Press Releases


Sheriff’s Office busy behind the scenes

While several major incidents have made headlines and taken the majority of our attention and efforts during the last few weeks, other incidents have occurred in DeKalb County that have been dealt with by deputies and investigators.

On Friday (March 1st) Drug Task Force Agents working I-59 stopped a vehicle and detected an odor of marijuana coming from inside. After further investigation, Herman Andre Cooper Jr. (26 of Bessemer) was arrested for Possession of Marijuana, 1st Degree.

Also on the same date, a juvenile was arrested in the Fort Payne City Park for Possession of Marijuana, 1st Degree. The following Monday, the same juvenile attempted to run from the courtroom and was apprehended by courthouse security and Drug Task Force Agents.

During the early morning hours of Saturday, March 2nd Sheriff Welden stopped a vehicle on Lookout Mountain that matched the description of the vehicle that was given out in the possible child abduction from Mt. Vernon. During the traffic stop, agents found an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency, along with approximately 3 pounds of marijuana. Austin Tyler Lang (23 of Albertville) was charged with trafficking in marijuana.

 Later on Saturday, March 2, a man was arrested after shooting his neighbor following a dispute. The victim was transported to Huntsville Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Spencer Hawkins (40 of Grove Oak) was charged with Assault, 1st Degree.

Also that Saturday, Drug Task Force agents assisted the Henagar Police Department after something was thrown from a vehicle during a traffic stop. When the object was found, it was discovered to be a bag with a crystal-like substance in it. The substance tested positive as Methamphetamine. The three occupants of the car, Ronald Broyles (62 of Flat Rock), David Templeton (23 of Henagar), and Michael Templeton (50 of Henagar) were all arrested by the Henagar Police Department.

The following Monday (March 4), Mason Gregory (23 of Fort Payne) was apprehended after officers spotted him and conducted a traffic stop at the Dollar General in Sylvania. Gregory had fled on foot about a month ago from a home in Cartersville. Gregory was also found to be in possession of Methamphetamine and paraphernalia. He was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in addition to his existing warrants.

On Saturday (March 9), Deputies contacted the Drug Task Force after locating a Meth Lab on County Road 445. Deputies and Agents collected the contents. No arrests have been made due to the lab being abandoned, but agents are continuing the investigation.

Later the same day, the Fyffe Police Department responded to a call and arrested Patrick Fuller (62 of Scottsboro) for Theft of Property, 4th Degree. While at the jail, officers located narcotics on his person. Fuller was additionally charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Promoting Prison Contraband, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the incidents: “While our staff has had their hands full with the tragic events of the last 2 weeks, several other crimes have still taken place. Our deputies, investigators, and agents have done a truly commendable job during this time.”

“We also appreciate the help from our local police departments and having the chance to assist them when they make a drug case. Reducing crime and drug use in DeKalb County requires that all departments work together as a team,” said Welden.

“I’d also like to thank the citizens for their support during this difficult time. It makes our guys work harder knowing the people are behind them. God Bless!” Concluded Sheriff Welden.

Herman Andre Cooper Jr. (26 of Bessemer)
Austin Tyler Lang (23 of Albertville)
Spencer Hawkins (40 of Grove Oak)
Ronald Broyles (62 of Flat Rock)
David Templeton (23 of Henagar)
Michael Templeton (50 of Henagar)
Mason Gregory (23 of Fort Payne)
Patrick Fuller (62 of Scottsboro)
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Crossville man charged in murder of Girlfriend

Christopher Lee Snow (33 of Crossville)

Early Saturday morning, the DeKalb Ambulance Service (DAS) and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a home in the Painter community, after a man had notified them his girlfriend was unresponsive.

The victim, Melissa Nicole Waldrep (31 of Crossville), was pronounced deceased on the scene. The DeKalb County Coroner, Sheriff’s Office Investigators, the District Attorney’s Office, and JSU – Center for Applied Forensics responded to the incident, and an investigation was soon underway.

