Local News For The Unifour Area of NC

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, July 29th

Search warrants executed in Daniels case, apartment at complex searched

According to information released Monday, three search warrants were executed in the investigation into the murder of a popular teacher and counselor in Newton. The body of 31-year-old Maggie Daniels was found on June 28 in her residence at Windsor Apartments. Newton Police and agents with the SBI searched an apartment in a building on the complex, but it was not where Daniels’ apartment was located. Authorities say they executed another warrant for cellphone records in connection with the Daniels case. They would not say what the third warrant was for, but did say they got assistance with the search warrants from the Davie County Sheriff’s Office. Late Friday night and early Saturday morning, police searched apartment 52, which is several buildings over from where Daniels (pictured) lived. Police have not said why they searched the residence or what they were looking for. Like the previous search warrants in the case, these have been sealed. Police say they had a large amount of people to interview about the case; and quite a few of those interviewed have been ruled out as persons of interest, but reports say not the majority. All of the evidence seized from the apartment has already been sent to the State Crime Lab in Raleigh for analysis. The cause of death has not been revealed by investigators, they did determine shortly after Daniels’ body was found that she was murdered.

Man charged with meth offenses following investigation, search of home and vehicle

A Caldwell County man has been arrested and charged with several meth offenses. Following an investigation, 27-year-old Jerry Duane Anderson of Hudson was arrested by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office ICE Unit. Anderson (pictured) is charged with three counts of felony possession of firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to sell/deliver methamphetamine, and maintain a vehicle to keep/store a controlled substance. According to a news release, during the investigation, undercover purchases of methamphetamine were conducted from Anderson with Agents seizing approximately 27 grams of methamphetamine from him. The methamphetamine has a street value of $4,050.00.  Based on those controlled substance purchases, an Agent with the ICE Unit applied for and received a search warrant for Anderson’s home and vehicles. Agents located three firearms in his Jeep Cherokee, along with packaging materials, methamphetamine, and a digital weighing scale. The firearms consisted of a .38 caliber pistol, a .22 caliber rifle, and a .12 gauge shotgun. Agents also searched his home on Beach Road in Hudson and located additional packaging materials and a small detectable amount of methamphetamine. The investigation is continuing and more drug charges are expected to be filed against Anderson. He was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $265,000 bond, he made a first court appearance Monday.

Burke woman charged with meth offense in Catawba Co.

A Burke County woman faces a meth charge filed in Catawba County. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office arrested 27-year-old Heather Lasha Tomlinson Monday and charged her with one count of possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Tomlinson was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $10,000 bond.

Nebo man charged with choking another man

A Nebo man is charged in an incident in which he allegedly choked another man. Deputy Derrick McGinnis of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 28-year-old Mark Bess of Pinnacle Church Road, with one felony count of assault by strangulation. Last Thursday evening, deputies responded to Cedarbrook Residential Center and spoke to Douglas Charles Bryant. Bryant told them Bess, who is also a resident of Cedarbrook, came into his room and choked him. McGinnis and other deputies noticed bruising on Bryant’s neck, so Bess was charged.

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, July 28th

One month later, no arrest, few details released in Daniels murder investigation 

It’s been exactly one month since the body of popular Newton guidance counselor and teacher Maggie Daniels was found in her apartment, police have still not made an arrest in the case. Daniels, who was 31-years-old and worked at Discovery High School, was found deceased in her residence at Windsor Apartments in Newton on June 28. Little information has been released by Newton Police and the State Bureau of Investigation regarding the probe into Daniels’ death. Following the discovery of the body, police quickly ruled Daniels’ death a homicide but have still not said how she died. According to reports, Investigators have followed even the smallest clues in an effort to find the killer. Newton Police have looked at hours of store security camera video searching for any trace of Daniels as they tried to assemble a timeline of the last hours of her life. They have also interviewed more than 100 people including friends and neighbors of Daniels (pictured), and in some cases gone back to re-question people a second or even a third time.

Caldwell man caught during Burke convenience store break-in, admits to several other break-ins

A Caldwell County man charged in connection with a break-in at a convenience store in Burke County was reportedly seen by police in the business he broke into. According to a news release issued over the weekend, on July 6 at 2:07 a.m. the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service in reference to a Break-in at Jack B Quick at 900 Lenoir Road in Morganton. The Patrol Division with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, was on routine patrol and heard an alarm activation at the store. Deputies first observed the suspect inside the convenience store and the suspect then fled into a wooded area. Deputies pursued the suspect who resisted arrest once apprehended. The suspect was identified as 40-year-old Jason Setzer of Lenoir. The Burke County Criminal Investigations Division was given the case. Detectives with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Setzer who admitted to being involved in five other Break-ins to other convenience stores. Three incidents involving Setzer Breaking into businesses were at stores in Burke County, while the others were located in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain warrants on Setzer. In Burke County he’s charged with five felony counts and a misdemeanor and was placed in jail under $36,000 bond.

Burke man charged with store break-in 

A Burke County man is charged in connection with a break-in to a convenience store. According to a news release, on July 5, at approximately 4:44 a.m., the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service in reference to a breaking and entering. Burke County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the scene and met and spoke with Mr. Khalil Majeed, who advised that an unknown subject had broken into his convenience store, the Shop and Save #2 located at 2185 US 70 East in Morganton, and stolen several items from the business. The case was assigned to Investigators with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division for further investigation. Investigators obtained video surveillance footage of the suspect committing this crime and interviewed several witnesses. Investigators were able to identify the suspect in the footage as 35-year-old William Alan Abernathy, II. Subsequent to identifying Abernathy, Investigators made attempts to locate Mr. Abernathy but were unable to do so. Investigators issued an arrest warrant for Abernathy on July 11. On July 15, Investigators received an anonymous tip and were able to locate and arrest Abernathy (pictured) for these crimes. Abernathy was processed and confined at the Burke Catawba District Confinement Facility.

Nebo residents charged with break-in, robbery of home

Two Nebo residents are charged in connection with a break-in to a home. Detective Billie Brown of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 33-year-old Jennifer Lee Hollifield and 35-year-old Joseph James Taylor, with four felony counts apiece of obtaining property by false pretense, one felony count of breaking and entering and one felony count of larceny. On June 30, Gracie Ferguson, of Old Highway 10 East in Marion, reported that someone entered her residence and stole her purse, which contained money, debit and credit cards and a pistol and holster. Brown said an investigation led to Hollifield and Taylor, who allegedly used the debit card on four occasions at Walmart, Ingles, Verizon Wireless and Sunoco to purchase approximately $2,200 worth of merchandise. The pistol, a Phoenix Arms .22-caliber semi-automatic, valued at $200, has not been recovered. Anyone with information about the location of the gun can call Detective Billie Brown at the Sheriff’s Office at 652-2237 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.

Two Unifour cities, one other area community, acheive statewide accreditation 

The N.C. Department of Commerce, Office of Urban Development has announced that three area cities including the City of Morganton are among 20 communities across the state that have achieved accreditation from the National Main Street Center for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street programs, which have demonstrated exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach. In addition to Morganton, the other North Carolina Main Street programs that have earned accreditation for their 2013 performance are Brevard, Burlington, Clayton, Concord, Elizabeth City, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Goldsboro, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lincolnton, Marion, Monroe, New Bern, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Wake Forest, Waynesville, and Wilson. The Main Street Four Point approach focuses on Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Restructuring. Organization establishes consensus and cooperation by building partnerships among the various groups that have a stake in the commercial district. Promotion takes many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in your commercial district. Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape and creating a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers, and visitors. Economic restructuring strengthens the community's existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base. Coincidentally, the four points of the Main Street approach correspond with the four forces of real estate value, which are social, political, physical, and economic.

Top Unifour News Stories for Sunday, July 27th

Burke man charged with convenience store break-in 

A Burke County man is charged in connection with a break-in to a convenience store. According to a news release, on July 5, at approximately 4:44 a.m., the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service in reference to a breaking and entering. Burke County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the scene and met and spoke with Mr. Khalil Majeed, who advised that an unknown subject had broken into his convenience store, the Shop and Save #2 located at 2185 US 70 East in Morganton, and stolen several items from the business. The case was assigned to Investigators with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division for further investigation. Investigators obtained video surveillance footage of the suspect committing this crime and interviewed several witnesses. Investigators were able to identify the suspect in the footage as 35-year-old William Alan Abernathy, II. Subsequent to identifying Abernathy, Investigators made attempts to locate Mr. Abernathy but were unable to do so. Investigators issued an arrest warrant for Abernathy on July 11. On July 15, Investigators received an anonymous tip and were able to locate and arrest Abernathy for these crimes. Abernathy was processed and confined at the Burke Catawba District Confinement Facility. \

Caldwell man charged with multiple break-ins 

A Caldwell County man is charged with multiple felony break-in related offenses. 29-year-old Bobby Ray Abshire of Granite Falls is charged with felony counts of breaking and or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods or property, obtain property by false pretense, and misdemeanor larceny. The charges are from warrants out of Catawba County, Abshire was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $41,500 secured bond.

