The subject of a manhunt is now in custody, according to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Josh Summerford 29 year old Justin Wayne Wessels was arrested at a residence on Alabama Street in Centre just before 2:00 Tuesday afternoon in connection to an assault/kidnapping incident occurring prior to noon Monday in Subligna Community of Chattooga County in northwest Georgia.
According to Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader, further investigation has revealed that Wessels and 24 year old Jody Dillon Padgett traveled from Alabama to a residence in Subligna to collect a debt, and when the individual didn’t have the money that was owed – Wessels and Padgett pulled guns, and bound the male victim with wire ties while threatening to kill him. Schrader says the female present doesn’t appear to have been involved in the debt that was owed and was forcefully taken as surety that law enforcement wouldn’t be called – and also to ensure that the pair wouldn’t shoot the male victim. After the male victim was bound, Wessels and Padgett stole a safe, firearms and other items from the home prior to fleeing. Afterwards the victim was able to free himself and immediately called 9-1-1. A lookout was placed on the vehicle involved and it was soon spotted in Cherokee County near Blackwell’s Crossroads between Centre and Cedar Bluff.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Centre Police and Cedar Bluff Police Chief Steve Walden stopped vehicle and Padgett was taken into custody. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Josh Summerford said Padgett has been charged here with Promoting Prison Contraband 2nd Degree and has thus far been charged in Georgia with Aggravated Assault. Summerford also informed WEIS Radio that guns were found in the suspects’ vehicle during the stop.
Padgett is currently being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center – Sheriff Schrader says warrants will be obtained for Wessels for Home Invasion Burglary, Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault among other charges. He is also wanted on a Failure to Appear charge in Cherokee County for Possession of Controlled Substance.