Norton woman pleads guilty to financial exploitation of a senior

A Norton woman pleaded guilty to charges of identify theft, credit card fraud, and obtaining money by false pretenses Tuesday in Wise County Circuit Court.

Amy Lynn Hopson was sentenced to one year in jail, 15 years probation, and will have to pay restitution to the victim.

The Wise County Department of Social Services received information about potential financial exploitation of a senior or incapacitated adult in early 2016, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp. An investigation found Hopson had used an elderly person’s identity to open credit cards and made purchases of more than $10,000. Adult protective services then contacted the Wise County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation. Hopson confessed her crimes to investigators, Slemp added.

“Last month, we formed the Southwest Virginia Senior Abuse Task Force to combat the abuse and financial exploitation of our region’s most vulnerable citizens,” Slemp said. “Financial exploitation of seniors is far too common and unfortunately the number of these crimes is significantly underreported.  Roughly five million people across the country are affected by elder abuse annually, but only one in twenty-four cases are actually reported to police.  Not only are these cases underreported, the circumstances make them difficult to prosecute.”

Hopson was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 19 years suspended.



Wise man dead after attempted murder and police negotiations

On July 15, 2017 at approximately 4:19 p.m. Wise County Central Dispatch received a 911 call of a domestic disturbance located at 7764 Indian Creek Road in Wise, VA. The victim called advising she had been physically assaulted by her husband, Scottie Lynn Hamilton, age 60, and he was now in the bedroom loading a gun. The victim hid in the bathroom with the door locked, and two gun shots were fired through the door. A deputy arrived on scene and was able to safely bring the victim outside. A Town of Wise Police Officer then arrived on scene and heard a gunshot come from inside the residence. The deputy and officer were able to get the female to safe location. Deputies and officers set up a containment around the home waiting for a Wise County Sheriff’s Office negotiator and the Sheriff’s Response Team to respond. 
Negotiators arrived and attempted for approximately one hour to make contact with Mr. Hamilton inside by cellular phone and PA system. All negotiation attempts were unsuccessful. 
The Sheriff’s Response Team utilized a robot to enter the home to conduct a search and attempt further negotiations via the robot. Mr. Hamilton was located on the bed, with still no response. SRT made entry to secure him and the home. It was discovered that Mr. Hamilton was deceased with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Wise County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Division is in charge of the investigation which is pending upon receipt of medical examiner reports.

Local police warning public of phone scam

The Wise County Sheriff's Office and other agencies throughout Southwest Virginia have seen an increase in scam phone calls recently. The numbers showing up on caller id will appear to be a local area number. This is a form of a scam that uses a computer generated phone number. Some numbers are showing up as well known established businesses, IRS or a Law Enforcement Agency. If you get a phone call and are not expecting it please allow it to go to the voicemail. Please do not provide any identifying information over the phone which could include dates of birth, social security numbers, bank credit or debit account information or any other unique information pertaining to yourself. If you have any questions please contact us or the law enforcement agency in your jurisdiction.

Please share this information!

WCSO arrest man for counterfeit money

On July 4th 2017 Sgt. M. Payne and Deputy J. Edmiston responded to a citizen’s complaint on Wise Norton Road in Wise, VA regarding counterfeit money. A male subject, later identified as Jason Ira Massengill, 38 years old, of 1629 Lynn Avenue Kingsport, Tennessee, had given the victim $300.00 in counterfeit money to take him out of town.
Deputies located Mr. Massengill at Auto Zone in Norton, VA where they recovered additional counterfeit bills from Mr. Massengill. Over $7,000 in counterfeit money was recovered by deputies. 
Mr. Massengill has been charged with uttering counterfeit money, and possession of counterfeit money. Mr. Massengill has also been linked to other counterfeit money cases throughout the region. If anyone has any information about counterfeit money or believes they have been a victim please contact Wise County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Duane Phillips at (276) 328-3756 or by email,

LCSO arrests five in meth bust

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Lee County educator indicted on porn charges

A retired Lee County, Virginia teacher arrested earlier this year on child porn charges has been indicted by a grand jury.

