A woman from Purdy is in custody after allegedly pulling a gun on road district workers in July. Cheryl L. Staponski, 59, is charged with two counts of assault in the first degree or attempt, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of unlawful use of a weapon.
According to affidavits of probable cause by the Barry County Sheriff's Department,
Staponski pulled a semiautomatic pistol on two road district workers who were inspecting damage to the road of Farm Road 2057 on July 14 around 6:30 p.m. The victims claim Staponski pulled the slide back to chamber a round and threatened to kill them if they did not leave.
Staponski allegedly held the gun on the victims until they drove away. The victims also reported she threatened to have her dog attack the workers, as well.
Staponski is currently being held in the Barry County Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bond.
Vandals damaged Zach Vance's family tombstones at the Washburn Prairie Cemetery in Barry County.He says he and his family are at a loss for words over the destruction. Vance says the tombstones of his second cousin, who passed away from cystic fibrosis and a heart condition, and with his father who died in a truck driving accident, were destroyed.
The Barry County Sheriffs Office says whoever did this drove off Washburn Prairie Road and left tire marks on and around the grave sites. Vance says this is the first this has ever happened to his family's burial site. He says he is also unaware of the cemetery having camera footage of the incident.
He says he has been asking neighbors nearby if they caught the crime by there deer cameras, but has had no luck.
Vance says they will be fixing the tombstones, but he does not think this is a random act because his family tombstones are the only ones destroyed.
The family is offering a reward, but have not set an amount.
A Cassville man is in police custody after injuring two, leaving one in critical condition and lifeflighted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Alan Michael Mellow, 27, is charged with one count of domestic assault in the first degree with serious injury, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of domestic assault in the third degree.
According to an affidavit of probable cause by the Barry County Sheriff's Department deputy Kyle Rhea, Mellow committed the crime at a residence on Farm Road 1110 on June 5. The officer reported that Mellow stabbed one of the victims with a large knife in the left side of his upper torso, causing serious injuries that left the victim in critical condition in the ICU.
Mellow then allegedly got in to a physical altercation with a second victim that resulted in the victim's knee dislocating. Mellow allegedly threatened the second victim with the knife, saying he would stab him with it.
Mellow is currently held in the Barry County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 cash-only bond.
Human remains found south of Jenkins, Mo. in Barry County have been identified as that of 35 year old Ronald Jessup Brightwell of Springfield, Missouri.
Brightwell's remains were uncovered on March 26th, 2018. The Barry County Sheriff's office says they are seeking information from anyone who may have had contact with Brightwell prior to his disappearance in 2012.
If you were in contact with Brightwell through any method of communication you are asked to call the Barry County Sheriff's office at 417-847-6556.
Local participation alleged in multi-state drug trafficking
An Aurora man has been indicted along with five other southern Missouri residents by a federal grand jury in Federal District Court in Springfield for a multi-state operation involving multi-pound shipments of methamphetamine.
Jason C. Brookshire, 37, of Aurora, was one of 15 defendants named in the indictment for a conspiracy to transport meth from Arizona to Missouri. Other area defendants included Gregory L. Hopper, 34, and Amanda L. Robinson, 27, both of Springfield; Leslie T. Ray, 49, and Melissa D. Melencamp, 42, both of Branson; and Olivia L. Fluke, 34, of Reeds Spring.
The grand jury also indicted four from Tucson, Arizona, two from New Mexico, and others from Texas and Mountain Home, Ark. Two of the Arizona subjects had been indicted on March 26, and those charges were superseded by the latest ground jury.
The federal indictment alleges that all 15 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene, Christian, Polk, and Taney counties from June 2017 to March 18, 2019.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the investigation began when law enforcement officer seized nearly two pounds of methamphetamine from a Branson hotel room. The subject in that arrest, Manual Edgardo Cortez, also known as "Manny," 44, of Tucson, Ariz., allegedly used couriers to transport multi-pound loads of methamphetamine from Arizona to Branson. On several of those trips, says the affidavit, couriers transported 15-pound loads of methamphetamine.
