The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
A Towns County Sheriff’s deputy, assisted by agent from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, acting on information received from a neighboring county on Friday, September 25th, stopped a white Ford Ranger pickup suspected of being involved in numerous burglaries and thefts in several surrounding counties, as well as within Towns County.
Joshua Ryan Lowe, age 28, of Hayesville, North Carolina was arrested for one count VGCSA possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, one count VGCSA possession of less than 1oz. of marijuana, and one count possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Deputies recovered a large amount of property suspected to have been stolen from several counties. Towns County Sheriff’s investigators, working with investigators from Union County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Hiawassee Police Department, are attempting to identify the recovered property. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are likely.
The USDA Forest Service announced that it is opening the Panther Top Fire Tower to the public for viewing on selected dates during October and November 2015. This Forest Service fire tower is normally closed to the public.
The Panther Top Fire Tower is located in Cherokee County, near Hiwassee Lake. The 40- foot tall lookout tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940. Standing atop a 2,293 foot summit, the Panther Top Fire Tower is the lowest situated lookout tower in western North Carolina, and it is also the most western tower in the state.
The tower will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday: October 3, 24 & 25 and October 31 & November 1. Hours will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call the Tusquitee Ranger District Office at 828-837-5152.
The following press release has been issued by Towns County Sheriff's Ofice.
In the early morning hours of October 1, 2014, Daniel Lee Bower was stopped by Hiawassee Police for traffic offenses. The Hiwassee Officer requested assistance from Towns County Sheriff's Deputies. Deputy Aaron Deyton arrived on scene as the Hiawassee Officer was conducting his investigation. Bower was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI.
During the course of the stop, Bower stabbed Deputy Aaron Deyton in the neck and attempted to escape, but was apprehended, initially by Deputy Deyton, who was soon joined by the Hiawassee Police Officer and another Towns County Sheriff's Deputy. Towns County 911 Dispatch contacted Sheriff Chris Clinton, who arrived on scene as EMS personnel were working to save Deputy Deyton's life. A medical helicopter had been called, but was unable to land in Towns County due to low cloud cover. Towns County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Henderson escorted the ambulance to a location in neighboring White County, where Deputy Deyton was taken via helicopter to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he would spend the next month.
After securing the scene, Sheriff Clinton contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case, due to the victim being a deputy sheriff. During the course of the investigation, the following was learned: Daniel Lee Bower admitted that he was able to dislocate his thumb in order to slip out of the handcuffs that had been placed on him previously by a Hiawassee Police Officer. As Deputy Deyton was speaking with Bower, Bower said he slipped out of the cuffs and pulled a knife that was hidden inside a belt that had been made to look like a regular belt buckle. Bower then stabbed Deputy Deyton in the neck and fled on foot.
Deputy Deyton, with a near fatal wound, chased Bower over 120 yards to prevent his escape. Bower continued to resist and Deputy Deyton deployed his taser. The Hiawassee Police Officer and another Towns County Sheriff's deputy pursued as well and as they arrived, the other deputy witnessed Deputy Deyton drop his taser, but did not know why. Deputy Matt Prentice then drew his taser and tased Bower multiple times as Bower continued to resist. It was then that the other officers realized that Deputy Deyton was injured. Deputy Deyton stated that, at the time, he thought Bower had punched him and did not realize he had been stabbed.
Deputy Deyton would spend the next month in the hospital on his initial visit and several additional surgeries throughout the following months. Deputy Deyton has only recently been able to return to work as a Deputy Sheriff with the Towns County Sheriff's Office. Deputy Deyton was awarded a Medal of Valor by the Towns County Sheriff's Office and was, again, recognized with a Medal of Valor from the Georgia Sheriffs' Association at the Sheriffs' Summer Training Conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia in July, 2015.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, Daniel Lee Bower entered a plea of guilty to criminal attempt to commit murder in the stabbing of Deputy Aaron Deyton. Bower was sentenced by Enotah Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Murphy Miller to 30 years for his crime. The trial had previously been scheduled to begin Monday, September 21, 2015.
The Towns County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Sheriffs' Association, Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Fire Department, Towns County Emergency Medical Services, Towns County 911 Dispatch, District Attorney, Jeff Langley and staff, United Community Bank, UGA Football and Coach Mark Richt, UGA Football chaplain, Kevin "Chappy" Hines, Towns County Sheriff's Citizen Law Enforcement Academy alumni, and our community for their generous donations of financial support for Deputy Aaron Deyton during this time.
Army National Guard Pvt. Robert I. Campbell has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.
Campbell is the son of Wanda Ballew of Murphy, N.C.
He is a 2015 graduate of Mountain Youth School, Murphy, N.C.
Army Reserve Pvt. Ashley L. Middleton has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.
Middleton is the daughter of Christy L. Johnson of Murphy, N.C., and Rodney M. Middleton of Inman, S.C., and step-daughter of Richard J. Johnson of Murphy, N.C.
She graduated in 2015 from Paul M. Dorman High School, Roebuck, S.C.