Editor’s note: We have compiled the top 20 stories from 2020 based on the number of hits each story received on the Thomasville Times-Enterprise’s website, timesenterprise.com. We have included the month each story ran as well. 

1. Mother charged in child cruelty case. 

February 2020

THOMASVILLE — A Thomasville police officer said the condition of a child in a cruelty case is the worst he has witnessed in 21 years in law enforcement.

A little boy, just under 2 years of age, arrived at the Archbold Memorial Hospital emergency room weighing what a 3-month-old should weigh, said Lt. Toby Knifer, Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division commander.

Police were notified by the Thomas County Division of Family and Children Services about a child who appeared to be neglected.

“The child appeared severely malnourished,” said Knifer, adding that the boy weighed less than 20 pounds.

The boy was transported to the neonatal intensive care unit at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. 

2. Two charged in January fatal shooting

February 2020

THOMASVILLE — Two Thomasville men were charged in connection with the January shooting death of a military man who had returned home to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Marquis D. Gatlin, 27, 410 Wolf St., was charged with murder and criminal attempt armed robbery. Ryon J. Law, 22, 61 Woodhaven Road, is charged with theft by receiving a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


The suspects are charged in the Jan. 9 shooting death of 19-year-old Chance Kelley, a U.S. Marine stationed in South Carolina, whose body was found near the intersection of West Merrill Street and Madison Street Alley under the Madison Street overpass.

Kelley’s body was found about 5 a.m. He had been shot multiple times. His vehicle was found several hours later at a Georgia Avenue residence.

3. Grady burglary suspects arrested in Florida

February 2020

CAIRO — The Grady County Sheriff’s Office apprehended two suspects believed to be responsible for a series of burglaries that took place earlier this month.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office’s Criminal Investigation Division and Drug Unit along with the assistance of U.S. Marshals and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office SPIDER unit arrested suspects Justin Hicks and Darby Carter in Tallahassee just after 9 p.m.

Hicks and Carter, both Grady County residents, had been wanted in connection with a rash of burglaries that occurred across south Georgia over the past two weeks.

4. Marine shooting victim was home to attend grandmother’s funeral

January 2020

THOMASVILLE — The man whose body was found on Madison Alley S.E. early Thursday morning was home from the military to attend his great-grandmother’s funeral.

Someone heard shots fired in the Madison Street bridge area about 4:45 a.m. and called 911.

Witnesses said they saw a body lying face-down on Madison Alley shortly after they heard gunshots, said Maj. Wade Glover, Thomasville Police Department public information officer.

5. Juvenile suspect arrested at hospital, charged with 44 gun crimes

May 2020

THOMASVILLE — A local lawman said that when firearms stolen from a Florida sporting goods store surface, injury or death will be involved.

An ongoing investigation has resulted in eight Thomasville residents being charged in the April 25 burglary of a Tallahassee, Florida, sporting goods store.

Lt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office chief investigator, said 44 firearms were taken.

A 16-year-old suspect was arrested at the Archbold Memorial Hospital emergency room.

Watkins said the sheriff’s office learned from Clark’s probation officer the teen was at the hospital emergency room. A police officer working a security detail at Archbold recognized Clark, the investigator said.

6. Shoplifting suspect tangles with fence

January 2020

THOMASVILLE — A Thomasville Police Department officer responding to a solicitation complaint at Gateway Shopping Center late Thursday morning encountered mayhem.

The manager of T.J. Maxx ran from the store and told the officer two women carrying suitcases ran from the store to the parking area. The women got into a Mitsubishi that left Gateway at a high rate of speed headed toward U.S. 19, then traveled onto Remington Avenue.

The vehicle, while speeding along Remington in a reckless manner, traveled onto the shoulder of the road to maneuver around other vehicles.

The passenger in the car, Eliz Dakota Brown, 27, 300 Moultrie Road, Apartment 5, Albany, attempted to flee by scaling a wrought-iron fence.

Officers said she was not able to navigate the fence, her leg was caught and a metal pedestal on the fence punctured her leg.

Inside the vehicle, officers found two large suitcases containing multiple items of clothing and a laundry hamper containing clothing, shoes and purses. Glover said the suitcases were stolen from T.J. Maxx.

