‘I’m tired of crying’ | Family speaks after remains identified in Henry County as missing woman


Cocoa McCoy said that she kept trying to tell police the name of the man who might have taken her daughter – the same man now suspected of killing the first woman.

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A grief-stricken mother has heard the news she had feared, for months.

Police told her that they identified her missing daughter’s remains – the remains found last week in some woods in Henry County along with the remains of another woman.

They identified her daughter, Conteshia McCoy, 19, through DNA and dental records.

Cocoa McCoy said Wednesday that she kept trying to tell police the name of the man who might have taken her daughter –  the same man now suspected of killing the first woman.

And now, Cocoa is drained. Numb.

“I know at this point I’m tired of crying. I am. Last night I cried myself to sleep,” she said.

Cocoa McCoy’s voice faded, her eyes looking down, as she spoke in her Locust Grove home along with her husband Antonio.

Conteshia’s remains were found next to the remains of 23-year-old Mirsha Victor.

Victor was murdered earlier this month, police say, by a 41-year-old man named Dennis Lane, a convicted sex offender who lives nearby those woods.

Lane is now in jail.

Police have not yet charged anyone in Conteshia’s disappearance and death.

Cocoa McCoy says Lane is the same man who had been stalking Conteshia for weeks, claiming he wanted to marry her, just before she disappeared this past February.

But in the past five months leading up to Mirsha Victor’s death, Locust Grove Police, Cocoa said, never pursued the leads that she gave them – that Lane might be responsible for her daughter’s disappearance.

“And I hate it for the Victor family, that they had to endure that. You know, all this could have been avoided if you (police) would have just went to his house like we kept telling you to do. If you just would have went – you couldn’t save my daughter but you could have saved somebody else child,” she said.

11Alive will work to reach Locust Grove Police for comment.

Conteshia, Cocoa said, was funny, always sending her videos to make her laugh, taking good care of her younger siblings.

She was working to become a hairdresser.

Now, Cocoa knows, she is gone.

But she can’t believe it.

“I just thought she was going to walk through that door,” she said. “And I’ll never see my baby again.”

Source: http://rssfeeds.11alive.com/~/660192690/0/wxia-local~Im-tired-of-crying-Family-speaks-after-remains-identified-in-Henry-County-as-missing-woman

What we know | Second set of human remains found in Henry County identified as Locust Grove woman


Here’s what we know about the case so far.

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — The Henry County coroner has identified another set of human remains found July 19 as Conteshia McCoy from Locust Grove.

Last week, The Henry County Medical Examiner said one of the two human remains they found on July 19 are that of 23-year-old Mirsha Victor, who was reported missing earlier this month.

The day after Victor was reported missing, a police report reveals they found blood inside the home of one of the suspects charged with murder in connection to her disappearance.

What we know about human remains found in Henry County

Henry County Police say they have discovered two sets of human remains.

They were discovered in the area of Hudson Bridge Road and Oakwood Manor on July 19. Henry County Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation carefully recovered the remains and gathered evidence in the woods next to the Spivey Junction shopping plaza.

Henry County officials were working with the GBI using DNA and dental records to positively identify the bodies.

On the afternoon of July 22, the Henry County authorities confirmed Mirsha Victor’s human remains were one of the sets found.

On July 28, Henry County Coroner Donald Cleveland identified one of the victims as a Locust Grove woman named Conteshia McCoy. She was reported missing in February. Officials have not shared any further information about her case at this time. No one has been charged in her death.

Captain Randy Lee of Henry County Police previously told 11Alive they may find more bodies.

“We have some leads of additional, potential victims that we’re following up on at this time,” Lee said.

What we know about Mirsha Victor’s disappearance

A missing person incident report from the DeKalb County Police department reveals Victor’s roommate reported her disappearance on July 8. 

DeKalb Police responded to the Creekside Apartments to meet with Victor’s roommate and mother just after midnight. Her roommate told law enforcement Victor left their apartment around midnight the previous evening and hadn’t been seen since.

She told police Victor did not specify where she was headed, but she did say she “was going to meet a guy.” 

According to the report, Victor’s roommate told police she couldn’t reach her cellphone and decided to check and see if the missing 23-year-old was at Kabobs on North Lake Drive in Lake City, where Victor works, but a manager told Victor’s roommate she never showed up.

