In This Weeks Edition: 01-11-2012

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Denmark fire claims one child’s life

Lisa B. Stokes, Contributing Writer

Around 12:45 a.m. on Friday, January 6, fire fighters were dispatched to a home on 168 Cotton Street in Denmark where they found a trailer belonging to Katrina Folk on fire. Bamberg County coroner Billy Duncan said, 4-year old Janae’ Greggs body was found in the home.

Paul Eubanks, the assistant chief of the Denmark Fire Department and incident commander for fire said, they got the call at 14:45 a.m. and were on the scene within minutes. Eubanks said his fire unit was told that a child was in the burning home. “We were able to find the child within seconds of arriving,” the assistant fire chief said. Eubanks said the burned body was just a few feet from the front door.

Led by 18-year old Da’Brika Sanders, everyone else was able to get out of the burning home. Da’Brika’s mother Veverly Sanders, who lives down the street from the from the victim’s family, said her daughter would often baby-sit the children of Folk. Veverly Sanders, who was asleep in the living room said the fire woke her daughter up. She said at first Da’Brika Sanders thought the flames were a part of a dream and then quickly realized that the house was on fire. “Veverly said her daughter immediately began trying to get everyone out of the home. However, by the time the group realized that Janae’ was still in the burning home, the trailer was fully involved and impossible to enter. Janae's mother, Monique Smith was frantic. Lindsay Smith, a 21-year old neighbor said he was doing all that he could to try to help the 4-year old. “Her mom was saying, “somebody, please, please, please get my baby out of the house”. “We were trying, but it was just too much smoke and fire. We couldn't do anything.” Smith said he and his cousins were trying to encourage little Janae’ to come to a window. “We could hear her moving around, but we couldn't see her,” said Smith.

Frances Montgomery, who lives next door to the burning home, said all she could hear was were "trees cracking and wires popping”. “It was just so sad knowing that the baby was still in the house,” she said.

Eubanks said while he knows that the fire started in the living room, at the time of this interview, he was not aware of the cause of the fire.

Also in the house were Monique Folk’s two other children Trell, who is physically disabled and Zorria. “Nia”, a cousin of the family was also in the home. Veverly said all of the fire victims were being tested for possible smoke injuries in a Columbia hospital.

According to Eubanks, the Denmark fire department was assisted by Olar, Govan and Bamberg fire departments.

Elderly woman found dead

Joyce M. Searson, Publisher

An elderly Bamberg woman was found dead late Thursday evening after being reported missing around 2 p.m. earlier in the day by family members.

Vernell Jeter, 91 years old, was found around 5 p.m. approximately 100 yards from her home on Cox Avenue in Bamberg.

According to Bamberg Police Assistant Chief Doug Kirby, “family members noticed her front door open around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night. What we're thinking is she got disoriented when she got to the fence and tried to cross it.”

Kirby said they did not suspect any foul play at the time.

Bamberg County Coroner Billy Duncan said he was looking at natural causes as probable cause of death.

Duncan said as of late Thursday, no autopsy will be performed.

Authorities responded to the call at Jeter’s residence around 2 p.m. Thursday and set up a perimeter for State Law Enforcement Division K-9 units to search for Jeter.

The Bamberg County Police Department, Bamberg County Rescue Squad members, Bamberg Fire Department and SLED K-9 units assisted in the search of the 300 block of Cox Avenue.

Concerned neighbors and friends watched as the search for Jeter ended in tragedy.

One of Jeter’s friends said, “She was my friend, we went to church together, she was a nice lady.”

Three arrested in Bamberg School District One burglary

Joyce M. Searson, Publisher

According to a Bamberg Police Department incident report, two men and one woman, all from Georgia, were arrested in the theft of over $10,000 in materials and equipment from the construction site at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School.

On December 20, contractors at the site noticed that tools, equipment and materials were missing and the police department was notified.

Patrick Alfred J. Lawrence of 503 Creek ridge Court, Woodstock, Ga., was charged with two counts of grand larceny, burglary second degree, burglary third degree and petit larceny. He is being held without bond at the Bamberg County Detention Center after being extradited from Georgia on Jan. 5.

Kelly Shay McCloud of 339 Jewel Drive., Statesboro, Ga., was charged with two counts of grand larceny, burglary second degree, burglary third degree and petit larceny. She is being held at the BCDC without bond.