Alexander resident charged with drug offense 

An Alexander County resident faces a felony drug charge filed in Catawba County. 51-year-old Richard Talbert Hall of Hiddenite was arrested by the Hickory Police Department. He’s charged with one count of felony possession of cocaine. Following the arrest, Hall was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $2,500 bond.

Meth charge filed 

A meth charge has been filed against a Catawba County woman. Records on file at the Catawba County Jail show the arrest of 42-year-old Christina Jean-Marie Frye Hall of Conover. Following the arrest, Hall was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $6,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for August 7.

Weapon charge lodged 

A Caldwell County man faces a weapon charge. 44-year-old Aaron Wayne Douglas of Lenoir was arrested by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He’s charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, and driving while impaired. Following the arrest, Douglas was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $26,500 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Saturday, July 26th

Meth trafficking charge filed

A meth trafficking charge is among several charges filed against a Caldwell County man. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of 39-year-old Joshua Arron Freeman of Granite Falls. He’s charged with felony counts of traffic in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance in prison or jail. Following the arrest, Freeman was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $250,000 secured bond.

Multiple charges including drug offense filed

Multiple charges including a drug offense were filed against a Maiden woman arrested by two agencies. 33-year-old Desaray Dion Stollings was arrested by the Maiden Police Department and Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. She’s charged with simple possession of schedule three controlled substance, misdemeanor probation violation, and being a fugitive from another state. Following the arrest, Stollings was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $51,500 total bond, a court appearance is scheduled for August 20.

Burke man faces break-in charges filed in Caldwell

A Burke County man faces break-in charges filed in Caldwell County. The Lenoir Police Department reports the arrest of 26-year-old Jared Grant Bryant of Morganton. He’s charged with felony counts of breaking and or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods or property. Following the arrest, Bryant was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $10,000 secured bond.

Man charged with felony for violation of probation

A Catawba County resident is charged with a felony for violating the terms of a probation agreement. The Hickory Police Department reports the arrest of 24-year-old Az Thor of Hickory. He’s charged with one count of felony probation violation. Following the arrest, Thor was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $10,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, July 25th

Report: Fire claims man's life at Unifour motel

A fire at a Burke County motel earlier today claimed the life of a guest. According to WSOC-TV, guests at Lowman’s Motor Court on U.S. Highway 70 in Hildebran woke up to smoke just before 7 a.m. and tried to use a hose to put out the flames that were coming from one room. The report says firefighters arrived a short time later and were able to pull a man from that room. He was then rushed to Frye Regional Medical Center where he died, according to fire officials. The victim’s name has not been released.

Storms pound Unifour, cause problems including vehicle crashing into apartment 

Storms moved through the area late in the day Thursday, causing a string of problems. There were reports of trees and power lines down in several areas. In Morganton a tree came down on top of a Chevy Malibu stopped at the intersection of Burkemont Avenue and West Union Street. That happened at approximately 6:30 p.m. according to Morganton Public Safety. A little earlier than that, the driver of a Honda lost control and hydroplaned on West Union Street, the vehicle crashed into an apartment building at 709 West Union. Lightning is believed to be responsible for a fire at Wendy B’s Embroidery and Screenprinting on Highway 18 South. The business sustained smoke and water damage but there was not much structural damage. No serious injuries were reported in Thursday’s storm related incidents. The storms affected several counties in western North Carolina.

Man charged in stabbing death to appear in court

A man arrested and charged with murder in connection with a stabbing in Catawba County was scheduled to appear in court today. The victim tried to drive himself to the hospital according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, but did not make it. According to reports, police were called to the 2100-block of Stove Drive in Newton early Thursday morning and found 20-year-old Jason Margarita in a car, bleeding heavily. He was rushed to the hospital, but deputies say he died on the way. Deputies say he was stabbed during a fight with 34-year-old Kevin Jamal Haqq of Newton. Haqq was arrested and charged with murder. Deputies say the suspect was still at the scene when they arrived. Reports state that he has claimed self-defense. Haqq (pictured) was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.

Multiple meth charges filed

A Burke County man faces multiple meth charges filed in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested 33-year-old William Mitchell Lee Pope of Connelly Springs. He’s charged with felony counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling to keep controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Pope is also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Pope was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $220,000 secured bond.

Strangulation charge filed

A Caldwell County man is charged in connection with an alleged strangulation. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested 48-year-old Ronald Wayne Richardson of Lenoir. He’s charged with felony counts of assault by strangulation and restraint and a misdemeanor count of assault on a female. Richardson was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $5,000 secured bond following the arrest.

Top Unifour News Stories for Thursday, July 24th

Man stabbed to death during fight, arrest made 

A man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with a stabbing in Catawba County. The victim tried to drive himself to the hospital according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, but did not make it. According to reports, police were called to the 2100-block of Stove Drive in Newton early this morning and found 20-year-old Jason Margarita in a car, bleeding heavily. He was rushed to the hospital, but deputies say he died on the way. Deputies say he was stabbed during a fight with 34-year-old Kevin Jamal Haqq of Newton. Haqq was arrested and charged with murder. Deputies say the suspect was still at the scene when they arrived. Reports state that he has claimed self-defense. Haqq (pictured) was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

Second person charged in four-year-old's death

The boyfriend of a woman charged in connection with the death of her son over  Memorial Day weekend is now facing charges in the case as well. 25-year-old Dustin Wayne Sanders of Newton has been charged with felony child abuse and involuntary manslaughter. The charges are in connection to the death of four-year-old Logan Putnam, the son of Sanders’ girlfriend, 31-year-old Kelli Elizabeth Ledford, who is also a Newton resident. Ledford was previously charged with felony child abuse and involuntary manslaughter in connection with Putnam’s death. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office says the boy died as a result of injuries sustained in a near-drowning incident at Lookout Shoals Lake on May 24. Putnam died two days after the incident at the hospital. Sanders is being held at the Catawba County Jail under $100,000 bond.

Suspect flees, trooper vehicle gets stuck in mud during pursuit

A manhunt was conducted in Burke County Wednesday after police chased a car that took off from a checkpoint. Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said that they were involved in a low-speed pursuit around 11 a.m. after the driver of a green Mazda swerved into a front yard to avoid a license checkpoint. The car was driving toward the checkpoint near the intersection of Rhodhiss Road and Icard School Road in Connelly Springs when it reportedly made a U-turn in the road and fled. Officers chased the vehicle down Wade Drive, a one-lane dirt road off Rhodhiss Road. Officers lost the suspect vehicle after their vehicle became stuck in the mud. Police do not know why the driver fled. There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

Break-in, stolen goods charges filed

A Burke County woman is charged with break-in and stolen goods offenses in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested 23-year-old Kristi Rene Holsclaw of Morganton on Wednesday. She’s charged with felony counts of breaking and or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods or property. Following the arrest, Holsclaw was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $10,000 secured bond.

Stolen goods, drug charges filed in morning arrest

A Catawba County man arrested this morning is charged with stolen goods and drug offenses. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of 45-year-old Randy Allen McDonald of Claremont. He’s charged with possession of stolen goods, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor larceny, and second degree trespassing. Following this morning’s arrest, McDonald was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $3,250 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for August 6.

Top Unifour News Stories for Wednesday, July 23rd

Man arrested after police say they found him asleep in stolen vehicle with drugs

Police say a man charged with several offenses was found by officers, asleep in a stolen vehicle with drugs in his possession. On July 9, Burke County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 4388 Silver Creek Church Road in Morganton to respond to a suspicious vehicle. The caller reported that a suspicious light gray Ford Ranger pick-up was parked near their residence with a person inside the vehicle who was unresponsive. Deputies responded to find a gray Ford Ranger truck with 49-year-old Phillip Carl Henson of Morganton asleep in the cab of the pick-up. Deputies ran the tag displayed on the truck, which was discovered to be a stolen tag. Officers then woke Phillip Henson up and arrested him. Deputies discovered what appeared to be methamphetamine in Henson’s pocket. They had the substance tested and the test showed it was methamphetamine. Officers then ran the VIN number on the Ford Ranger truck and the vehicle came back as being stolen out of Jackson County N.C. Henson was not cooperative with the investigation.  Henson is charged with Felony Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle,  Felony Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance, Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods, Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Detectives with the Burke County Criminal Investigations Division have recovered several items of power equipment, such as ATV’s and lawn mowing equipment, during the course of the investigation into Henson. Detectives have recovered approximately $35,000 in stolen property that they say Henson has stolen across Burke County since February 2014, that was when he moved to Burke County from Jackson County. The investigation into various crimes connected to Henson is ongoing. Henson was placed in jail under $30,000 secured bond.