An account from the Henry County Police Department states officers were dispatched to a Walmart located at 1400 Hudson Bridge Terrace to meet with a DeKalb County detective about a missing person case the day after Victor’s reported disappearance.

Police said an officer advised the detective that he needed help getting connected with the homeowner of Victor’s last known location.

According to a police report, they were able to ping the 23-year-old’s phone at two locations — Kabobs and a location on Hudson Bridge Terrace. 

Lake City Police officers found her phone inside a trash can at her workplace while investigating, detectives said.

PHOTOS: 23-year-old Mirsha Victor

What we know about the suspects in Victor’s case

Three people have been booked into the Henry County jail in connection with Victor’s case. Dennis Lane, Cleounsee Fisher, and Ronisha Preckwinkle are all facing a murder charge. 

After police found Victor’s phone on July 9, Lane called it, asking to speak with Victor’s mother in person at his house. When the victim’s mother met with Lane on Hudson Bridge Terrace, police say they overheard him tell her “he was not a bad guy” and that “everyone was blaming him” for her disappearance. 

Police say they tried to talk to Lane about Victor’s disappearance, explaining to him that his statements “didn’t add up.”

They escorted him to the back of a patrol car and continued the investigation, later discovering a white mattress laying on top of the dumpster across from Lane’s residence that appeared to have blood stains.

Authorities say they noticed blood on the floor, in the bathroom, and a missing mattress while executing a search warrant.

Lane is listed on the GBI’s Sex Offender Registry because of a conviction in Illinois for predatory criminal sexual assault.

New details in arrest warrants for the suspects obtained by 11Alive reveal Lane took video of himself on a cellphone at the scene. It’s part of the evidence police say they have supporting their case against him.

Arrest warrants said Lane then, with the help of Prekwinkle and his brother Fisher, disposed of her body in some woods nearby along with other evidence. 

The warrants now indicate that Victor was killed in Lane’s apartment off Hudson Bridge Road, some 20 miles from Victor’s apartment within about two hours after she left her apartment.

Victor’s family says they have since learned that Lane also worked at that Kabobs, and that Victor and Lane knew each other from work. They believe that after Victor was killed, Lane took her phone to work, and put it in the trashcan.

The warrants state authorities found additional physical evidence of Victor’s murder, and other possible murders, inside the residence on Hudson Bridge Terrace. Henry County Police Captain Randy Lee said investigators may find more bodies.

“We have some leads of additional, potential victims that we’re following up on at this time,” Lee said on July 21.

What we know about Conteshia McCoy’s disappearance

A missing person report from Locust Grove Police shows a man accused of murdering  23-year-old Victor in his apartment last month was listed as a friend of Conteshia McCoy. He faces no charges in the McCoy case. 

The incident report said officers met with McCoy’s mother at the police station on Feb. 26. She said her daughter, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and wasn’t taking her medication, left in an Uber on Feb. 23 and hadn’t been seen in days.

Her mother told police McCoy’s phone was off and there was no activity on her bank accounts or CashApp. Her iCloud account was also disabled, the report said. 

McCoy’s step father told police March 2 she worked at a Walmart and after contacting friends and family, he only knew she left in a gray car and didn’t take a bag with her. Managers at the Walmart pulled surveillance video for officials, showing McCoy walk out of the store on Feb. 11 and getting inside a dark sedan. The report said McCoy told one manager an ex-boyfriend was stalking her.

What we don’t know

It’s unclear at this time how McCoy died. No one is charged in her death at this time.

11Alive is working to gather more information about the investigation.

Source: http://rssfeeds.11alive.com/~/658996362/0/wxia-local~What-we-know-Second-set-of-human-remains-found-in-Henry-County-identified-as-Locust-Grove-woman

Valdosta State University dean among 14 arrested in online child predator sting


VALDOSTA, Ga. — 14 people were arrested in South Georgia last week after a four-day operation targeting child predators.

According to the GBI, Operation Broken Arrow was based around the Valdosta area and took several months of planning to execute.

The GBI says the 14 people arrested range in age from 24-57 and they traveled from areas around South Georgia with the intent to meet a child for sex.