A preliminary autopsy in the case showed the cause of death to be strangulation.

After a diligent investigation and questioning witnesses, Christopher Lee Snow (33 of Crossville) was arrested and charged with murder in the incident. Snow remains in the DeKalb County jail with a cash bond of $250,000.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the murder charge: “I’d like to commend our investigators on another job well done in quickly resolving this case. It’s unfortunate that they’ve had to deal with yet another murder investigation this weekend.”

“Incidents involving violence are always a top priority to our investigative team. Those that take the life of another will be held accountable,” he said.

“I pray that these incidents are not the start of a trend in our county. We ask that you please keep the family of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers,” said Welden.

“God Bless,” concluded Sheriff Welden.

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Big Week for Drug Arrests


Last week was a productive one for the DeKalb County Drug and Major Crimes Unit. From February 21st – 28th agents recovered and seized 390 grams of methamphetamine as well as 178 grams of Kratom as a result of investigating citizen’s tips and complaints. Various amounts of other illegal drugs were also seized.

On Thursday (February 21st), agents seized 178 grams of Kratom, and 3 grams of methamphetamine. As agents worked throughout the night, they were also able to apprehend a subject who was wanted by the Alabama Department of Corrections for an outstanding warrant. Two grams of marijuana was also confiscated during the arrest.

On the same date, agents conducted an operation seizing 125 grams of methamphetamine and 3 grams of cocaine. Also on that date, the Collinsville Police Department called the DeKalb County Drug Task Force to assist with an arrest; yielding two grams of synthetic marijuana.

Early Saturday morning (February 23rd) the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle and arrested one suspect. 14 grams of methamphetamine was confiscated after the subject brought it in to the DeKalb County Detention Center. Agents also continued their investigation from earlier in the week; arresting two suspects and yielding 34 grams of meth.

The following Monday (February 25th), agents conducted another search based off information given by the community in the Whiton area. While there, subjects fled the scene on foot. Two were arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The others have been identified, and warrants are pending.

The Drug Task Force also assisted in the recovery of a stolen motorcycle that was taken from County Road 97 (near Fort Payne) on the same day.

Also on Monday night, DeKalb County Investigators, Drug Task Force Agents, and an Agent with Alabama State Parks went to a residence on County Road 70 (near Geraldine). Upon arrival, a male fled the residence on foot, but was apprehended shortly after. Investigators and agents found a meth lab in a van located in the yard while at the residence. Two female and a male were arrested.

On Wednesday (February 27th), two more were arrested after being caught with almost 3 grams of methamphetamine at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles in Fort Payne.

Late Wednesday, Drug Task Force agents were working the Cartersville area. A vehicle ran a stop sign at the intersection of County Roads 155 and 169. When a traffic stop was attempted, the vehicle led deputies and agents on a chase lasting approximately 20 minutes. The pursuit concluded with the vehicle wrecking in Bryant, Alabama near the Tennessee line. Two of the occupants were arrested, and another escaped on foot.

The subject that fled on foot, Ryan Hardeman (24 of Higdon), is facing several charges. If you know his whereabouts, contact the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at (256)845-3801 or send a tip to info@dekalbcountysheriff.org. Your identity will be kept confidential.

On February 28th, an agent stopped a vehicle for expired tag near the Fort Payne Police Department. Upon search of the vehicle, the agent found 19 Xanax pills in which the driver did not have a prescription.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the arrests: “I commend these agents on their hard work this past week. There is significantly less poison on our streets thanks to their efforts.”

“It makes a big difference for the safety of our citizens to have a motivated and proactive team tackling our drug problem. These guys are good at what they do, and most importantly, they love what they do,” he said.

“Even those that aren’t immediately caught will be more apprehensive about selling this poison in DeKalb County. Families are sick of losing their loved ones to drug abuse, and we will continue to do our part to fight it,” the Sheriff said.

“Stay safe, and God Bless!” Concluded Sheriff Welden.

