According to Chief Investigator Josh Summerford, Justin Wayne Wessels was just arrested at a residence on Alabama Street in Centre. We will have additional information as soon as it is available.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Josh Summerford has released the name of the individual still being sought as part of an assault/kidnapping incident occurring prior to noon Monday in northwest Georgia.
The subject of that manhunt is 29 year old Cedar Bluff resident, Justin Wayne Wessels – and Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader has released additional information regarding that incident.
According to 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. Wessels remains at large. 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 and even though there’s no way of knowing if Wessels is currently armed, he is to be considered dangerous.
Padgett is currently being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center – Sheriff Schrader says warrants are being obtained for Wessels for Home Invasion Burglary, Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault among other charges.
In a comment posted on our Facebook page Wessels says that what happened on Monday was not a home invasion or robbery, and that he was going to retrieve items that belonged to family members from the homeowner in Subligna. He also says that the girl involved in the incident left willingly with him and 24 year-old Jody Padgett.
Here is what Wessels posted on our Facebook page this afternoon:
“Look, i didnt kidnap anyone nor did i rob anyone. The guy who says he was bound and robbed actually robbed somebody else who happens to be my family. I went to this guys house and knocked on the door. This gentleman let me into the home and i discussed what happened with him robbing my family. He said he was sorry and told my family member who happened to be with me thatvhe could have the safe and a .22 rifle and they would be even. The girl voluntarily left with my family member as she said she was tired of being physically abused by the jason guy. She packed her belongings and got into her vehicle with my family member and even brought her dogs. This was no home invasion. This was no robbery. There was nobody bound at gunpoint. I ran simply because im on community corrections and didnt want to go to jail. We never harmed anyone or threaten anyone in anyway. Im no longer in alabama so the man hunt can be over. Everyone who sees this plz know, im not a violent person and definitely not into kidnapping. I love all of you and would never hurt anyone. I only went to georgia to talk to the guy about what he stole from my family, which happened to be mine as well. Plz everyone share this comment and let the truth be heard!”
“I will turn myself in. I only want everyone who knows me to know i didnt do this and would never harm anyone. Ive got 107 days to pull for my community corrections and i dont any new charges. I only drove my truck to get there. Not to steal from anyone. The girl decided to leave with jody on her own free will and we stopped at a friends house in cedar bluff on way to leesburg so we have witnesses. Plz share all this.”
“6 pm today im turning myself in to cedar bluff p.d.”
We’ll bring you new information as it’s made available.