They were identified as:

  • Dave Vincent Almon, 43, retail manager
  • Billy Stephen Carter, 57, truck driver
  • Eric Bernard Copeland, press operator
  • Walter Lee Curry, 33, laborer
  • Jamian Hogan, 34, retail associate
  • John Henry Hursey, 45, carpenter
  • Eugene Andega Mainah, 35, unemployed
  • Keith Morrison, 43, truck driver
  • Wyman Rene Phillips, 36, electrician
  • Wilford Sermons, 28, customer service representative
  • Josue Trejo, 31, forklift driver
  • Bronson Jamari D. Tripp, 24, retail associate
  • Keith Walters, 44, university Dean
  • Justin Na’eem Warren, 24, student

The Valdosta State University web site lists Walters as the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

The GBI says at least one of the people they arrested had previously been arrested on a peeping tom charge, and at least two of the other arrestees had been investigated for sex crimes before.

19 mobile devices were seized as evidence in the operation.

According to the news release, investigators had more than 120 exchanges with people on social media or the Internet platforms. Over 40 cases were established that met the threshold for arrest, and 14 of those cases were concluded with arrests.

The 14 are formally charged with violating the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007 and/or Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude.

Additional charges and arrests may be forthcoming.

For more information on the operation, click here.


Source: https://www.13wmaz.com/article/news/crime/valdosta-state-university-dean-among-14-arrested-in-online-child-predator-sting/93-815ec188-e7eb-42ef-b1c6-f86e6ed44756

Group confronts Cobb County sheriff over ‘invented requirements’ imposed on sex offenders

The letter sent to Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren was written by a national organization that advocates for the rights of sexual offenders

ATLANTA — A sex offender rights group is accusing the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office of overstepping Georgia’s sex offender registration laws.

In a letter sent this week to Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, the North Carolina based National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) claims deputies are “imposing invented requirements not contained in Georgia law.”

NARSOL Executive Director Brenda Jones, in the letter, writes the requirements the sheriff’s office is imposing are considered harassment. The letter includes four specific claims against the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

First, registrants are allegedly being required to have personal contact four to 10 times a year at a deputies’ discretion – a requirement NARSOL claims isn’t detailed in state law.

Second, deputies are accused of leaving cards demanding registrants call or face arrest, in excess of required sex offender renewal requirements.

“You do not have any authority to arrest a person who chooses not to call,” the letter states. “Registrants are not required to call the sheriff’s office simply because a deputy would like to have them do so.”

Third, deputies are described in the letter as knocking on doors and demanding to speak with registrants “outside of reasonable hours” and beyond what state law details.

Fourth, sex offender list registrants are also claiming when renewing or updating their information, the sheriff’s office is requiring them to write down their work hours – a requirement not listed in state law.

In the letter, Jones writes that NARSOL recognizes the sheriff’s duty to enforce sex offender registration laws, but adds, “those statutory requirements have no provision for a sheriff to impose his/her own additional obligations rather than enforcing only the legal obligations required of a sex offender.”

Jones said that her organization is asking the sheriff’s office to respond to the claims in the letter within 30 days to “avoid costly litigation.”

A similar letter sent in 2019 to the Butts County Sheriff’s Office contesting signs being posted in the yards of sex offenders on Halloween did lead to a lawsuit being filed.

But one legal expert 11Alive spoke to said the actions of sheriff’s deputies may be perfectly legal.

According to criminal defense attorney Chelsea Thomas, who is familiar with Georgia’s requirements for registered sex offenders, if a sex offender is currently under a probation order, they may have specific requirements they must follow that go beyond the requirements for a registered offender who has completed their sentence. That could include having to check-in more regularly with local law enforcement and having to give additional information about their employment.

11Alive has reached out to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office to discuss the claims made in the letter from NARSOL.

“After an internal review of our policies and procedures and also a discussion with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, we believe the accusations contained in the cease and desist request to be without merit,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “It is the mandated duty and responsibility of all sheriffs to keep the public informed of sex offenders in their jurisdictions.

“In an abundance of caution we will request a legal opinion from county attorneys to insure that we are applying the laws correctly but also protecting and informing the law abiding citizens of Cobb County.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.


Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/crime/cobb-county-sex-offender-requirements-questioned/85-39063e85-aa1b-411b-b510-4fac8a8370dd

Inside look: Forsyth County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit

ICAC in the Forsyth Co. Sheriffs Office was recently recognized as one of the top units in the state.

