Police at odds in Miley Cyrus stalker case linked to local man

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- When Mark McLeod was booked into the Chatham County jail, officers there had no idea the Augusta area man claimed he was marrying teen star Miley Cyrus.

They didn't know Mr. McLeod believes her father, Billy Ray Cryus, is ready to welcome the 53-year-old into the family as a son-in-law.

They didn't know, Chatham Sheriff's officials say, because they were never told by Tybee Island police. Mr. McLeod, of Appling in Columbia County, was booked into the Chatham jail June 22 and released June 23.

Wednesday night, Tybee Island Police Chief Jimmy Price still didn't see the need in telling jail officials.

"Why should we?" he asked, adding, "Who said he needed (psychiatric) help?"

But according to a report by one of Chief Price's officers, booking officials heard some of Mr. McLeod's far-fetched statements.

"McLeod stated to the booking personnel that he was Miley Cyrus' boyfriend," Officer Warren Millikan wrote in his arrest report.

"McLeod requested that they contact Cyrus 'before we waste all this time.'"

When asked whether Mr. McLeod's statements about marrying Miley, hearing secret messages from her over TV or being welcomed into the family would be indicators that a mental health evaluation might be needed, Chief Price answered: "I have no problem with it."

Chatham County jail officials, he said, did the right thing with their procedures.

Sheriff's Lt. Tommy Tillman said in an e-mail Wednesday that had Tybee police alerted them "to the seriousness of the situation," Mr. McLeod's booking might have been handled differently.

The jail could have called on full-time mental health counselors or a mental health doctor on call. They also have the option to send inmates to Georgia Regional and other mental health hospitals for treatment, Lt. Tillman said.

Tybee police Lt. Bob Bryson said Tuesday that island officers bring prisoners to the county jail with the expectation that officials there can initiate mental health screenings.

Lt. Tillman did not respond to a phone call Wednesday seeking further explanation of jail procedures.

'No active case'

Nothing in Mr. McLeod's arrest charges indicated he was a potential stalker, either.

Mr. McLeod was charged with two misdemeanors - disorderly conduct and obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Because Mr. McLeod was considered nonviolent and had no felony charges, he was allowed to be released on a signature bond. In it, he promised to return for a Sept. 1 court date on Tybee.

Law enforcement officials currently do not know Mr. McLeod's whereabouts. Arrest records indicate he is from Appling, a town 25 miles west of Augusta.

Tybee police say they are watching the island and the movie set, where Miley is filming "The Last Song."

Should he show up, Bryson said Tuesday, Mr. McLeod could be charged with stalking or aggravated stalking, depending on the circumstances.

Mr. McLeod could not have been charged with stalking on June 22, Lt. Bryson said, because a pattern of behavior is required.

Based on Mr. McLeod's behavior, which included trying to head-butt an officer and screaming obscenities when officers tried to remove him from the pier, Lt. Bryson said Tuesday that Mr. McLeod should be considered a threat.

On Wednesday, he said Chief Price would handle any comments to the media.

Also Wednesday, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department's threat management unit, which handles celebrity stalking cases, also released a statement through the media relations department.

According to LAPD, detectives were notified by Disney security officials about Mr. McLeod's arrest on Tybee. They obtained a copy of the report in the event that Mr. McLeod might try to approach the teen at her home there.

The department is not working an active case, according to the statement. When asked whether Mr. McLeod had been arrested previously, Officer Karen Rayner said LAPD policy prohibits disclosing a previous criminal history.

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