Max Pace of 4816 Windsor Springs Road, Hephzibah, Ga., was charged with misprision of a felony. Pace, who was listed as a complainant in the incident, was arrested after evidence indicated he willfully and unlawfully failed to prevent a felon from being committed or brought to justice after the commission of a crime.

According to the incident report, a black Nissan truck, pictured on a security camera, was pulling an enclosed trailer and entered the construction site just after midnight on December 20. Both a man and a woman left the truck, entered the school building and a storage area and took the items. The man was Patrick Alfred J. Lawrence and was identified as having been terminated from working at the site several weeks earlier.

The Bamberg Police Department‘s Assistant Chief Doug Kirby is the investigating officer.

Red Raiders and Cougars

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

The Bamberg-Ehrhardt Red Raiders and the Edisto Cougars played round two of their “Highway 301” rivalry this season on the hardwoods Saturday night in front of a packed house in the BEHS Gym with the two teams coming way with a split decision. In the exciting first game of the evening, B-E freshman Lashaye Clark scored four of her team high 18 points including two free throws with 22 seconds left in overtime to lift the Lady Red Raiders to a 37-34 win over the Lady Cougars. Meronda Murdaugh’s lay-up with 34 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 28-28 sending the game into overtime and Alexis Toomer’s three-point play with 1:30 left in overtime gave the Lady Red Raiders a 33-30 lead they would not relinquish and their second win of the season over their “301 rivals” Lady Cougars. In the game that was hard-fought all the way by both teams, Edisto lead 13-6 after the first quarter and 17-12 at halftime. The Lady Cougars would maintain a slim 24-23 lead until 4:54 of the fourth quarter until Meronda Murdaugh’s put back put the Lady Red Raiders in front 25- 24. Leaders for BEHS offensively were: Lashaye Clark 18 points; Meronda Murdaugh 10; Alexis Toomer 4; Akayla Frazier 2 and Lakita Walker 2. In the evening’s finale the Class 2- A eighth ranked Edisto Cougars after leading 12-8 at the end of the first quarter would go on a 22-2 run to take a 34-10 lead at halftime. The Cougars would extend their lead to 53-11 at the end of the third in recording a 66-18 win over the Red Raiders. The Red Raider boys team was led offensively by: K.C. Crosby with 9 points; Akeem Bamberg 5; Terrell Kinard 2 and LaSamuel Davis 2.

The Confederates of AJA

Mike Hall

The Confederates of Andrew Jackson Academy and the Raiders of Jefferson Davis Academy renewed their old rivalry on the basketball court Friday night with the AJA girls and the JDA boys coming away with wins. In the varsity girls game AJA would come away with a 41-29 win. The AJA girls team (5-3,1-0) was led by Madeline Elkins with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 blocks in their region opener. Cassidy Hall added 9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals and Kasey Mixon also added 9 points for AJA. In the varsity boys game JDA would come away with a 33-28 win over AJA. Nelson Rentz had 14 points and Matthew Avant 8 points to lead the Confederates (3-6,0-1.)

On Tuesday, Jan 3 the AJA teams would split another doubleheader this one with Covenant Christian with the AJA girls team recording a 30-29 win over C.C. AJA was led by Madeline Elkins with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Cassidy Hall added 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals and Kasey Mixon had 5 points. In the boys’ game Covenant Christian would take a 58-30 win over AJA. Nelson Rentz had 10 points, Matthew Avant 9 points, and Jack Price 8 points.

In JV Girls action AJA (3-1) defeated Covenant Christian 32-17.

Leaders for AJA were Caitlin McCallister with 19 points, 14 steals. Emmy Hall added 4 points, 3 assists, 2 blocks. Kimberlin Grantham finished with 4 points, Gabby Sease 3 points and 7 rebounds and Emily McCallister with 2 points. Friday, Jan 6, the JDA JV Girls defeated AJA 24- 17. Leaders for AJA (3-2,0-1)were: Caitlin McCallister with 13 points and 8 steals. Gabby Sease and Emily McCallister each added 2 points. In B-Team Boys action JDA defeated AJA 29-17. Leaders for AJA (0-2) were: Austin Jones with 11 points, Chance Morris, Robert Ray, and Jason Toole finished with 2 points each.