CUMMING, Ga. — The Internet Crimes Against Children Unit or ICAC at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is doing things a little bit differently in targeting sexual predators.

But it’s caught attention – the unit was recently recognized for their outstanding work by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

In the fall of 2019, the unit made 24 arrests during an undercover operation called “Operation Just Cause.”

It led to the arrests of suspected predators, as young as 19 and as old as 65. Most were from North Georgia, but others traveled to Forsyth County from surrounding states to meet children.

Detectives in the task force say that operation is just one example of the work they are doing everyday.

“We handle sometimes 40 cases at one time, and the national average for a deputy in any given department is about 20,” says Detective Jeffrey Roe, an investigator at the Forsyth County Sheriffs Office.

Roe said he believes a major component to their success is attention to detail and the talent of their team.

“I was so humbled to be recognized by GBI, but it’s the combined efforts of each team member that makes our success possible,” he said.

Lt. Ben Finley, the North Patrol Division Commander at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said the unit also is the first in the state to use drone technologies in these types of crimes.

“It has been hugely successful for us, and it helps us communicate with our undercover officers on the ground about a suspects whereabouts for a smoother arrest,” Finley explained.

Both Roe and Finley said they place a emphasis on understanding that there is no “type” for a sexual predator.

“In my 18 years of doing this, we come across all types – young or old,” Roe said. “We’ve arrested law enforcement officers, judges and even pastors.”

Both men also attribute the unit’s success to focusing on singularity and assigning one task to each member of the team, in order to eliminate multi-tasking errors. The agency said they have anywhere from 40 to 100 officers working on an operation, at any given time.

The agency also is a big proponent of collaboration, often working with other agencies across Georgia and bordering states to make arrests. Unit officials said that internet crimes against children continue to worsen and evolve, which is why they focus on community engagement.

Detective Roe said he speaks at area schools to inform parents and families of the dangers of social media and peer pressure online. Roe said he also works to debunk terms like “kiddy” porn and child porn, because “these are sexual abuse crimes, and we want to make people aware of the gravity of that term and to make parents pro-active.”

Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/mynews/cumming/internet-crimes-against-children-unit/85-ff95732f-cb09-44e5-9534-5da79fb1fbc1

Operation Good Shepherd: 10 arrested in Hall County child predator sting


The operation began back in October.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Ten people were arrested after a months-long Hall County child predator sting, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

The undercover investigation, known as Operation Good Shepherd, targets online child predators.

The operation began back in October when investigators began communicating with adults online who thought they were speaking with children. Authorities said they talked to the adults through several platforms including social media and text messages.

The adults who were alleged to be communicating with — who they believed to be minors — range in age from 24 to 47 and are residents of Georgia cities from Lilburn to Cleveland.

Officials said some of them offered money to detectives, who they thought were children, to perform sexual acts and others sent obscene pictures and described obscene sexual acts.

Hall County authorities said they began taking people into custody on Thursday, Nov.21 and the arrests happened nearly daily after that. It came to an end after its final arrest Nov. 27, according to authorities.

“I’m very proud of the efforts of our own Criminal Investigations Division in heading up and executing this operation,” Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said.  “I’m confident the hard work of our team and partner agencies in this effort will make the community safer for our children.”

Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC), the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and Floyd County Police Department were in collaboration to carry out Operation Good Shepherd.

The operation is complete, but authorities said each case remains under investigation and additional charges may occur.

The 10 arrested are: 

Patrick C. Reese, 32, of Flowery Branch
• Sexual exploitation of children
• Aggravated child molestation, criminal attempt

Alan Alberto Rojas, 24, of Lilburn
• Child molestation, criminal attempt
• Aggravated child molestation, criminal attempt
• Obscene material, furnish electronically to minor
• Enticing a child online
• Human trafficking

Cynthia Lynn Michelle Lloyd, 25, of Gainesville
• Prostitution

Patricia Erica Burt, 37, of Cumming
• Prostitution
• Human trafficking

Michael Ryan Jewell, 35, of Buford
• Sexual exploitation of children

Christopher Alan Hoover, 33, of Jasper
• Enticing a child online x 5
• Sexual exploitation of children
• Pandering by compulsion

Colt David Clemmer, 33, of Talmo
• Sexual exploitation of children

Matthew David Ingram, 34, of Gainesville
• Sexual exploitation of children x 3

William David Gowdy, 40, of Cumming
• Sexual exploitation of children x 3
• Electronic enticement of a minor

Jason Noel Lingerfelt, 47, of Cleveland
• Enticing a child online x 4

Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/crime/10-arrested-in-hall-county-child-predator-sting/85-38d09828-35ac-43da-b0ba-02bcf8c9d1c4

Judge issues ruling favoring sex offenders who sued Butts County sheriff over ‘no trick-or-treat’ signs


A federal judge heard arguments in court last week and handed back the decision, Tuesday.