On Feb. 20, 2019, Arizona state troopers seized approximately eight pounds of methamphetamine from Arnold during a traffic stop near Phoenix, the affidavit states. The methamphetamine allegedly was supplied by Cortez and destined for Springfield.
Seven subjects face additional charges related to the distribution of meth. Three face charges for possession of firearms as part of a drug trafficking crime.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull II. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS); the Branson Police Department the Christian County Sheriff's Department; the Ozark Police Department; the Springfield Police Department; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Silver City, N.M., Police Department; and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Purdy man being held on $45K cash bond
A Purdy man is facing a felony and two misdemeanors stemming from two occasions where he allegedly inappropriately touched a minor less than 17 years of age.
Lloyd Anderson, 26, of Purdy, is charged with fourth-degree child molestation and two counts of misdemeanor supplying liquor to a minor.
According to a probable cause statement filed by Det. Angela Cole, with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson allegedly supplied the victim with alcohol on two different occasions at a residence in Purdy. After the victim drank the alcohol, Anderson allegedly touched the victim inappropriately.
The minor was caught with the alcohol and said Anderson provided it. Anderson agreed to speak to deputies after being told his Miranda rights and allegedly admitted to supplying the alcohol and the inappropriate touching.
Anderson is being held in the Barry County jail on a cash-only bond of $45,000. He has been arraigned, and a disposition hearing is set for May 30 at 8:30 a.m. in the courtroom of Judge Robert Foulke.
Counterfeit bills circulating in Aurora
Warm weather typically equates to a rise in crime, and this year is no exception.
Law enforcement officials from the bi-county area reported increases in various crimes involving mail thefts, vehicle thefts and badly reproduced counterfeit bills once again circulating the community.
Pierce City Police Chief Mike Abramovitz reported a recent spate of vehicle break-ins on the north-central side of the city, where it is believed an individual traveled on foot to pilfer loose change, purses, electronics, a range-finder and a pair of binoculars from three different vehicles in one night.
"We're hoping someone has a camera," he said.
The incident occurred in the late night ours of April 17, and Abramovitz reported having no leads at the time.
Monett officers have also been investigating several cases of vehicle theft, as well as deputies with Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, who are seeking information on a recent Stotts City truck theft.
Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe announced Barry County officials were seeking information on the whereabouts of Jeremy Alan Martines-Brooks, 29, of Eureka Springs, Ark., on the class D felony of second degree burglary.
Lowe said on April 12, Martines-Brooks was involved in a vehicle pursuit that began in Eureka Springs, Ark., and ended in the Shell Knob area, where the pursuit was terminated after the suspect called dispatch and threatened to drive head on into traffic if the police continued to pursue him. During the vehicle pursuit, Martines-Brooks was observed throwing numerous pieces of stolen mail from his vehicle.
Martines-Brooks has reportedly been stealing mail from rural mailboxes throughout the northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri region, retrieving checks and then washing them of information before forging and cashing them at area banks. Known victims live in Eagle Rock, Golden, Shell Knob in Missouri, and Gravette, Lowell and Eureka Springs in Arkansas.
The suspect vehicle as driving a Silver Toyota FJ Cruiser with Arkansas plates 199RDK.
Martines-Brooks is currently a person of interest in several ongoing burglar, stealing and forgery cases in Arkansas and Missouri.
Lowe reported Barr County law enforcement officials, along with the Department of Senior Services, are seeking information on the location of Gail Sue Branstetter, 62, of Aurora, who is wanted for financial exploitation of an elderly/disabled person with a property value amount of $50,000 or more, a class A felony. Bond has been set at $75,000 cash only.
Donna Beckett, board secretary, said some counterfeit checks had been circulated in the Aurora area.
"It's fake money being passed by kids," she said. "They're not even good fakes. It states right on them it isn't real money."