Suspects in convenience store robbery sought

Authorities are searching for two suspects in a robbery at a convenience store in Catawba County. Surveillance cameras captured footage of the two suspects, who never showed a weapon, and the owner didn't even realize a crime had happened until hours after it occurred. Surveillance video showed two men enter the Whistle Stop Run-in near Conover, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office says one man diverted the owner's attention by buying lottery tickets while his alleged accomplice went into the office area to go through the safe. The owner, Mack Patel, said he had no idea what was going on. According to reports, after stealing the money from the safe one of the men returned to the back of the store where he handed off some of the cash. The second man then returned to the counter to purchase the lottery tickets and drinks with the stolen money. Authorities believe the two men possibly left in a dark-colored Honda. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 828-466-7229.

New emergency communications center to start operations

Burke County’s new Emergency Communications Center is scheduled to start operations today. The new center is located at 650 Kirksey Drive in Morganton. Emergency and non-emergency calls will be answered out of the new location. Emergency Operations Center numbers are 828-437-1911 and 828-437-1170, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office number is 828-438-5500. Those calling Morganton Public Safety and Valdese Police after hours will be directed to the communications center. As always, if any resident has an emergency, call 911.

Business damaged in break-in 

A Hickory business was damaged in an early morning break-in Tuesday. The crime occurred at the Hickory Home and Garden Center on U.S. 321 at around 3 a.m. Employees told police someone damaged a fence and then cut through a metal wall of the business to get inside. The suspect stole money from a cash drawer but took off when an alarm went off in the business. If you know anything about this crime you're asked to call Hickory police.

Alexander woman charged with theft, stolen goods offenses in Caldwell

An Alexander County woman faces theft and stolen goods charges in Caldwell County. 46-year-old Dawn Renee Arnett of Taylorsville was arrested Tuesday by the Lenoir Police Department. She’s charged with larceny, possession of stolen goods or property, and probation violation. Following the arrest, Arnett was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $45,000 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, July 22nd

Catawba Commissioners approve rezoning for industrial park following lengthy public hearing

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners Monday unanimously approved a rezoning request submitted by residents on Startown Road and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, after hearing speakers for and against during a lengthy public hearing. The request is to rezone 174 acres on Startown Road for a new business and industrial park. Officials believe the project, entitled “Park 1764” could result in anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 jobs in the future.  Residents speaking against the rezoning cited reasons including traffic concerns, while those who spoke in favor of the park focused mainly on the jobs the project could bring to the area. 

Man arrested this morning after allegedly fleeing from police

A Burke County man arrested this morning is charged in connection with a chase with police. The Long View Police Department reports the arrest this morning of 22-year-old Payton Phillips Hildebran of Connelly Springs. He’s charged with flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle and driving while license revoked. Following the arrest, Hildebran was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $8,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

Man charged with break-in, theft at local company

A Morganton man is facing charges in connection with a break-in and theft at a local company. On July 15, Officers with the Morganton Department of Public Safety arrested Michael Brenton Leonard and charged him with one count of breaking and entering and one count of larceny after breaking and entering. According to a news release, Leonard was observed by officers removing metal sheets and pipes from a fenced in area at 121 Rand Street. Leonard was previously an employee of Case Farms Market where the items were stolen from. Officers report they saw Leonard loading his vehicle with the stolen items and initiated a vehicle stop on West Fleming Drive. The news release says this is the second incident involving Leonard as a suspect from this location. In May of 2013, Leonard was suspected of stealing metal from Case Farms while still employed there. No charges were filed at that time. Leonard was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond after warrants were taken out by Inv. Tim Corriveau.

Forgery, obstruction charges filed

A Guilford County resident faces forgery and obstruction charges filed in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office reports the Monday arrest of 25-year-old Jessica Gay Parks of Julian. She’s charged with forgery of an endorsement, obstruction of justice, and giving a false statement. Following the arrest, Parks was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $45,000 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, July 21st

Investigation continues more than three weeks after murder of teacher

It’s been more than three weeks since the death of popular Newton guidance counselor and teacher Maggie Daniels and police have still not made an arrest in the case. Daniels, who was 31-years-old, was found deceased in her residence at Windsor Apartments in Newton. Three weeks ago last Friday, a store security camera captured her image as she was leaving a Walmart in Conover. A friend who was shopping with her said Daniels went home afterward and the last contact the friend had was a text message from Daniels at approximately noon that Friday. The following morning Daniels’ body was found on the floor of her apartment. Police quickly ruled her death a homicide but have still not said how she died. According to reports, Investigators have followed even the smallest clues in an effort to find the killer. Newton Police have looked at hours of store security camera video searching for any trace of Daniels as they tried to assemble a timeline of the last hours of her life. They have also interviewed more than 100 people including friends and neighbors of Daniels (pictured), and in some cases gone back to re-question people a second or even a third time.

Burke man charged with attempted burglary in Hickory

A Burke County man arrested late Sunday in Catawba County faces an attempted burglary charge. The Hickory Police Department arrested 27-year-old Sidney Jay Hallyburton of Glen Alpine. He was arrested on 13th Street Southwest and charged with one count of felony attempted first degree burglary. Following the arrest, Hallyburton was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $50,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.

Alexander man charged with meth offense in Caldwell

An Alexander County man arrested Sunday faces a meth charge in Caldwell County. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested 36-year-old Eric Lee Bentley of Taylorsville. The charges filed against Bentley are felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Bentley was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $20,000 secured bond.

Catawba County Commissioners to meet tonight

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a request by property owners Ruth B. Lutz (Ruth A. Hollar, trustee), Kevin Lutz, Carol Y. Lutz and W. R. Lutz Jr., Brenda G. Lutz, and Brenda Lutz Kiser and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation to rezone approximately 174 acres, at 2255, 2349, 2355, 2369, 2405 and 2415 Startown Road from R-20 Residential to Planned Development-Industrial Park-Conditional District for the new purpose of a creating a Class A Business/Industrial Park, when the Board meets at 7:00 tonight at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.  The proposed business/industrial park would meet many of the Startown Small Area Plan (SAP) guiding principles and recommendations, Board of Commissioners’ 2014 – 2015 goals and strategies, and a set of binding negotiated conditions regarding the park’s development. The Board will consider a request to approve an interest cap on variable interest rate bonds for Catawba Valley Medical Center.  The Board will consider whether to  pursue “electing county” status for another year for the Department of Social Services, which gives the department greater control over local welfare policies and available funding.  It will consider accepting three State grants awarded to the County Library, which would be used to implement a long-range strategic plan for the library, new technology to improve tracking of library inventory, and development of a robotics camp for young adults to promote science, technology, engineering and math career paths.  The Board will consider declaring two Ford Crown Victoria automobiles as surplus and donating one to the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad and one to the Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.  The Board will consider amending the County Personnel Code to allow County employees to appeal a written warning to the County Manager.  The Board will consider a proposed travel policy for the Catawba County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.  And the Board will consider waiving normally charged permit fees applicable to the 2014 Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn. The Board will also recognize two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards presented to the County’s Department of Utilities and Engineering for its Commercial Recycling Program and Rapid Access Permit Terminal, and will honor retiring Sheriff’s Deputy Tammy Johnson with the traditional presentation of her badge and service weapon.

Top Unifour News Stories for Sunday, July 20th

Catawba County Commissioners to meet Monday

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on a request by property owners Ruth B. Lutz (Ruth A. Hollar, trustee), Kevin Lutz, Carol Y. Lutz and W. R. Lutz Jr., Brenda G. Lutz, and Brenda Lutz Kiser and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation to rezone approximately 174 acres, at 2255, 2349, 2355, 2369, 2405 and 2415 Startown Road from R-20 Residential to Planned Development-Industrial Park-Conditional District for the new purpose of a creating a Class A Business/Industrial Park, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.  The proposed business/industrial park would meet many of the Startown Small Area Plan (SAP) guiding principles and recommendations, Board of Commissioners’ 2014 – 2015 goals and strategies, and a set of binding negotiated conditions regarding the park’s development. The Board will consider a request to approve an interest cap on variable interest rate bonds for Catawba Valley Medical Center.  The Board will consider whether to  pursue “electing county” status for another year for the Department of Social Services, which gives the department greater control over local welfare policies and available funding.  It will consider accepting three State grants awarded to the County Library, which would be used to implement a long-range strategic plan for the library, new technology to improve tracking of library inventory, and development of a robotics camp for young adults to promote science, technology, engineering and math career paths.  The Board will consider declaring two Ford Crown Victoria automobiles as surplus and donating one to the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad and one to the Propst Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department.  The Board will consider amending the County Personnel Code to allow County employees to appeal a written warning to the County Manager.  The Board will consider a proposed travel policy for the Catawba County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.  And the Board will consider waiving normally charged permit fees applicable to the 2014 Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn. The Board will also recognize two National Association of Counties Achievement Awards presented to the County’s Department of Utilities and Engineering for its Commercial Recycling Program and Rapid Access Permit Terminal, and will honor retiring Sheriff’s Deputy Tammy Johnson with the traditional presentation of her badge and service weapon.