Mary Galloway (48 of Fort Payne)

- Distribution of Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia - Promoting Prison Contraband, 2nd Degree

            Marcie Auman (47 of Fort Payne)

- Possession of Paraphernalia - Possession of Marijuana

            Tyrone Boldware (45 of Gadsden)

- Possession of Controlled Substance - Drug Trafficking - Controlled Substance - Contempt of Court

Daniel Lee (20 of Dawson)

- Drug Paraphernalia

            Tracey Mars (48 of Rainsville)

- Receiving Stolen Property, Third Degree

            Joey Davis (43 of Fort Payne)

- Trafficking in Any Illegal Drug - Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree

Wendy James (19 of Ider)

- Possession of a Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia

Patrick Ridge (20 of Henagar)

- Possession of a Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia

Joey Williams (52 of Higdon)

- Reckless Endangerment - Drug Paraphernalia - Resisting Arrest - Attempt to Elude

Megan Davidson (20 of Higdon)

- Attempting to Elude - Resisting Arrest - Drug Paraphernalia

Cynthia Mooneyham (55 of Geraldine)

- Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance - Trafficking of a Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia

Stacie Mooneyham (45 of Fyffe)

- Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance - Trafficking of a Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia

James Nelson (47 of Grant, Alabama)

- Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance - Trafficking of a Controlled Substance - Drug Paraphernalia

Scottie Ray Guffey (53 of Fyffe)

- Possession of Controlled Substance - Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
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Arrest made in Amberly Barnett Case

Christopher Wayne Madison, 33 of Collinsville. 

Statement from Sheriff Nick Welden regarding Amberly Barnett case: We would like to announce that an arrest has been made in the case of 11-year-old Amberly Alexis Barnett’s death.

Christopher Wayne Madison, age 33, has been arrested and charged with Capital Murder. He is being held without bond.

Her body was found in a wooded area approximately 200 yards behind the defendant’s home.

Due to the ongoing investigation, and in order not to jeopardize that investigation, I am not at liberty to disclose any additional information concerning this case.

The road to justice for this sweet, innocent little girl is too important to release anything to jeopardize this investigation.

I would like to thank our staff and all other departments that assisted on this case. This was a true joint effort, a team effort between multiple agencies who all worked tirelessly to help us get to this point.

God Bless.

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Statement from DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden on Amberly Barnett

The following statement is from Sheriff Nick Welden: “At approximately 6:30 am today (March 2) the deceased body of 11-year-old Amberly Alexis Barnett was located.”

“Due to the current investigation, we are limited on the information we are able to release. I can tell you we are diligently pursuing different avenues and Lord willing we will have answers in the upcoming days.”

“Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward during this tragic event. Please understand my staff and I will not be answering questions at this time due to the circumstances.”

Search suspended for Amberly Barnett


From the Office of DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden:

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — The search for 11-year-old Amberly Barnett, who went missing from the Mt. Vernon area of DeKalb County yesterday has been suspended effective this morning (March 2, 2019).

No further information is available at this time, however we will be having a press conference on the incident at 1 pm. The press conference will be in the multipurpose room at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and will be open only to members of the media with credentials.

We would like to thank the members of the public who shared the story on social media and helped in the search.

Stolen Norfolk Southern Truck recovered near Cartersville

Late last week, a truck that had been reported stolen from Norfolk Southern was recovered near Cartersville.

Deputies were contacted by a homeowner about a vehicle that her son had left parked in her yard. When deputies arrived, dispatch notified them that the tag had been switched.

After checking the VIN, the vehicle had been reported stolen by Norfolk Southern in Chattanooga.

The suspect in the theft, Alan Joel Spurgeon (58 of Higdon) is currently incarcerated in the Dade County Detention Center (Georgia).

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the recovery: “I’d like to thank our deputies for their hard work and also thank the homeowner for contacting us regarding the vehicle."

“This sort of crime is one of the main reasons we are stepping up patrols across DeKalb County. Theft of property and the use as well as the sale of illegal drugs go hand and hand,” said Welden.