ATLANTA — A federal judge has issued a ruling favoring – in part – three registered sex offenders who sued the Butts County Sheriff, calling the “no trick-or-treat” signs the sheriff placed in their yards an abuse of power. 

Last year, Butts County Sheriff Gary Long had deputies place the signs in the yards of the registered sex offenders in the days leading up to Halloween, alerting parents and trick-or-treaters that they should avoid those homes. 

“My office took precautions and placed signs indicating ‘No Trick-or-Treat’ at each registered sex offender’s residence in the County,” Sheriff Long said. “This was done to ensure the safety of our children.”

Georgia state law prohibits registered sex offenders from placing Halloween decorations on their property. But several of the sex offenders objected to the signs, saying it made them a target and was an overreach by the sheriff. Three of those offenders ended up filing suit, arguing that the yard signs went too far – breaking the law in the name of enforcing the law. 

“State law does require him to notify the public in very specific ways, and none of those ways includes placing signs on registrants’ lawns,” explained Mark Yurachek, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. 

According to the lawsuit, the offenders questioned whether the sheriff “exceeded his authority” in putting up the signs and whether deputies trespassed on their properties in doing so. The suit also says the deputies’ actions caused harm, including “anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation,” and damaged their ability to trust law enforcement. They sought a jury trial and damages.

A federal judge heard arguments in court last week and handed back the decision, Tuesday. 

“The question the Court must answer is not whether Sheriff Long’s plan is wise or moral, or whether it makes penological sense. Rather, the question is whether Sheriff Long’s plan runs afoul of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It does,” the ruling states.

In the ruling, the judge granted the named plaintiffs’ motion to prevent the sheriff’s office from posting the signs in the named plaintiffs’ yards. However, the judge declined to offer damages. The court also declined to enter into a sweeping injunction in favor of all registered sex offender, but warned the sheriff’s office “should be aware that the authority for their blanket sign posting is dubious at best and even more dubious if posted over the objection of registrants.”

The court continued, saying that the ruling does not limit the sheriff’s discretion “to act on specific information suggesting a risk to public safety. But he cannot post the signs over the named Plaintiffs’ objections simply because their names are on the registry.”

In a statement to 11Alive following the judge’s ruling, Yurachek, the attorney, said his clients were “thankful” to the court’s “thoughtful and measured decision.” 

“There is a long way to go in this action and, although we decline further comment specifically addressing the litigation, we are hopeful that this decision indicates that, as with this preliminary issue, we will prevail in the permanent injunction action and the lawsuit in general,” the statement continued. “We hope for and wish that every child in Butts County and in every community in the country enjoys a joyful and safe Halloween and note, as the Court’s opinion did, that the lack of signs in front of registrants’ homes will not affect either their joy or their safety this year or any other year.”

He added that he would hope the ruling gives the sheriff “pause about putting up signs this Halloween or in the future.”

11Alive reached out the sheriff’s office for a comment on the ruling. They posted a response on their Facebook page saying they will continue to fight the lawsuit, but will not put up any yard signs while the suit is pending.

“The judge in this matter has ruled that I can NOT put signs on the right-of-way of the three offenders that filed the lawsuit. While I respectfully and strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling, I must abide by the ruling,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff added that he sought advice from the Prosecuting Attorneys Council in 2018 before deputies placed the signs, who gave specific instructions on how to place them in compliance with Georgia Law.

In lieu of the signs, the sheriff said he will keep a “very strong presence” in the neighborhoods where there are known sex offenders. He also added that while some may be disappointed with the ruling, he strongly encouraged they “NOT take matters into your own hands this Halloween.”