Meth charge filed

A meth charge has been filed against a Caldwell County woman. The Hudson Police Department arrested 34-year-old Tina Louise Farr of Hudson. She’s charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Farr was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $10,000 secured bond.

Drug charge lodged

A meth charge was filed against a Catawba County man arrested by Hickory Police. 39-year-old Tony Lee Watson of Conover is charged with possession of methamphetamine and simple possession of schedule two and four controlled substances. Following the arrest, Watson was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $7,000 bond pending a court appearance.

Stolen goods charge filed

A stolen goods charge was filed against a Catawba County man. The Hickory Police Department arrested 22-year-old Demarcus Kashaun Pollard of Hickory. He’s charged with felony possession of stolen goods or property, felony obtaining property by false pretense, and larceny after breaking and entering. Following the arrest, Pollard was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $10,000 bond, his next court appearance is Wednesday.

Top Unifour News Stories for Saturday, July 19th

Vehicle theft charge lodged

A charge related to a vehicle theft was filed against a Catawba County resident arrested Friday. 22-year-old Edwin Silva Garcia of Hickory was arrested by the Hickory Police Department. He’s charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Following the arrest, Garcia was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $10,000, a court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Felony drug charge filed

A felony drug charge was filed against a Catawba County man arrested by Newton Police. 46-year-old David Shawn Rhinehardt of Newton is charged with felony possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting a public officer, and habitual felon. Following the arrest, Rhinehardt was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $4,000 bond.

First rabies case confirmed in Catawba Co.

Catawba County’s first confirmed case of rabies in 2014 has been recorded after a fox attacked a citizen in northeast Hickory on July 6. Hickory Animal Control officers were dispatched to the scene of the incident in the Springs Road area shortly after 11 p.m. on July 6, 2014.  The fox was collected by Animal Control officers and its remains were sent to the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing. The North Carolina Public Health Laboratory notified Catawba County on July 9, 2014, that the fox tested positive for rabies.  The victim was advised to seek medical attention for possible exposure to rabies. Animal Services reminds pet owners that rabies is still present in the local wild animal population and is a threat to pets and humans, year-round.  The best way to protect your pets from rabies is to have them properly vaccinated for rabies.  Humans should avoid contact with wild animals and be aware that one form of rabies may cause a wild animal to lose its normal fear of humans and approach or attack. For more information on rabies or rabies vaccinations, you may call Catawba County Animal Services at 828-464-7686.

Probation violation charge lodged

A Caldwell County resident is charged with violating the terms of a probation agreement. 34-year-old Chad Lee Beaver of Lenoir was arrested by Probation and Parole and charged with one count of probation violation. Following the arrest, Beaver was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $30,000 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, July 18th

Names of three killed in accident, possible reason for wreck, released by authorities

The names of the three people killed in a head on crash on Wednesday evening in Caldwell County were released by investigators Thursday, along with a possible reason they were traveling at approximately 90 miles per hour when killed. 29-old Sabrina Handy, 75-year-old Carolyn Handy and four-year-old Carson Handy were killed in the wreck that occurred on Morganton Boulevard in Gamewell. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Thursday that the grandmother, Carolyn Handy, may have been having a medical issue and Sabrina Handy was trying to get her back to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Two cars, one traveling at high speed, collided head-on along the highway, also known as Highway 18 and US 64. Highway Patrol said Thursday the accident happened just before 6 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Gamewell Fire Department. A Kia with the Handy family was heading towards Lenoir, a Lexus with two people inside had just turned onto the highway heading the other way. Carson Handy was reportedly in a car seat during the crash, but the seat was reported to be not properly installed. By the time rescue crews got to the scene, Sabrina and Carolyn were already dead. Carson died a short time later.

Sex offense charges filed in unlicensed day care investigation

Two people were arrested  in connection with a reported unlicensed home day care facility, one of the suspects arrested is facing sex offense charges. The Hickory Police Department   responded to 135 16th Ave. NW, Hickory, last Wednesday in reference to a report of sexual assault of a child. Following an investigation, police made two arrests. 41-year-old Crisoforo Parra Casareal was charged with two counts of felony indecent liberties with children and one count of felony first degree sexual assault. He was placed in jail under  $200,000 secured bond. 32-year-old Tonya Lynn Casareal was charged with one count of felony operating an unlicensed day care. She was jailed under $3,000 secured bond. Both suspects list the home police responded to as their address. Police are asking anyone with knowledge of children who were taken to 135 16th Ave. NW, Hickory, contact the Hickory Police Department at 828-261-2624. No further information about the ongoing investigation will be released at this time.

Man receives 19 years minimum on child porn, sex offense charges

A Catawba County man was sentenced to no less than 19 years in prison on child porn and sex offense charges. 42-year-old Bruce Leroy Donald of Newton, was initially prosecuted and convicted by the federal government for production of child pornography, one count of felony offense involving a minor committed by a registered sex offender and possession of child pornography in November 2012. He was sentenced to 10 years on those charges. The District Attorney's Office prosecuted Donald in connection with the same incident. Donald entered a guilty plea on the 27 charges and received a sentence of  230 to 285 months. That sentence will be served concurrently to the federal sentence. The charges Donald took the plea deal on are felony statutory sex offense of a person 13, 14, or 15 years of age, felony second-degree forcible sex offense, ten counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, five counts of felony breaking and entering, seven counts of felony larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Woman convicted of obstruction of justice in sex offense case

A Winston-Salem woman was sentenced to a minimum of a year in prison for obstructing justice in a sex offense case in Catawba County. 36-year-old April Jean Anderson was convicted of two counts of felony Obstruction of Justice after a two day trial in Catawba County Criminal Superior Court this week. The jury deliberated for approximately 2 ½ hours prior to returning the verdicts of guilty as charged. The defendant was sentenced to no less than 12 months and no more than 34 months in prison. The crimes occurred in December 2011 and January 2013 in Catawba County and involved the defendant attempting to coerce a victim under the age of 12 to change her statement regarding the sexual abuse that had been committed by the defendant’s husband and co-defendant Nicky Lee Anderson. Anderson was previously convicted of six sex offense counts on May 20 of this year. Anderson was sentenced to 240 to 348 months in prison. 

Man charged with being no-show in court, jailed under $10,000 bond

A Burke County man was jailed under $10,000 bond after he was charged with being a no-show in court in Caldwell County. 52-year-old Charles Eugene Hull of Connelly Springs was arrested by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count of fail to appear on a felony. He was placed in the Caldwell County Jail pending his next court appearance.

Top Unifour News Stories for Thursday, July 17th

Three killed in head-on crash in Caldwell County

Two women and a child were killed in a wreck in Caldwell County Wednesday evening. The crash happened at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Highway 18, also known as Morganton Boulevard, in Gamewell and involved two cars that collided head-on. Two women and a child, who officials say was ejected from one of the vehicles, were pronounced dead at the scene. All three were in the same vehicle, which was reportedly driving erratically prior to the wreck. One other person was taken to the hospital from the second vehicle, reports say injuries are not life threatening. According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol this morning, the names of those involved have not yet been released. Investigators said that speed was believed to be a factor in the crash, and that the speedometer in one of the vehicles was stuck on 90 mph. Officials have not said if any charges have been filed at this time.

Woman charged in death of her son

A Catawba County mother was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of her son, who died from injuries sustained in a near-drowning Memorial Day weekend. 31-year-old Kelli Ledford of Newton is also charged with child abuse. Ledford and the victim were at Lookout Shoals Lake on May 24 when the incident occurred. Deputies said her four-year-old son Logan Putnam was under water for 10 minutes. Officials said someone on scene tried to perform CPR, but the child died two days later at the hospital. Ledford is being held at the Catawba County Jail under $100,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

New communications center to help with non-emergency calls

Burke County's new emergency communications center, which opens next Wednesday, should help streamline emergency responses to life-threatening situations across the county, but the change will alter the process for answering non-emergency administrative calls after hours. Non-emergency and administrative calls include calls about power outages, water outages, cable television issues, downed electric lines, trees and limbs on lines, etc. Just as today, Morganton residents can call the City about those non-emergency issues during business hours. If a Morganton resident has a water issue, they can call the City Water Department directly. If the resident has a power issue or cable issue, they can call the Electric Department or CoMPAS Cable directly. Those non-emergency numbers are listed in the phone book and on the City website. "The new consolidated 911 center should improve the efficiency and effectiveness of how emergency services are delivered to everyone within this county, and any person who calls for emergency services should be able to receive seamless services anywhere in the county," Public safety Chief Ronnie Rector said. "The challenge faced by the BCECC is how to provide the same level of seamless service to customers calling non-emergency and, or administrative numbers." Rector said that although there may be a learning curve for the new telecommunicators in the beginning, he believes that over time the staff will be able to quickly dispatch non-emergency calls after hours.