“We are working hard to eradicate these sorts of crime from our county in order to protect our children and communities,” he said.

“God Bless,” concluded Welden.

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Two arrested after string of thefts in Sylvania

Joshua Anderson (35 of Sylvania) Katelin Land (24 of Sylvania)

Two are in custody after a string of car break-ins in Sylvania last week. A car had also been stolen. The thefts were reported on Spears and Delta Street.

The Sylvania Police Department was notified of two vehicles and two homes broken into last Thursday (February 14). Sylvania PD then asked DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office investigators for assistance in this matter, and provided some possible suspects.

The next day (February 15) investigators located the stolen property, a small amount of methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia in one of the suspect’s homes. It was determined that one of the suspects was responsible for the thefts.

The suspect in the thefts, Joshua Anderson (35 of Sylvania) was charged with Breaking and Entering of a Motor Vehicle (2x), Burglary 3rd Degree, Receiving Stolen Property 2nd Degree, Theft of Property 3rd Degree, Theft of Property 4th degree, Theft of Property 1st Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The other suspect, Katelin Land (24 of Sylvania) was charged with Use of False ID to Obstruct Justice after she provided investigators with a false name. Her real identification was found during the search, and she was found to have a warrant.

Land was also charged with Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and had an existing warrant for Failure to Appear.

Both remain in the DeKalb County Detention Center.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the investigation: “Our investigators are always willing to help our local police departments. Having a good working relationship with these departments allows us all to better serve all the citizens.”

“Like most theft cases, this one also seems to be drug-related.  Tackling the local drug problem will directly help reduce theft cases in our communities,” he said.

“God Bless,” concluded Sheriff Welden.

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Two arrested after raid near Henagar

Nathan Paul Brooks II (51 of Henagar) Mitchell Phillips (48 of Fort Payne)

Early this morning, the DeKalb County Special Response Team (SRT) assisted in a search warrant executed on Jackson County Road 163 near Henagar.

The ALEA Regional Drug Task Force, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the Jackson County Narcotics Unit were also involved in the raid. A DeKalb County K-9 Unit was also utilized. 

During the search, an undisclosed amount of Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was found. Firearms were also seized by the ATF on scene.

Nathan Paul Brooks II (51 of Henagar) and Mitchell Phillips (48 of Fort Payne) were arrested at the residence.

Brooks was charged with Distribution of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 

Phillips received charges for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Loitering in a Drug House.

Both are currently being held in the Jackson County Detention Center.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the raid: “This raid concludes an investigation into Methamphetamine being sold in our area with the suspect in custody. Our Drug Task Force is aggressively pursuing all leads into those pushing poison in our communities.”

“This raid also highlights the importance of working closely with our Federal and State Law Enforcement Agencies, as well as our neighboring counties. I’d like to thank our guys and all involved for taking part in this operation,” he said.

“As always, God Bless,” Concluded Sheriff Welden.

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Man charged with distribution after Traffic Stop

Steven Caneer (39 of Fort Payne)

A Fort Payne man was arrested for possessing a sizeable amount of Methamphetamine in Geraldine on Friday (February 15).

A Drug Task Force Agent conducted a traffic stop for a switched tag on Highway 75 in Geraldine around noon. The passenger in the vehicle had probation warrants in DeKalb County for manufacturing.

After searching the subject, approximately 12 grams of Methamphetamine was discovered. Digital scales, opioid pills, marijuana, and a syringe were also found.

The subject, Steven Caneer (39 of Fort Payne) was charged with Drug Paraphernalia, Distribution of Controlled Substance, Second Degree Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and a Probation Violation.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the arrest: “This is another great example of how patrol and attention to detail can lead to more dangerous drugs being taken off our streets.”

“This is also why it’s good to have our Drug Task Force out and working the community. If you choose to push this poison in our communities, just know that our agents are out and always working. You stand a great chance of getting caught,” he said.

“As always, God Bless!” Said Sheriff Welden.

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