On the evening of Friday, August 3, 2018, an investigation was opened by the Russellville Police Department at the request of Pope County Sheriff, Shane Jones. Sheriff Jones had been informed of possible inappropriate sexual contact between a member of the sheriff’s staff and a current inmate being housed at the facility. As the investigation unfolded, it was discovered that a second member of the staff also had inappropriate sexual contact with the same inmate. As a result of the investigation, two female employees were immediately terminated and placed under arrest. One employee, Lauren Elliott, was arrested on charges of Sexual Assault 4th Degree and the second employee, Billie Tucker, was arrested on charges of Sexual Assault 4th Degree and Introducing Prohibited Articles into a Correctional Facility. Both will appear before Judge Don Bourne in felony bond hearings on Monday morning.
Sheriff Shane Jones is deeply saddened by the actions of his former employees. Sheriff Jones understands that the public trust is the most valuable thing a law enforcement agency can possess. He hopes that his quick action and response to these allegations demonstrates to the public that his employees are being held to the same standards as the public this agency serves. Sheriff Jones stated “I am heartbroken by the betrayal of two trusted employees and these actions will not be tolerated.”
The investigation is ongoing by the Russellville Police Department and the 5th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney and no other statement will be made at this time.
Thomas A. Whybark, Jr. has been reported missing by his grandmother. He was last seen in the morning hours of Sunday, July 15th leaving his grandmother's residence at Levi Place and Jennings Road in Russellville.
Thomas is a white male, 5'7", 170 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes and may have a short beard at this time. He is 25 years of age. When last seen, he was wearing black pants and a black hoodie. Thomas recently made statements that he was going to the Amarillo, Texas area, but the direction of travel is uncertain at this time.
If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Mr. Thomas Whybark, please contact Investigator Russell Hill at 479-968-2558.
******FUGITIVE IS NOW IN CUSTODY*****
The manhunt for Cory Donnelly has now ended with the subject being apprehended. Sheriff Jones would like to thank the citizens in the area for cooperating and being diligent during this manhunt.
Donnelly was last seen wearing a red shirt, dark pants, wearing a backpack and has possibly dyed his hair red. The search is currently centered in the Linker Mountain area.
A manhunt is currently underway in the area of Shinn Mountain Loop and 333 for Cory Donnelly, approximately 31 years of age. Donnelly is wanted by several agencies on outstanding warrants. He is 5'9", 150 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes. He has stars tattooed on each wrist. Please take precautions in locking all vehicles on your property as well as your residences. Donnelly is considered dangerous. If you see this subject, call 911 immediately.
On Tuesday, April 17, at approximately 10:14 a.m., Pope County Dispatch received a call from a residence at 1318 Shiloh Road. Upon arrival, deputies entered the residence and found two bodies identified as Keith Cogswell and Leanna Cogswell. Both individuals were deceased of apparent gunshot wounds. Both bodies were sent to the state crime lab to establish manner of death. It was determined by the medical examiner that the manner of death of Leanna Cogswell was homicide and the manner of death of Keith Cogswell was suicide. The Pope County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this incident as a murder/suicide.
Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones would like to thank the assisting agencies; Russellville Police Department, Arkansas State Police and Pope County Coroner’s Office.
On Wednesday, April 18, Pope County 911 was notified of a missing person in the Zion Road area of Appleton. The individual was a 15 year old special needs male, identified as Carson Tanner. It was reported that the child wandered away from home at approximately 1:15 p.m. Within 30 minutes, Pope County Office of Emergency Management Search and Rescue, Pope County Deputies, the U.S. Forest Service K-9 unit and officers with the Arkansas State Police, were dispatched to the s...cene. Survival Flight was also contacted to possibly assist with an aerial search. Within a short time, the child was located in a pond approximately 300 yards from the residence. The child was pulled from the pond and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pope County Coroner, Danny White. This tragedy has been investigated by the Pope County Sheriff’s Office and Arkansas State Police and has been ruled an accidental drowning. Sheriff Shane Jones wishes to thank all involved in the search and expresses his deepest sympathy to the family.