“We understand frustration with the Judge’s ruling, but we all must abide by it unless it is overturned on appeal. Unfortunately, there is no time to appeal before this Halloween,” the sheriff said. “My promise to the citizens of Butts County is to protect the public, especially the children.”

You can check the Georgia sex offender registry by visiting the state’s website.

Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/federal-judge-rules-partially-in-favor-of-butts-county-sex-offenders/85-d22c5d04-1b7b-4f4c-aaab-aba0630359fb

Butts County sex offenders file suit over sheriff’s ‘No trick-or-treat’ signs


Last year the sheriff put signs in front of the homes of sex offenders on Halloween

BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. — Last year, the Butts County Sheriff wanted to make it clear on Halloween who the registered sex offenders were. He did so by putting warning a sign in front of each of the sex offenders’ homes

“My office took precautions and placed signs indicating ‘No Trick or Treat’ at each registered sex offender’s residence in the County,” Sheriff Gary Long said. “This was done to ensure the safety of our children.”

But now attorneys representing multiple sex offenders have filed a class-action lawsuit against him and his staff, saying the Sheriff is violating laws he is sworn to uphold. 

“The sex offenders have asked a federal judge to stop my office from placing these signs this year,” Sheriff Long posted this week on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. 

One of the Atlanta attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit, Mark Yurachek, says the Sheriff is right to protect children, but going about it all wrong.

“State law does require him to notify the public in very specific ways. And none of those ways includes placing signs on registrants’ lawns.”

Yurachek points out that his clients’ names and photos and addresses are already on-line, on the GBI’s public sex-offender registry website for all to see. He says they have served their prison time, they’re not on probation, they’ve paid their debts to society, and they are complying with all of the requirements of the sex offender registry–and not risking prison again by being anywhere near children.

Yurachek says that forcing the registrants also to display the yard signs is going too far–breaking the law in the name of enforcing the law.

And, he asks, where would that stop?

“It’s easy to pick on these guys. Because nobody really wants to see anything done for a sex offender. But I promise you if this goes by without a legal challenge and push-back, it’s going to get worse…. The Sheriff’s going to say the next time, when it’s the DUI registry, and he wants to identify people who drink and drive, that that’s okay, as well” to make them affix signs on their cars identifying themselves as having had a DUI conviction, no matter how long ago it was.

Sheriff Gary Long, whose deputies tell the offenders that they face arrest if they take down the yard signs, told us a year ago that yard signs are a public service.

“There’s some sex offenders that’s not happy. But I’m not really in the business of making them happy, I’m in the business of keeping safe communities and making sure our children is protected.”

According to the lawsuit, the offenders question whether the sheriff “exceeded his authority” in putting up the signs and whether deputies trespassed on their properties in doing so. The suit also says the deputies’ actions caused harm, including “anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation,” and damaged their ability to trust law enforcement. They’re seeking a jury trial and damages.

On Thursday, Long’s office will argue in Federal Court that they are “protecting our children and following Georgia Law” by placing these signs.

He said that regardless of the judge’s ruling, he’ll continue do “everything within the letter of the law to protect the children of this community.”

Georgia state law prohibits registered sex offenders from placing Halloween decorations on their property. The yard signs the Sheriff posts have the universal “no” symbol over a trick or treat bag underneath the message “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!!” 

Last year, the mother of a registered sex offender in Butts County told 11Alive that it feels like a “target” to some who live with offenders. 

“There have been threats made. Hot heads saying ‘just take a gun to their heads’,” the woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

Earlier this year, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a requirement that “sexually dangerous predators” who have completed their sentences should remain on electric monitoring for the rest of their lives. 

There are currently 56 registered sex offenders living in Butts County.

Each county has an offender watch page on its website and a link to the statewide sex offender registry.


Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/crime/butts-county-sex-offender-lawsuit/85-64b3c169-e34b-4218-a63b-b61c03c46f1f

‘Operation End Game’: 9 arrested in online child predator sting


Operation End Game targeted people suspected of communicating with children online and then traveling to meet them to have sex.

ATHENS, Ga. — Nine people have been arrested and charged over a three-day period since last Thursday. Each of them has been accused of traveling from areas around northeast Georgia with the intent of meeting a child for sex.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the arrestees ranged in age from 19 to 53 years old. One person was a convicted murderer who had completed his sentence. When another was arrested, he was in possession of firearms and a machete.