Tip to local Crime Stoppers chapter led to arrest
A Purdy man wanted for alleged assault of a 67-year-old man that led to the victim suffering internal brain bleeding was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Monett with the help of Monett police.
Asahel Rodriguez, 18, of Purdy, has been charged for first-degree assault or attempt involving serious physical injury or special victim, a class A felony. Bond has been set at $100,000 cash only. He remains in custody at the Barry County Jail as of press time.
According to a probable cause statement filed by Deputy Justin Dunivant, with the Barry County Sheriff's Office, Rodriguez allegedly threatened a 67-year-old man at the man's home on Farm Road 2080 in Purdy last week, then allegedly lured the man outside and punched the man in the face multiple times.
The assault allegedly caused the victim's right eye to be swollen shut and resulted in lip injuries. Following medical treatment, it was shown the assault allegedly led to an internal brain bleed.
The arrest of Rodriguez was confirmed to be the result of a tip to the Barry-Lawrence County Chapter of Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and filing of charges on felony crimes.
A three-vehicle wreck on Highway 37 outside of Purdy led to the discovery of a almost quarter of a pound of methamphetamine on Tuesday morning, April 23. According to a report by Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe, a driver from Conway caused the crash after failing to stay in the correct lane of traffic and officers later discovered the meth.
Lucas Baldwin, 24, of Conway, was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado southbound on Highway 37. Purdy Police reported Baldwin crossed the center-line and struck a 2018 Freightliner, driven by Harold L. Wells, 59, of Aurora. When the Freightliner was struck, two tires were dislodged and one hit a third vehicle, a 2009 Nissan Versa, driven by Ronald Roetto, 48, of Monett, headed northbound.
No one was injured in the crash. The Silverado was totaled, and the Freightliner sustained extensive damage. Both were towed from the scene. The Versa sustained minor damage and was driven from the scene.
While investigating the crash, Lowe reported to have found 105 grams of methamphetamine in Baldwin's pickup.
Baldwin was issued a citation for failure to stay on the right half of the roadway and transported to the Barry County Jail on a 24 hours hold for possession of a controlled substance.
As of Wednesday, April 24, Baldwin was charged with class A felony trafficking drugs in the first degree and misdemeanor unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the affidavits of probable cause by Detective Joe Houdyshell with the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team (ODET), officers located the bag of methamphetamine under the open hood of the truck driven by Baldwin. Houdyshell then located addition empty baggies, a digital scale, two spoons and a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue on it.
During the interview with Baldwin, he told officers he smoked methamphetamine about thirty minutes or an hour before in Springfield before leaving to go home in Conway. Baldwin reported to officers he remembered using a restroom in Aurora but nothing else before the crash. Baldwin also reportedly told officers he's fallen asleep driving and had done the same thing about a week prior.
Baldwin claimed the meth was not his and did not remember seeing it when he changed his oil. Baldwin is currently on probation for delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
Baldwin is currently held in the Barry County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 cash-only bond.
The Purdy Police Department was assisted by Purdy Fire Protection District, Barry-Lawrence Ambulance, Monett City Fire Department, Wheaton Police Department and Thomas Towing.
Cassville Police Department is again participating in the D.E.A. Prescription Take Back Day.
The event will be held Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The address to drop off the medication is 300 Main St., Cassville City Hall/Cassville Police Department. The entrance will be in the back of the building using the Council Chamber door.
The Prescription Take Back Day is to help people to properly dispose of unused medication. Proper disposal of medication helps to protect the environment and keeps the medicine from being flushed into our water systems.
This also helps keep the medication out of the hands of people who do not have a prescription or need for the medication, but want to use it for recreational use only.
"We want to encourage people to take the time to clean out their medicine drawers and cabinets and properly dispose of their unused medicine," said Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief. "We also accept over-the-counter medication."
Inhalers, illegal drugs or sharp objects (i.e. syringes/needles) will not be accepted. No medications can be accepted from medical clinics, pharmacies or veterinary clinics.