On 3/23/2018 deputies with the Pope County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on a male subject who had warrants. After a brief pursuit the suspect crashed his vehicle and fled on foot in the area of East Gum Street in Russellville. In their search of the area deputies checked a residence where the suspect was allegedly known to frequent, and upon making contact with the homeowner, deputies and assisting officers were given permission to search the residence for the suspect. During their search deputies located drugs and firearms in the bedroom of Christopher Baird. Christopher Baird was currently on parole, and was found to have a felony warrant revoking his parole. Baird was arrested and the following items were seized. A loaded AR-15 Rifle, 1 loaded handgun, 7 pounds of Methamphetamine, 4.6 pounds of Marijuana, and $13,000 in cash. The street value of the drugs is estimated to be approximately $65,000. Baird appeared before District Judge Don Bourne for the charges of Trafficking Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession with Purpose to Deliver Controlled Substance, and Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms. Judge Bourne issued Baird’s bond at $350,000.00. Sheriff Shane Jones would like to thank the agencies involved that assisted in this incident.
Sheriff Jones is excited to announce that through a grant partnership with the Criminal Justice Institute and the Blue and You Foundation, that the Pope County Sheriff’s Office has received Naloxone overdose kits for all deputies at our department. Naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdoses, which are becoming increasingly common in Arkansas, as well as the rest of the nation.
Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones stated “Our deputies come into contact with drugs and other dangerous substances on a daily basis while on patrol. My office is dedicated and committed to doing everything we can to protect our deputies in the event they encounter these drugs in the field. Our deputies will also be able to administer the Naloxone to any opioid overdose victim if the deputies arrive prior to emergency medical personnel.”
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After thousands of hours of CID interviews and investigation, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones announces that felony bench warrants for Capital Murder have been issued for two individuals in the deaths of Billy Allen and Patricia Meadows. The remains of Mr. Allen and Ms. Meadows were found in a burned trailer in northern Pope County on January 16, 2014. It was determined by the Arkansas State Crime Lab they were both victims of homicide. Arrest warrants for Brad Hill and Kerri Hill were issued by Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons. Kerri Hill is currently in custody at the Pope County Detention Center and will appear for a bond hearing on Wednesday, 3/14/18 at the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, before District Court Judge Don Bourne. A first appearance court date will be given to the defendant at that time. Brad Hill is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Corrections on unrelated charges. He will be transported to Pope County at a later date where he will appear before a circuit judge
Sheriff Jones commends the Pope County Criminal Investigators and investigators with the Arkansas State Police for their tireless efforts in following countless leads and for their dedication to bringing justice to the victims and their families. The Pope County and Arkansas State Police Investigators and their assistant have devoted themselves to the apprehension and conviction of those responsible for the deaths of Mr. Allen and Ms. Meadows. We would also like to recognize and thank the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for their expert assistance.
On 1/14/2018 the Pope County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible officer impersonation in the area of the 4100 Block of North Arkansas Avenue. The victim stated that a dark colored Dodge Charger with blue and white dash lights initiated a traffic stop on her. She described the suspect as a tall, white, slender male wearing a dark uniform with no badge or patches, and wearing a hat similar to a State Trooper. Our deputies checked and determined that no local officer had initiated the stop through dispatch. Sheriff Jones would like to remind citizens that should they ever be unsure of a stop that it is ok to slow and proceed to a well illuminated area before stopping. If any citizen has information relating to this case, please call the Pope County Sheriff’s Office at 479-968-2558…
On 12/23/2017 a water leak was noticed when flooding became apparent in the Detention Center and Sheriff’s Office. Roy’s Heating, Air, and Plumbing was called and located a 3/4” copper pipe under the slab of the old portion of the jail which had failed. Over the course of 12/23/2017 and 12/24/2017 a portion of the slab was removed and the leak was fixed. Sheriff Jones stated that the leak did not affect the entire detention facility, and that the inmates housed in this section were provided drinking water and access to restroom facilities during the repair process. The current Pope County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center was built in 1981, and then expanded in 2001 to its current design. No further information is available at this time.