The goal of “Operation End Game” was to arrest persons who communicate with children online and then travel to meet them for the purposes of having sex. The operation also targeted those who are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex.

Since 2014, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has arrested more than 130 people in similar operations.

These are the suspects arrested and charged

  • Morgan Andrews, W/M, Maxeys, GA, 27, mold repair technician
  • Joseph Kelly, W/M, 44, Statham, GA, assembly line worker
  • James Morriss, Jr., W/M, Dacula, GA, 49, sales representative
  • Andrew Schafer, W/M, Winder, GA, 53, project manager
  • Deointe Sims, B/M, Athens, GA, 25, assembly line worker
  • Fredrick Smith, B/M, Royston, GA, 29, fast food/food delivery service employee
  • Michael Turner, B/M, Covington, GA, 46, shipping/receiving employee
  • Zachary Turner, B/M, Colbert, GA, 19, unemployed
  • Noe Villafuerte, H/M, Winterville, GA, 44, landscaper

Alleged child predators caught in ‘Operation End Game’

During “Operation End Game,” more than 25 cases were established that met the threshold for arrest. Nine of those cases were concluded with arrests. 

During the operation, investigators had more than 200 exchanges with subjects on various social media or internet platforms. In many of the cases, the subjects introduced the obscene or lude content, often exposing the minor to pornography or requesting the minor to take nude or pornographic images for them.

About half of the exchanges involved websites used for dating, socializing or classified advertisements. Although some websites promote themselves as being for “adults only,” it is not uncommon for law enforcement to work cases in which children access these sites, establish profiles claiming to be older, then find themselves vulnerable to victimization, harassment, blackmail or assault.

Several of the subjects were identified as communicating simultaneously with multiple investigators posing as minors. This confirms what investigators discover during these types of investigations: That many predators specifically seek out minors on such sites and groom them as potential victims for sexual contact.

In addition to the agencies participating and coordinating the operation itself, ten additional law enforcement agencies participated in “Operation End Game” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force: The Alpharetta Police Department, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, The GBI-Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC), Gwinnett County Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Lilburn Police Department, the Polk County Police Department and the Savannah Police Department.


Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/operation-end-game-9-arrested-in-online-child-predator-sting/85-a3c6eb5d-981e-4af0-8a7b-29d0a54617cf

Sex predator watchdog group may be at odds with police


OPHIS gained quick notoriety for tracking down alleged child sex predators.

ATLANTA — An online watchdog group that gained quick notoriety for tracking down alleged child sex predators may find themselves in trouble with the law.

John Savior, who runs the group OPHIS posted on social media that he has been asked by law enforcement to stop making the videos – otherwise, he could be charged.

The videos shocked metro Atlanta when they were first posted. They quickly went viral.

In the first video posted online, Savior confronts 35-year-old James Crews, who allegedly planned to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old boy at a Walmart in Griffin.

“You think it’s alright for a 35-year-old man to have sex with a 14-year-old boy?” Savior asked in the video. 

“If he consents to it,” Crews responded.

The videos were reminiscent of the old NBC show To Catch A Predator. However, that show often worked with law enforcement while Savior worked alone.

“There’s a reason we have law enforcement. I don’t want everyone in the world … to go out and make traffic stops and pull people over,” said Attorney Randy Kessler who is not affiliated with this case.

On his Facebook page, Savior writes that he will no longer attempt confrontations in Henry County.

“We will be continuing our operations in all other cities and counties at a higher rate. It has been made (abundantly) clear that O.P.H.I.S is not welcome in the Henry County area,” wrote Savior.

11Alive reached out to Henry County Police to see if they, in fact, told Savior to stop. The agency never responded.

The suspect in the original video, James Crews, is still behind bars in Lamar County. He’s charged with enticing a child.

Kessler believes the suspect’s lawyers could have some legitimate concerns about his arrest.

“As a lawyer, if I was defending the guy, I would want to know about the person who caught him. Who is he? What’s his baggage?” said Kessler. “They’re trying to do the right thing. But work with law enforcement”

Savior said he doesn’t plan to stop. He wrote on his Facebook page that, instead, he’ll change his strategies.


Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/online-watchdog-told-to-stop/85-de97b5ae-a3be-41a0-99dd-6e51d76c007d

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