Robert Widener, Jr., 60, of Ben Hur, is charged with 20 counts of solicitation of the production of child pornography and 20 counts of using a communication device to possess child porn. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Commonwealth's Attorney Fuller Cridlin described the case against Widener as "Very disturbing" and "serious".

The Virginia State Police also made a public appeal to any other potential victims in the case to come forward with information on Widener. He spent a total of 35 years in the public school system until his retirement in January 2014.



Lee County Sheriff’s Office June Activity Report

Monthly Activity Report for June,2017

Total calls received by Dispatch: 7,413.

Total calls received that Deputies responded to: 1,074.

There were 532 calls dispatched to other agencies.

There were 268 Rescue Squad calls and 45 Ambulance calls.

There were 44 Fire Department calls dispatched.

Seventeen funerals escorted.

Forty-seven vehicles were unlocked for citizens.

Deputies served 148 warrants and processed 64 people.

Deputies served 205 subpoenas, 17 show cause summons and 259 other various civil papers.

One search warrant was executed.

Deputies traveled a total of 65,824 miles with 2,932 miles being on transports.

Deputies transported five juveniles, three mental health patients and two prisoners from other jurisdictions.

Deputies along with inmates from Duffield Regional Jail picked up 794 bags of trash from our county roads.

Lee County Reserve Officers volunteered 96 hours to the community this month.

Wise County Deputy saves overdoes victim using Narcan

On June 30, 2017 Wise County Deputy, Sgt. Myles Cote, heard a rescue call over the radio for an unresponsive male lying in the floor with shallow breathing on Laurel Avenue in Coeburn, VA. He was in the immediate area and quickly responded. Sgt. Cote located the male in the floor and discovered evidence that he had been smoking synthetic drugs. The male was completely unresponsive and barely breathing. Sgt. Cote administered one dose of Narcan Nasal Spray overdose antidote to the male, which improved his breathing and revived him. Rescue then arrived on scene and transported the male to Mountain View Hospital. 
Sheriff Ronnie Oakes has required all his deputies to be trained to administer the overdose antidote. Three Wise County Deputies are also certified as trainers for the antidote. All deputies carry Narcan Nasal Spray to be used in emergencies.

Gap to Gap Road Race to be held on July 15

The Town of Pennington Gap presents the Gap To Gap Road Race on July 15, 2017.

The entry fee is $30.

Registration @ 8 a.m.

Race Starts @ 9 a.m.

The race begins at Leeman Field in Pennington Gap, goes to Chadwell’s Gap near Caylor, and returns to Leeman Field for a total of 62 miles and 4,000 feet of total elevation change.

Cash prizes!

For more information, visit the Gap To Gap Road Race on Facebook!

LCHA meets with Americore CEO

The Lee County Hospital Authority met last week to discuss progress moving forwards and address citizens' concerns.

Americore CEO Grant White said his model for the hospital is a "medical mall", adding they can't have a business that's dependent on Lee County. His model would consist of smaller, modular business units within the larger hospital building that would share staff and facility costs to make the hospital more profitable. The units would include veterans' care, an addiction treatment center, and a "superlab".

The hospital would start out with a six-bed ER and 18 acute care beds, for a total of 25, and then grow from there.

White was recently at the center of a civil suit for unpaid rent and a criminal charge of writing a worthless check in the amount of $11k. The lawsuit was settled for an unknown amount, and the criminal charges were dropped. Hospital Authority vice chair Ronnie Montgomery called the news social media hype, adding that the Hospital Authority knew about the lawsuit all along.

Citizens addressed their concern for more transparency within the LCHA's and Americore Health's agreements, citing the lack of information on the LCHA website. White agreed that better communication is good advice.