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HCPD ends fugitive’s
15-year run

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent
 

  A man wanted in Colorado since 1999 was found and apprehended in McDonough recently thanks to the cooperation of the Henry County Police Department and the FBI.

  HCPD Chief Keith Nichols recognized four of his officers at a Board of Commissioners meeting two weeks ago by reading a commendation letter from the FBI regarding the case.

  Nichols said Friday that the suspect, Torrance Johnson, had been sought for violating his parole in Colorado after going to prison for committing some forgeries. He did not know whether Johnson had been living in Georgia the entire time but the FBI learned of his whereabouts and notified the HCPD’s C.A.G.E. (Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement) Unit.

  “This guy was supposedly dangerous and had done some other stuff according to his dossier,” said Nichols. “Obviously, being a fugitive from justice, he was an escape risk and a flight risk. He’s not Al Capone, but he could have been.”

  Some preliminary research led local officers to begin surveillance on the house in McDonough where Johnson was believed to be living, and through that work and the use of photographs they confirmed that they had found their man.

  “The guys did a good job,” said Nichols. “They did some research and made sure we didn’t snatch the wrong individual. Using pictures the FBI provided them, they were able to see that this was the same guy.”

  When they finally went to the house to ask for consent to search, Johnson gave them a fake name and they smelled marijuana. Using a special fingerprint reader, they were able to confirm right then and there that it was indeed Johnson, and after getting a search warrant they found marijuana. Johnson was arrested Feb. 4 on drug charges as well as the parole violation.

  Officials from Colorado extradited Johnson and took him back, Nichols said.

  While the length of his stay in Georgia is still uncertain, Johnson had a Georgia driver’s license which may or may not have had his real name and date of birth. He probably obtained the license before more stringent ID requirements were implemented in the past few years, the chief added.

  Johnson also had a wife who was not present at the time of the arrest but showed up at the house some time later. Nichols said his department was not aware of whether she knew of Johnson’s criminal past or true identity.

  Sergeant Dan Blythe and officers Erin Combs, Nick Jackson and John Gleason were all mentioned in a letter sent by Agent Ricky Maxwell with the Atlanta Division of the FBI, thanking them for their assistance in helping to locate and arrest Johnson.

  The letter read in part, “All of the officers should be commended for the immediate assistance they provided which directly led to the arrest of a fugitive on the lam for more than 15 years. We thank you for the professionalism and hard work displayed by your department. Sergeant Dan Blythe, officers Erin Combs, Nick Jackson and John Gleason’s outstanding and exemplary actions in this matter reflect great credit upon themselves and the Henry County Police Department.”

  Nichols said at the BOC meeting that he wanted to publicly recognize the officers involved for their outstanding police work.

  “I’m very proud of these guys and what they do. They do an excellent job keeping our community safe,” said Nichols. “I wanted to share with you and the county what an exceptional job they do each and every day.”

 

 

©Henry County Times, Inc.