Three suspects sought in theft from Nebo home

McDowell County Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking for three men, believed to have stolen items from a Nebo residence over the weekend. Mario Deluca, of Marion, reported on Monday that someone entered a house under construction on Landis Lane in Nebo sometime between 5 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Monday. The culprits stole $1,373 worth of hand and power tools. The three men were caught on camera at the home. Anyone with information concerning the crime or the identity of the suspects is asked to call Detective Jason Grindstaff at the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2237 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.

Top Unifour News Stories for Wednesday, July 16th

New District Attorney, Clerk of Superior Court elected in Tuesday runoff

There will be a new District Attorney in the 25th District. David Learner defeated incumbent Jay Gaither in Tuesday’s Republican runoff election. Learner received 8,968 votes overall to Gaither’s 5,541 votes. Learner got 61.81 percent of the votes to Gaither’s 38.19 percent. Learner won all three counties in the district, he got more than 76 percent of the votes in Burke County, more than 62 percent in Caldwell, and just under 58 percent in Catawba. In the race for Catawba County Clerk of Superior Court, Kim Richards Sigmon won the Republican runoff, claiming more than 60 percent of the vote in defeating Tammy Huffman West. Sigmon received 5,801 votes to Wests 3,795. The two candidates were running for the seat vacated by the retiring Al Jean Bogle. There is no challenger on the Democrat ticket in either of the two races, so Learner and Sigmon will likely be the winners in November. Voter turnout was seven percent in Burke County, 6.69 percent in Caldwell, and 12.85 percent in Catawba. Catawba’s turnout was higher because of the Congressional District 5 Democrat Runoff between Gardenia Henley and Josh Brannon.  Henley won Catawba County with 77.97 percent of the vote and Brannon with 22.03%, but Brannon won overall with 65.63 percent to Henley’s 34.37 percent.  Brannon will face Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk in November.

Persons of interest being eliminated in probe of teacher's murder

The Newton Police Department is continuing to investigate the death of 31-year-old Maggie Daniels, the popular teacher and guidance counselor from Discovery High School. The department wants to talk to key people who they think could help them solve the case. Daniels’ body was found in her Newton apartment on June 28. Police have spent the past two days re-interviewing dozens of people asking follow-up questions and looking for any clues they may have missed. They say they want to talk to anyone who saw Daniels the week before she died. According to published reports, many neighbors say they are worried no one has been arrested and said police interviewed them a second and third time this week. Police Chief Donald Brown said police and the State Bureau of Investigation officials have made some progress. They've conducted interviews with more than 100 people and have been able to eliminate several people as persons of interest. They're hopeful the process will lead them closer to a suspect. Brown said they're also paying closer attention to Daniels' social media accounts. The published reports say Brown is also calling on the public to help them finish a timeline of Daniels' final moments. He said "We’d like anybody with contact with Maggie or saw her a week prior to (the discovery) of her body on June 28 -- give us a call."

Burke Commissioners meet, discuss tourism

The Burke County Board of Commissioners met without two commissioners, Jeff Brittian and Wayne Abele, on Tuesday night’s meeting. One presentation was given by Ed Phillips, Executive Director of Tourism, on the 2014 Burke County Progress Report. The Authority of Burke County Tourism was created in July of 2007 and currently has 9 directors. This year, Burke County Tourism had a budget of $377,000. The objective of Phillips’ presentation was to let the Board be aware of the increase in tourism, the  strategies used to increase tourism in the area,  and the 894 tourism related jobs generated in 2010-2014. Some attractions in this area that bring tourists in are Lake James, Steel Creek, Apple Hill Orchard, and the surrounding wineries. Five public comments were made, four regarding the possibility of a shooting range being placed in an area near Fish Hatchery Road. The four public comments regarding the shooting range all had one thing in common - they were not against a shooting range, they just preferred it to the in a different location. Holly Ledbetter, Denise Bishop, Paul Braun, and Jeff Johns all proposed in their public comments the idea of a shooting range in a different location in order to preserve the natural surroundings of our area that already provide tourism attractions. There were 18 items on the consent agenda that were approved 3-0. The vacancy announcements included the Hickory Regional Planning Commission, Adult Care Home Community Advisory omitted, Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee, Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Burke County Planning Board, Library Board of Trustees, Morganton Board of Trustees, Morganton Board of Adjustment, Voluntary Agricultural District Board, Industrial Revenue Bond Board, Burke Co. Parks & Recreation Commission, and Child Protection & Child Fatality Prevention Team.

Another incumbent files in Caldwell BOE race

Another incumbent has announced the intention to run for Caldwell County Board of Education. On Tuesday, Helen Hall filed to run for a third term on the board. Candidates to announce their intentions on Monday were incumbents Joe Sims, Dottie Darsie, Duane Knight, and Teresa Branch. Candidates are filing for four year terms on the Caldwell Board of Education.

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, July 15th

Tuesday's Final Runoff Election Results

25th District Attorney- Republican- Final

David Learner- 8,968  (61.81%)
Jay Gaither- 5
,541  (38.19%)

Catawba County Clerk of Superior Court- Republican- Final

Kim Richards Sigmon- 5,801   (60.45%)
Tammy Huffman West- 3,795  (39.55%)

**David Learner will be the likely winner in the District Attorney race and Kim Richards Sigmon the likely winner in the Clerk of Court race because there are no Democratic challengers on the November ballot.** 

 

Interviews continue in probe of teacher's murder

The investigation is continuing into the murder of Newton teacher and guidance counselor Maggie Daniels. The body of Daniels, who was 31-years-old and worked at Discovery High School, was found on June 28 at her residence at Windsor Apartments. According to reports, Newton Police continued with initial interviews on Monday, speaking with neighbors. Published reports say investigators are also doing a second round of interviews to "clarify information gathered from recent interviews" in the case. Authorities say it is not because they are targeting anyone, it's because as the investigation goes forward, they develop more questions to ask that they didn't have before. Police say they are also looking into social media, financial and telephone records for additional information in the case. Newton Police Chief Donald  Brown says his investigators are not at the point where someone could be charged in the death of the popular teacher. Brown says progress is still being made, though it is moving slowly. A number of bagged-up items that could be evidence have been sent to the state SBI lab in Raleigh. The published report says one item filled a large box that could barely fit into a deputy's SUV. Officials would not say what was in the cardboard box, only that experts will look at it.

Filing period open, candidates announce intentions

The filing period is now open for the Caldwell County Board of Education. Candidates to announce their intentions on Monday were incumbents Joe Sims, Dottie Darsie, Duane Knight, and Teresa Branch. Candidates are filing for four year terms on the Caldwell Board of Education.

Economic strategies presented at Caldwell Commissioners meeting

At Caldwell County's Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray, presented a set of strategies that if realized, could potentially increase economic growth in the county. One particular strategy proposed by Director Murray includes a job creation incentive that could effectively bring over 150 new furniture manufacturing jobs to the region over a three year period. The Florida company that is involved in the proposal is currently entertaining offers from several states. As of yet, no official announcements as to where the company will move have been made. The board also approved a One North Carolina job incentive grant for Automated Solutions in Sawmills, which will allow for the creation of 8 more jobs in the company over the next year. Caldwell County commissioners also awarded a financing bid in a 3 to 1 vote , that will be used to purchase patrol cars and necessary equipment for county officers.

Controlled burn planned today

 

There will be a controlled burn in Morganton starting today, weather permitting. A local contractor plans to burn a brush pile behind Forest Hill Elementary School, and residents will likely see smoke in the area. Mike Ross Grading, contractor for Burke County Public Schools, has cleared some property behind Forest Hill Elementary and the purpose of the burn is to complete the clearing of the property. The contractor will begin burning the brush pile today, weather permitting. Forest Hill Elementary School is located at 304 Ann St. Residents and motorists in the area of W. Fleming Drive near the Morganton Heights Shopping Center, Asheville Street and Harris Drive will see smoke in the area. The burn should be completed in a few days. If there are any questions please contact Fire Captain John Campbell at (828) 432-2522.

