in the 1400 block of Jackson Road when she heard two men at the door claiming they were police officers, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength of the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.

Armed with handguns, the men kicked in the door, and Ms. Mills retrieved a gun. But the men forced her to put it down and made her lie on the floor.

The thieves stole $300 cash and an estimated $1,700 worth of jewelry, according to police reports.

Two rob Wheeler Road motel

A Wheeler Road motel was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash Thursday night by two armed thieves, according to police reports.

A motel clerk at the Days Inn at 3654 Wheeler Road was counting money in the motel office about 11:15 p.m. when two men wearing camouflage and dark clothes pointed guns at him and demanded money, reports show.

One of the robbers stole money from the cash drawer, and both ran away.

The suspects are described as black and 5 feet 8 inches tall with medium builds. They wore bandanas over their faces.

Police arrest robbery suspects

Police arrested two men Friday who were wanted for breaking into a couple's home and robbing them at gunpoint.

Lamont Dunn, 20, and Rodriquez Hamilton, 19, were arrested on Wrightsboro Road on charges of armed robbery and weapons violations for a break-in Monday morning at a residence on Fairhope Street.

Two intruders - armed with guns - stole money, clothes and a car from the couple.

Mr. Dunn was also charged with aggravated assault related to a 1996 shooting, police said.

Man's bond set at $200,000

A judge set a $200,000 bond Friday for a 25-year-old Augusta man facing murder and aggravated assault charges in a July 4 shooting case in which a van was fired on and chased down several south Augusta streets.

Although Corey Jackson, of the 1200 block of Hernlen Street, isn't accused of actually firing the gun that killed Sherad Cunningham, 20, and wounded three of his friends, the prosecutor opposed bond.

Mr. Jackson is a party to the crimes, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Wright said, because he owned the car used in the shooting, knew beforehand that the shooting was going to happen and then hid the vehicle after the fact.

Men indicted on drug charges

Six Burke County men and one Augusta resident have been indicted on federal crack cocaine charges punishable by as much as life in prison without parole.

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday names Timothy Laron Fletcher, 23, of Augusta, and Burke County residents DeWayne Grubbs, 28, Larry Bush, 38, Albert Grubbs, 41, Frederick Scott, 20, Luther Henry, 25, and Ernest Lawrence, 47.

The indictment accuses the men of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, possession of crack with the intent to distribute, and attempt to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Mr. Fletcher also is charged with the offense of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Decomposed body identified

WINDER -- The decomposed body of a man found behind the wheel of a wrecked car in Barrow County was identified Friday as that of a missing metro Atlanta man.

The state crime lab identified the man as Michael Ellis Ford, 44, of Auburn, said Lt. Kenny Kilgore of the Barrow County Sheriff's Department.

Although Mr. Ford was reported missing Aug. 12 by his family, the last time anyone saw him was July 29, Lt. Kilgore said.

Mr. Ford's body was found Wednesday when a woman ran her car off the road, crashing it into a ravine near the Barrow/Gwinnett County line and came to a rest next to the wrecked car, Lt. Kilgore said.

Bridge reopens after glitch

BRUNSWICK -- The Sidney Lanier Bridge was reopened Friday - a week after an electrical malfunction closed this coastal city's main route south.

The 41-year-old bridge across the Brunswick River along U.S. Highway 17 got stuck after being raised to allow a ship to pass underneath on Aug. 6, said Robert Funderburk, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Commuters and tourists were forced to take detours 15 to 20 miles out of their way for about a week to get around the bridge.