7. Father, son charged in Boston assault case

May 2020

BOSTON — Three Thomasville residents, including a father and son, are charged in an incident in which suspects were traveling on ATVs.

Police responded Saturday night to a report of a fight in progress in a business parking lot in the 100 block of East Jefferson Street.

The officer arrested three suspects and transported them to the Thomas County Jail, said Boston Police Chief Charles Pettus.

8. Two positive tests for COVID-19 now hospitalized at Archbold

March 22, 2020

THOMASVILLE — Archbold Memorial Hospital has received the first COVID-19 positive test results. Two positive results were received, and both patients are currently hospitalized at Archbold. 

Archbold officials said that at this time, they would like to reiterate the necessity to methodically follow the guidance from the CDC to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette. Adherence to these practices is the best way to reduce the chance of contracting and spreading the virus.

9. Grady sheriff’s Facebook share draws heat

June 1, 2020

CAIRO — Grady County Sheriff Harry Young is under fire from some in the community for a Facebook post that his critics say was insensitive.

A Facebook post shared by Young on May 8 featured a picture with the caption “Can we get back to the tradition of hanging traitors?” Laura Register, a local community activist and former member of the Grady County Board of Education, shared the post Sunday as an example of what she says is dangerous rhetoric.

Young said the post, which came weeks before recent protests over the death of a black man who had been in police custody, was unrelated to current racial tensions. The sheriff said his comments were in reference to Democratic political figures such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and was not meant to be taken literally.

10. Doctor pleads with public to stop coronavirus spread

April 2, 2020

CAIRO — A local medical professional issued a dire warning to Grady County residents Thursday to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously.

“We are at war,” said Jonathan Lynch, a family medicine doctor who is a member of the medical staff at Grady General Hospital. “We are at war with a microscopic enemy that is ravishing our world, our country, our state, and even our city and the countryside of this great county.”

Two patients tested positive for the coronavirus in Grady County earlier this week and three individuals are on ventilators, though Lynch said the virus is likely far more widespread in the community. Positive test results will always under-represent the true extent of the virus’ reach, he said, and even daily data released by the state Department of Public Health and Archbold Medical Center can sometimes become obsolete within minutes of publication.

Grady General has just four intensive care unit beds, Lynch said, and the hospital would be unable to handle a serious influx of sick patients. Even larger hospitals such as Archbold Memorial in Thomasville have surge capacity limits.

11. Suspects on the lam, did not surrender

June 2020

THOMASVILLE — A man and woman scheduled to surrender Friday in a drug, firearms and theft case are wanted by the Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division.

Michael Blake Hutchinson, 28, and Tabitha Ann Laray Evette Crowe, 26, were on probation for methamphetamine convictions when narcotics agents found methamphetamine, marijuana, a firearm and items stolen in a burglary at the couple’s 51 Spruce Lane residence.

A reward is being offered for information leading to suspects’ arrest.

Agents got a tip that items stolen from a landscaping business might be at the Spruce Lane address.

The suspects’ probation includes a search clause that allows a search of their residence, said Louis Schofill, narcotics/vice commander.

Agents found the stolen tools, along with an SKS rifle in plain view in the suspects’ bedroom, Schofill said, adding that the firearm was loaded with a 30-round magazine.


12. Arrests made in student’s rape

February 2020

CAIRO — Cairo Police has arrested two suspects who they say were involved in the rape of a Cairo High School student last week.

A 16-year-old juvenile has been charged with statutory rape while another was charged with enticing a child for an indecent purpose.

According to a police incident report, a female juvenile told investigators that she left school the morning of Feb. 18 in a vehicle and went to a nearby park.

13. Task force tracks down suspects, stolen firearms

April 2020

THOMASVILLE — A hastily-organized task force of local, state and federal lawmen tracked down suspects and firearms stolen Wednesday in a pre-dawn burglary at Kevin’s Guns and Sporting Goods in Tallahassee, Florida.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) notified local authorities Saturday that the burglary suspects possibly were in Thomasville.

The task force, made up ATF, Thomasville Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office found a suspect at a North College Street residence. A firearm reported stolen from the Tallahassee store was recovered in the arrest.

Three juveniles, ages 15 and 16, have been arrested.