Water service to be cut off temporarily

The City of Morganton plans to cut off water service temporarily Wednesday morning in the Interstate 40 Exit 105 area; about 50 customers will be affected. Contractors working for NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will be connecting a new section of City of Morganton water line to the City's existing water system. The work is a part of the NCDOT bridge replacement project at Exit 105 and S. Sterling Street. Water service will be shut off after midnight tonight, weather permitting, and restored once the work is complete. If the contractors have any issues, they will attempt to complete the connection at the same time Thursday morning. "To minimize the impact on customers, the contractors plan to start the work after midnight," said City Engineer Mark Young. "They plan to have water services restored as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconveniences." About 50 customers in the area will be affected including customers on S. Sterling Street from Bush Drive to Drexel Road, Steakhouse Road, Believers Way, and Randall Road. Anyone with questions or concerns can call the Water Resources Department at (828) 438-5276.

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, July 14th

Burke woman arrested in Lenoir charged with armed robbery, cocaine offenses

A Burke County woman is charged in connection with an armed robbery, the arrest was made in Caldwell County. Last week, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office along with Lenoir Police Department were assisting the United States Marshals Service, on a warrant for armed robbery. The warrant was from an incident that had occurred in Burke County several weeks ago. Information gathered led officers to 107 Forest Hill Drive in Lenoir. Officers entered the residence and located the suspect. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and upon a search of the area a large amount of crack cocaine was located, along with a firearm. 25-year-old Meredith Leigh Michaux of Morganton was charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, hit and run with property damage, and felony trafficking in cocaine. She was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $201,000 secured bond.

One lane open in each direction near road collapse

One lane is open in each direction in the area of a water main break on NC 18/US 64 in Morganton. The road was closed from Sanford Drive to Piedmont Road across from the Marathon station starting around 10:30 Friday night, one lane in each direction was re-opened by Saturday evening. The break occurred before the first bridge over the Catawba River heading towards Lenoir causing a partial collapse of the roadway.

Controlled burn planned behind school

There will be a controlled burn in Morganton this week. A local contractor plans to burn a brush pile behind Forest Hill Elementary School, and residents will likely see smoke in the area. Mike Ross Grading, contractor for Burke County Public Schools, has cleared some property behind Forest Hill Elementary and the purpose of the burn is to complete the clearing of the property. The contractor will begin burning the brush pile Tuesday, July 15, 2014, weather permitting. Forest Hill Elementary School is located at 304 Ann St. Residents and motorists in the area of W. Fleming Drive near the Morganton Heights Shopping Center, Asheville Street and Harris Drive will see smoke in the area. The burn should be completed in a few days. If there are any questions please contact Fire Captain John Campbell at (828) 432-2522.

Board of commissioners meets

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meets this evening in regular session. There will be public hearings on a pair of economic development incentives, one for Automated Solutions and one for Project Gator. In addition, the board will hear reports on the Adult Life Program and the June 2014 Key Indicators. Today’s Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. at the Alden E. Starnes Administration Building in downtown Lenoir.

Governor names four area residents to NC Textbook Commission

Four area residents were named to the North Carolina Textbook Commission by Governor Pat McCrory. Maria Bishop of Burke County, Les Widener and Jessica Luby, both of Catawba County, and Charles Gaffigan of McDowell County, were all appointed to that commission. The North Carolina Textbook Commission evaluates all textbooks offered for adoption. Each textbook is to be read by at least one expert certified in the discipline for which the book would be used. The term length is four years.

Top Unifour News Stories for Sunday, July 13th

Caldwell Commissioners meet Monday 

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meets Monday in regular session. There will be public hearings on a pair of economic development incentives, one for Automated Solutions and one for Project Gator. In addition, the board will hear reports on the Adult Life Program and the June 2014 Key Indicators. Monday’s Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. at the Alden E. Starnes Administration Building in downtown Lenoir.

Trafficking, hit and run charges field 

A Burke County resident is charged with drug trafficking and hit and run. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year-old Meredith Leigh Michaux of Morganton and charged her with trafficking in cocaine, and hit and run with property damage. Following the arrest, Michaux was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $101,000 secured bond.

Theft, probation violation charges lodged 

A Catawba County resident is charged with theft and probation violation offenses. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office arrested 36-year-old Dong Nguyen of Catawba. The charges filed are larceny after breaking and entering, obtaining property by false pretense, and felony probation violation. Following the arrest, Nguyen was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond.

Drug charge filed in Caldwell 

A Caldwell County man faces a drug charge. The Hudson Police Department arrested 21-year-old Gregory Michael Cramer of Lenoir. He’s charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule two controlled substance. Following the arrest, Cramer was given a custody release.

Top Unifour News Stories for Saturday, July 12th

Man convicted in fatal crash, receives jail time 

A man on trial in a fatal Burke County accident received prison time after being convicted. 49-year-old Lee Hutchins was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the collision that killed 31-year-old Foothills Correctional Officer Michael Piercy last year. The accident happened on March 12, 2013 on U.S. 64 near Duckworth Circle, about three miles south of Morganton. Hutchins also was found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury for the injuries sustained by Piercy’s youngest daughters. Hutchins was indicted last October with the charges stemming from wreck in which he crossed the center line in his SUV and crashed head on into Piercy’s minivan, killing him and injuring his wife and two youngest daughters. The Burke County Superior Court jury deliberated for more than three hours prior to returning the guilty verdict. Hutchins was sentenced to no less than 13 months and no more than 25 months for the involuntary manslaughter charge and no less than 20 months and no more than 36 months for one of the assault charges. For the second assault charge, Hutchins received a suspended sentence with five years probation. The Judge ordered Hutchins not to drive during the five-year period.

Large stretch of highway closed due to road collapse 

A lengthy stretch of a well-traveled Burke County road has been closed due to a water main break. N.C. Highway 18/64 north of Morganton is closed at the double bridges from Piedmont Road to Sanford Drive due to road collapse and water main break that occurred Friday. The road will be closed until further notice.

Drug trafficking charge lodged 

A drug trafficking charge has been filed against a Caldwell County man arrested by the Lenoir Police Department. 28-year-old Eric Dale Jones is charged with felony trafficking in opium or heroin, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while impaired and other highway violations. Following the arrest, Jones was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $3,000 secured bond.

Theft charges filed against two suspects

Residents of Catawba and Lincoln Counties are charged with theft offenses. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office reports the Friday arrests of 18-year-old Sara Marie Ann Vance of Catawba and 19-year-old Tristan Shane Putnam of Iron Station. Both suspects are charged with felony larceny. Following the arrest, both suspects were placed in the Catawba County Jail, bond for each was set at $4,000.

Assault charge filed

An assault charge has been filed against a Catawba County man arrested by a pair of agencies. The Hickory Police Department arrested 31-year-old Gary Neal Wilfong of Hickory and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office charged Wilfong with failure to appear on a count of non support of a child. Following the arrest, Wilfong was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $16,200, a court appearance is scheduled for July 22.

Theft, stolen goods charges filed

Theft and stolen goods charges have been filed against a Catawba County man arrested in Caldwell County. 42-year-old Michael Dean Campbell of Hickory was arrested by the Granite Falls Police Department. He’s charged with misdemeanor larceny, possession of stolen goods or property, and first degree trespassing. Following the arrest, Campbell was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $23,800 secured bond.

 

 

 

 

Top Unifour News Stories for Friday, July 11th

Investigation into murder of teacher continuing, approaching two weeks

The length of the investigation into the murder of a Catawba County teacher is approaching two weeks. 31-year-old Maggie Daniels’ body was discovered in her residence at Windsor Apartments in Newton two weeks ago tomorrow, she was found deceased on Saturday June 28. Little information has been released in the investigation, this week it was revealed that approximately a year ago Daniels was concerned about her safety. A search of her Twitter account showed that a year ago she received a message from a close friend who wrote, "Be careful with your neighbor you mentioned. Would really encourage you to think about a self-defense class and to give serious consideration to other measures to protect yourself." Newton Police did not offer any comment on the tweet, they did say that Daniels had not notified the department of any concerns. Daniels was a teacher and guidance counselor at Discovery High School in Newton. Police are seeking the public’s help in finding Daniels’ killer, if you have any information call the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.

Early voting ends Saturday, District Attorney runoff Tuesday

Early voting ends Saturday for the Republican 25th District Attorney runoff between incumbent Jay Gaither and challenger David Learner. The Burke County Board of Elections has sites open today and tomorrow at the Senior Center in Morganton, Rutherford College Town Hall, and the Board of Elections Office on South Sterling Street in Morganton. Sites will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday. In Caldwell County, early voting will take place in the City/County Chambers at the Alden E. Starnes Administration Building, 905 West Avenue in downtown Lenoir. You can vote in Caldwell County from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. In Catawba County early voting sites are at the Newton Main Library, Highland Recreation Center in Hickory, Hickory Southwest Library, and Sherrills Ford Fire and Rescue on Slanting Bridge Road. Voting hours vary in Catawba County, and not all sites are open tomorrow. You can contact the Board of Elections for details. Registered Republicans as well as unaffiliated voters are eligible to cast ballots. Election Day is Tuesday, July 15.

Sex offense charge filed

A Catawba County man is charged with a sex offense. The Newton Police Department arrested 45-year-old Donovan Donyell Lutz Thursday and charged him with one count of indecent liberties with a child. Following the arrest, Lutz was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $50,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.

Animal cruelty investigation being conducted, public's help sought

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information to assist an Animal Cruelty investigation in to the intentional shooting of livestock in the Granite Falls and Grace Chapel areas. The department is asking citizens if they have any information regarding the person(s) responsible for these incidents please contact Detective M. Coleman at 828-759-1521 or to remain anonymous please contact the Caldwell County Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.

Post Office hours to be cut in Unifour town

Post Office hours are being cut in the Town of Rhodhiss. According to WBTV, this week postal officials announced the Rhodhiss office would remain open but hours for the front counter would be cut from 44 to 26 hours a week. Unlike most communities, there are no mailboxes at homes in the town that straddles southern Caldwell County and eastern Burke County. There is no door-to-door mail delivery in Rhodhiss. Instead, everyone who wants mail delivery has a box in the small Post Office in town. Residents were afraid budget cuts would mean moving all mail service to another town. In the report, residents say the reduced hours will make it tougher to pick up and mail  packages and buy stamps, however the cutback in hours is better than the alternative of losing the office altogether.

Top Unifour News Stories for Thursday, July 10th

Newton teacher was "concerned about her safety", memorial service held

Police were back at the scene of the murder of a teacher in Newton Wednesday afternoon continuing their investigation. 31-year-old Maggie Daniels’ body was found in her residence at Windsor Apartments on June 28. According to WCNC, a year before she was found dead Daniels had been concerned about her safety. The Charlotte TV station says a search of her Twitter account showed that a year ago she received a message from a close friend who wrote, "Be careful with your neighbor you mentioned. Would really encourage you to think about a self-defense class and to give serious consideration to other measures to protect yourself." Newton Police did not comment on the tweet, they did say that Daniels had not notified the department of any concerns. A memorial service was also held Wednesday to honor Daniels at Newton-Conover High School. Hundreds attended the memorial and all who spoke had positive things to say about Daniels. Among those to speak was Newton-Conover Schools superintendent David Stegall who said that Maggie always had a smile, and "connected with everyone." He added that the victim “was family to all of us.” Family members were in attendance at the event, Daniels is from Ohio. She was a teacher and guidance counselor at Discovery High School in Newton. Police are seeking the public’s help in finding Daniels’ killer, if you have any information call the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.

Family of woman killed in Nebraska trying to raise money to bring body home

The family of a native of Burke County who was killed in a wreck that occurred in Nebraska over the weekend is seeking help in getting her body sent back home. According to the Omaha World-Herald, 25-year-old Sharlee Arnett of Omaha, a native of Morganton, was killed in an accident that occurred Sunday on Q Street in Omaha. The driver of the pickup truck, Arnett’s fiancé, crashed into a utility pole. The accident is under investigation and reports say the driver did not brake before crashing. Witnesses told police the truck suddenly veered off the road. Homicide detectives are involved in the investigation along with traffic investigators. The driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Nicholas Marescalco, was injured and hospitalized. Arnett and Marescalco were not wearing seatbelts when the accident occurred. Arnett’s family has set up a Facebook page to raise money to get her body sent home. Arnett’s parents are disabled and don’t have the financial means to have the body brought to Morganton.

Sex offense charge filed against Lenoir man

A Caldwell County man is charged with a sex offense. The Lenoir Police Department arrested 30-year-old James Carroll Tester Jr. of Lenoir. He’s charged with sexual battery, domestic criminal trespass, and harassing phone calls. Following the arrest, Tester was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under no bond.

Water service to be cut off overnight

The City of Morganton plans to cut off water service temporarily Friday morning in the Interstate 40 Exit 105 area; about 50 customers will be affected. Contractors working for the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will be connecting a new section of City of Morganton water line to the City's existing water system. The work is a part of the NCDOT bridge replacement project at Exit 105 and S. Sterling Street. Water service will be shut off after midnight tonight and will be restored once the work is complete. "To minimize the impact on customers, the contractors plan to start the work after midnight," said City Engineer Mark Young. "They plan to have water services restored by early Friday morning. We apologize for any inconveniences." About 50 customers in the area will be affected including customers on S. Sterling Street from Bush Drive to Drexel Road, Steakhouse Road, Believers Way, and Randall Road. Anyone with questions or concerns can call the Water Resources Department at (828) 438-5276.

Top Unifour News Stories for Wednesday, July 9th

New surveillance photo of murdered teacher released, investigation continues

A new photo has been released of the Newton teacher and counselor who was killed inside her apartment. On Tuesday, police released the surveillance photo of 31-year-old Maggie Daniels that was taken while she was in the Conover Walmart the afternoon of June 27, the day before she was killed. Daniels was wearing sunglasses and pink shorts. Authorities hope people will look at the picture and try to remember if they saw her anywhere else. Newton Police Chief Donald Brown said in published reports the past few days of investigation have been "very productive." Police say the public's help is critical in the investigation. Daniels' body was found inside her apartment on the morning of June 28th. The cause of death has not been released but investigators say it was murder. Brown says investigators want anyone in the Newton area who has surveillance equipment at home or their place of  business to check the video from the 27th of June and the morning of the 28th. Officials not only want to see if Daniels is in any of the video but also who may have been with her, near her, or watching her. A memorial service is scheduled for Daniels from 4-6 p.m. today at the Newton-Conover High School gymnasium. Daniels was a teacher and guidance counselor at Discovery High School in Newton.

Home destroyed by fire

Fire destroyed a home in the Mountain View community just outside of Hickory. Firefighters responded to a house on Deerfield Lane shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday. Fire Department reports say when firefighters got to the scene flames had already burned through the roof. Due to the fact that temperatures were in the 90s and the humidity was high as many as seven different area fire departments were called in to fight the fire. Firefighters say there were no injuries, they are trying to determine what started the fire. The house was completely destroyed by the blaze.

Multiple drug charges filed in morning arrest

A Catawba County woman arrested this morning is charged with multiple drug offenses. 45-year-old Patricia Ann Ellis of Hickory was arrested by the Hickory Police Department. She’s charged with felony possession of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Ellis was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $2,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.

Unifour native killed in Nebraska wreck, homicide investigators involved in probe

A woman who was a native of Burke County was killed in a wreck that occurred in Nebraska over the weekend. According to the Omaha World-Herald, 25-year-old Sharlee Arnett of Omaha, a native of Morganton, was killed in the wreck. The accident occurred Sunday on Q Street in Omaha. The driver of the pickup truck, Arnett’s fiancé, crashed into a utility pole. The accident is under investigation and according to the published report, the driver did not brake before crashing. Witnesses told police the truck suddenly veered off the road. Homicide detectives are involved in the investigation along with traffic investigators. The driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Nicholas Marescalco, was injured and hospitalized. Arnett and Marescalco were not wearing seatbelts when the accident occurred.

Woman struck by pickup truck

A woman was hit by a pickup truck while trying to cross a Morganton roadway Tuesday afternoon. According to the Morganton News Herald, the woman was attempting to cross Carbon City Road from the Hess gas station in the direction of McDonalds when the pickup began pulling out of a parking area on the opposite side of the road. While the truck was turning it struck the woman.  The Morganton Department of Public Safety says the woman and the truck driver both contributed to the accident, the woman didn’t use a crosswalk and the driver failed to see before crossing the roadway. The woman was brought to Carolinas Healthcare System in Morganton with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. No charges have been filed, the accident is under investigation.

Top Unifour News Stories for Tuesday, July 8th

Unifour man charged with sex offenses after police say they caught him in the act in parking lot

A Catawba County man is charged with sex offenses after authorities say they found him engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old in a pharmacy parking lot. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office was called to the CVS Pharmacy on Webb's Road in Denver at approximately 4:30 Saturday morning on reports of a suspicious vehicle. Deputies report finding a partially-clothed 24-year-old Darrick Wayne Fowler of Newton and a partially-clothed female. Fowler told deputies that he and the female were only talking, according to the Sheriff's Office, and the female originally told deputies she was 19. The female later admitted she was only 14, and both Fowler and the girl admitted to police they had a sexual encounter. The girl was turned over to her mother. Fowler is charged with one felony count each of statutory rape/sex offense of a 13, 14 or 15-year-old by a defendant six years older than the victim and crime against nature. Fowler was jailed under $125,000 bond.