14. McBride to serve 3 years in prison for fatal wreck

January 2020

CAIRO — A Grady County judge sentenced Anna Marie McBride to three years in state prison for her involvement in a January 2019 wreck that took the life of Thomasville High School senior Levi Knop.

Thursday morning’s court session was originally scheduled to include motion hearings in McBride’s case, but court was instead called to order for McBride to submit a negotiated guilty plea to one count of first degree vehicular homicide, one count of reckless driving and one count of speeding.

Superior Court Judge Heather Lanier sentenced McBride to 15 years, three of which will be in state custody. The remaining 12 will be served on probation.

Lanier largely accepted the state’s suggested sentence of 15 years, three being in state custody, but with an addendum — McBride is also to pay a $10,000 fine and serve 500 hours of community service. At least 150 of McBride’s community service hours must be spent sharing her story to young drivers as a warning not to drive recklessly. 

Prior to being taken into custody, McBride told Knop’s family “how very sorry (she was) for the accident that happened that terrible, terrible day.” She added that she was thankful for the positive impact that Knop, 18 at the time of his death, left during life.

15. Man charged with human trafficking

January 2020

THOMASVILLE — A man charged recently with impersonating a law enforcement officer and released on bond is now charged with human trafficking involving an Albany teen.

In addition to trafficking person for labor or sexual servitude, Marsella Miles, 22, 511 W. Calhoun St., is charged with aggravated assault, sodomy and first-degree cruelty to children in a case involving a 17-year-old Albany male, who has been returned to his family in Albany.

16. Child struck, dies

March 2020

A 3-year-old child died when he was run over on Augusta Avenue midday Sunday.

Witnesses told police a relative leaving an Augusta Avenue residence ran over the boy about 12:30 p.m.

“The relative did not see the child,” said Maj. Wade Glover, Thomasville Police Department spokesman. 

17. Archbold reports first two deaths from COVID-19

March 30, 2020

THOMASVILLE — Archbold Memorial Hospital has reported its first two deaths of patients from COVID-19.

Archbold officials said they are reporting results for patients in Archbold facilities and results reported through their lab and are not reporting data by county of residence, which is how the state reports data for public health purposes. Archbold officials also said the system is not the only potential source of testing results within their service area counties, which reinforces the need to rely on the Department of Public Health for data by county of residence.

18. Couple charged with trafficking in meth

February 2020

THOMASVILLE — Two people from Moultrie face drug charges after they were arrested Wednesday in Thomas County.

Area law enforcement agencies were on the lookout for a white, extended-cab Chevrolet pickup truck believed to be connected to thefts in Moultrie and in Colquitt and Brooks counties.

One of the suspects had an outstanding warrant in Lowndes County, said Keith Drawdy, Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division  assistant commander.

19. Suspect surrenders in $7K church theft

May 2020

THOMASVILLE — A 26-year-old Thomasville woman wanted in the theft of $7,000 from a local church surrendered at the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office early Monday afternoon

Shaniqua Branee Evans, 1211 Altman Ave., surrendered at 1:50 p.m. Monday.

The church was having construction work done and gave workers a church debit card to purchase supplies, said Lt. Tim Watkins, sheriff’s office chief investigator. The PIN was written on the card.

The sheriff’s office was notified after several ATM withdrawals of $600 each were made, Watkins said, adding that surveillance video was obtained of some of the ATM transactions.

The suspect wore a shirt with a Thomasville business logo on it. Managers at the business identified the person as Evans.

A vehicle shown in ATM surveillance video was identified as belonging to Evans, Watkins said.

Investigators contacted Evans who, Watkins said, denied knowledge of the ATM withdrawals.

20. Drug case will go to federal prosecutors

March 2020

THOMASVILLE — A Magnolia Street residence had been under surveillance when Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice agents decided to take action.

Agents arrested Rodney Wayne McCoy Jr. and Lemoses Phillip Carr, and McCoy faces a series of charges.

With a search warrant in hand, agents approached the house on March 6 and saw a vehicle parked by back steps of the house. 

Schofill said the vehicle was running and a vehicle door was open. Also, marijuana and a loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol were in plain view.

Upon entering the house, agents encountered McCoy and Carr.

Schofill said agents found multiple bags of molly in Carr’s pockets and more bags of molly and crack cocaine in a bedroom.

A safe at the residence contained about $1,200.


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