Man charged in connection with vehicle theft, counterfeiting 

A Burke County man is charged in connection with a vehicle theft along with a counterfeiting offense. The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Monday arrested 34-year-old Daryl Edward Ingle of Connelly Springs. He’s charged with possession of a stolen automobile, possession of counterfeit instruments, and misdemeanor larceny. Following the arrest, Ingle was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, he made a first court appearance Monday.

Stolen goods charge lodged

A Catawba County woman faces a stolen goods charge filed in Alexander County. 55-year-old Phyllis Holton Moretz of Hickory is charged with possession of stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretense. The charges are from warrants out of Alexander County. Following her arrest, which was made Monday, Moretz was placed in the Catawba County Jail under no bond, she made her first court appearance Monday.

Water shut off planned

The City of Morganton plans to cut off water service temporarily Friday morning in the Interstate 40 Exit 105 area; about 50 customers will be affected. Contractors working for the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will be connecting a new section of City of Morganton water line to the City's existing water system. The work is a part of the NCDOT bridge replacement project at Exit 105 and S. Sterling Street. Water service will be shut off after midnight Friday and will be restored once the work is complete. "To minimize the impact on customers, the contractors plan to start the work after midnight," said City Engineer Mark Young. "They plan to have water services restored by early Friday morning. We apologize for any inconveniences." About 50 customers in the area will be affected including customers on S. Sterling Street from Bush Drive to Drexel Road, Steakhouse Road, Believers Way, and Randall Road. Anyone with questions or concerns can call the Water Resources Department at (828) 438-5276. 

Top Unifour News Stories for Monday, July 7th

Investigation continues into teacher's murder, authorities report progress

The investigation is continuing into the death of 31-year-old teacher and counselor Maggie Daniels, whose body was found in her Newton apartment on June 28. The Newton Police Chief said in a published report late last week that the previous few days had been productive in the murder investigation. The report says investigators were following up on some credible leads. Authorities are still seeking help from the public, if you know something that can help find the killer you are asked to call the Newton Police Department at at 828-465-7430. Daniels, who was a teacher and counselor at Discovery High School in Newton, will be laid to rest this morning at 10:00 in her native Cleveland, Ohio.

Stolen vehicle charge filed



A man arrested over the weekend in Burke County is charged with a stolen vehicle offense. The Burke County Sheriff's Office arrested 45-year-old Danny Ray Lowman on Sunday and charged him with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Lowman was placed in jail under $10,000 secured bond, a court appearance is scheduled for July 22.

Man seriously injured in fireworks accident

A man was seriously injured when a firework exploded in Caldwell County on the Fourth of July. North Catawba Fire-Rescue responded to 1430 Hoyle Drive Friday night. A 52-year-old Lenoir man was injured when a mortar-style firework exploded. The man was airlifted to the hospital due to the extent of his injuries. North Catawba Fire-Rescue officials said in a published report the victim may have been taken to the Burn Center at North Carolina Baptist Hospital. According to the department's captain, the style of fireworks used is illegal in North Carolina. He encouraged everyone to leave fireworks to professionals and watch a fireworks show instead of lighting them in the backyard.

Break-in related charge filed

A woman arrested in Burke County over the weekend is charged with a break-in related offense along with a drug violation. According to records on file at the Morganton Department of Public Safety's website, 25-year-old Jessica Leann Moody was arrested Saturday. She's charged with larceny after breaking and entering and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Moody was placed in jail under $15,000 secured bond.

Man charged with firing weapon into occupied property

A man arrested Sunday in Catawba County is charged with firing a weapon into an occupied dwelling. The Hickory Police Department arrested 25-year-old Dolan Darshawn Hill of Hickory. He's charged with discharging a weapon into occupied property. Following the arrest, Hill was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $50,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for today.

Top Unifour News Stories for Sunday, July 6th

Prison sentence imposed after conviction in break-in case 

A Catawba County man received more than three-and-a-half years in prison following a conviction on break-in charges. 51-year-old Billy Craven Kerns of Conover was convicted of two felony counts apiece of breaking and entering and larceny, and one count of habitual breaking and entering offender status. Kerns received a sentence of 44 to 65 years in prison.

Felony theft-related charge filed 

A Catawba County woman is charged with a felony theft-related charge. The Hickory Police Department arrested 27-year-old Melissa Yvonne Wilkinson of Hickory. She's charged with one count of felony larceny. Following the arrest, Wilkinson was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $5,000 bond.

Meth conviction leads to prison term 

A Catawba County man will spend more than three-and-a-half years in prison minimum following a conviction on meth charges. 47-year-old Gregory Seth Kiser of Newton was convicted of two felony counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Following the conviction, Kiser was sentenced to 44 to 65 months in prison.

Man charged with violating probation, defrauding drug test 

A Caldwell County man is charged with violating the terms of a probation agreement and defrauding a drug screening. Probation and Parole arrested 30-year-old Mark Edward Jenkins II of Lenoir. He’s charged with probation violation and defrauding a drug and alcohol screening test. Following the arrest, Jenkins was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $10,500 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Saturday, July 5th

Man receives just under nine years in prison following drug conviction 

A Vale man will spend just under nine years in prison minimum following a conviction on cocaine and habitual felon charges. 48-year-old Paul Buckner of Vale was convicted of felony possession of cocaine and habitual felon status. He was sentenced to 107 to 138 months in prison.

Meth charge filed 

A meth charge was filed against a Catawba County woman arrested by the Hickory Police Department. 30-year-old Stephanie Renee Jonas of Hickory is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine. Following the arrest, Jonas was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $5,500 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Man charged with obtaining drugs illegally 

A Catawba County resident is charged with multiple counts of obtaining drugs illegally. The Claremont Police Department arrested 31-year-old Ashley Schreiber Benfield of Conover. Benfield is charged with two counts of obtaining controlled substance by fraud or forgery. Following the arrest, Benfield was placed in the Catawba County Jail under $15,000 bond, a court appearance is scheduled for next Friday.

Multiple drug charges filed 

Multiple drug charges have been filed against a Caldwell County woman. The Lenoir Police Department arrested 20-year-old Amanda Marie Mayfield of Lenoir. She's charged with simple possession of schedule three controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while impaired. Following the arrest, Mayfield was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $5,500 secured bond.

Top Unifour News Stories for Independence Day, Friday July 4th

Several sex offense charges filed 

A Catawba County man arrested this week by U.S. Marshals faces several sex offense charges. 42-year-old Bruce Leroy Donald of Newton is charged with three counts of second degree forcible sexual offense, one count of statutory sexual offense, and nine counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Donald is also charged with break-in, larceny, and stolen goods offenses. The charges filed against Donald are from 2009 and 2010. He’s being held at the Catawba County Jail under no bond.

Prison sentence in child abuse case

A Catawba County man will spend more than five years in prison minimum following a guilty plea in a child abuse case. 20-year-old Christopher Lee Allred of Hickory was convicted of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to 65 to 90 months in prison.

Fourth of July celebrations around the area

Morganton will celebrate the Fourth of July today with several events leading up to a fireworks display at dark. The event is going on at Catawba Meadows Park, games and activities will start at 3 p.m. and conclude with a fireworks show at approximately 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. The annual event is coordinated by the City of Morganton Parks and Recreation Department. Events during the day include cornhole, volleyball, miniature golf, horseshoe pitching, a watermelon eating contest, a disc golf tournament, and music on the center stage at 6 p.m. among many other activities. The annual Dry Ponds Community Fourth of July Parade will be at 3 p.m. today, lineup is at 2:45 p.m. at the Dry Ponds Community Ball Field on Patton Road. The three mile parade, led by Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisnant will end at the West End Fire Department on Jamestown Road. Refreshments will be provided after the parade, participants are asked to wear and/or decorate with patriotic colors. The parade is open to the public. The 17th Annual July Fourth Celebration at the Waldensian Trail of Faith in Valdese runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and will conclude with fireworks. There are several activities including live music and a kids fun park which includes a waterslide, batting cage, and bounce rides. Glen Alpine’s Fourth of July celebration will begin with a parade at 10 a.m. There will be a waterslide for the kids and other activities including music. It runs until 2 p.m. There will also be fireworks following tonight’s Hickory Crawdads home game. County and city offices across the area will be closed for the holiday. Hickory’s city parks will all be open, but recreation facilities across the area are closed.

Man jailed for violating probation

A Caldwell County man was jailed under a large bond for violating the terms of a probation agreement. 25-year-old Joseph Louis Shoun of Lenoir was arrested by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He's charged with two counts of probation violation. Following the arrest, Shoun was placed in the Caldwell County Jail under $20,000 secured bond pending a court appearance.

Conviction in theft case results in jail time

An Iredell County man will spend more than a year in prison minimum after a conviction on theft charges in Catawba County. 51-year-old Keith Richard Brown of Statesville was convicted of two counts of felony larceny. He was sentenced to 15 to 27 months in prison following the conviction.

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