Crime and Incident Releases

ps-patch-111x90pxThe Morganton Public Safety Department issues press releases to help keep local media and residents informed of crime and incidents in the City. Crime and incident releases are written and published by Public Safety platoon captains, and managed by the Public Information Officer.

View crime and incident information online at the Public Safety Police to Citizen (P2C) website.

          High winds and low humidity were major contributors to the rapid spread of a fire in a single family home on Friday afternoon.  The Morganton Department of Public Safety was dispatched to a structure fire at the corner of Vinearden Road and Jessie Drive on March 22, 2019 at 3:48 pm. Calls began coming in to the Burke County Communications Center at 3:47 pm and fire units were dispatched less than a minute later. The first units arrived on scene within two minutes to find heavy black smoke and flames pushing out of every door and window on the front of the structure. The smoke column could be seen from downtown according to several reports. Public Safety police and fire units combined to extinguish the fully involved structure. The fire had engulfed the rear of the house and was being pushed by the wind out the front and into the surrounding yard and wood line. A brush fire that was burning toward a neighboring house was quickly extinguished while crews put water from hoses on the fire in the house. Two nearby homes that were threatened by the fire were spared from damage by the quick actions of the firefighters.

            Initial reports were that the house may be occupied, but the four occupants of the home were quickly found to be out of town and accounted for. The house was a total loss but no loss of human life or injury occurred. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division as standard procedure but no indication of wrong-doing has been discovered or reported. Morganton Public Safety was assisted by Burke County EMS with an ambulance crew on hand to care for any injured victims or firefighters, but there were none. No mutual aid fire departments were called due to another large fire in the Triple Community Fire District requiring the aid of multiple departments and the NC Forest Service. Off duty officers from Morganton Public Safety were called in to assist with handling other police and fire calls within the city. Public Safety personnel rapidly extinguished another small outside fire near Burger King at the Plaza during this time as well, highlighting the hazardous conditions present Friday afternoon.

            With the coming of spring, the warming temperatures, low humidity and unstable weather conditions mark the beginning of wildfire and storm seasons. Strong, gusty winds will occur frequently and conditions can change very rapidly. The men and women of Morganton Public Safety want to encourage everyone enjoy the nice weather safely and to practice fire safety during camping and cook-outs. Plan for changing weather and be prepared to take shelter quickly in case of storms, including those that can generate lightning, tornadoes, falling trees and other hazardous conditions.

On 3/19/19 Kenneth Patrick Robinson was taken into custody following a traffic stop. This stemmed from a report of a stolen firearm from a residence in the City on 3/18/19. After Morganton Public Safety Officers on D platoon investigated this further it was found that Kenneth Robinson stole a Glock 23 (40 cal) pistol from the residence with several other items. During this traffic stop, information was gathered by officers which led them to another subject (juvenile) that was given the firearm to keep at his residence. Both Robinson and the juvenile (petition) were charged. 

Kenneth Robinson was charged with Breaking and Entering, Larceny of a Firearm, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Possession of Marijuana and Cyberstalking.

The juvenile was charged with possession the stolen firearm. 

In the early morning hours of 3-16-19 Nicholas Dalton Robinson (white male DOB 05-12-1994) went on a breaking and entering of motor vehicle spree in the neighborhoods of Dellwoods Heights, Conley Rd, and Foxfire Dr.  During this time he stole several items from vehicles that he broke into. While at 202 Dellwood Dr. Robinson stole a 2014 Silver Toyota Camry. At around 6:15 am Robinson went to Wal-Mart on West Fleming Drive and used a debit card that he had stolen from 213 Conley Rd to purchase several items.

Later on the same date the owner of the stolen Toyota Camry went to Wal-Mart where he spotted it in the parking lot with a white male asleep behind the wheel (Robinson). The owner called the police and officers responded to his location and took Robinson into custody, while he was still asleep.  When officers searched him the stolen debit card was found in his wallet.

 Officers immediately noticed that the aftermarket wheels on the Camry had been spray painted black while parked the the Wal-Mart parking lot. This was due to the fresh paint on the wheels and on the ground. Officers also noticed that Robinson had black paint on both of his hands. Once the officers saw the painted wheels they discovered that Robinson had started spray painting other parts of the vehicle. Several cans of black spray paint (purchased From Wal-Mart) were inside the vehicle. We believe Robinson was planning on spray painting the whole vehicle black. Officers located several other stolen items inside the vehicle from the other breaking and entering.  

Robinson was charged with the following charges

1 Felony count larceny of motor vehicle

1 Felony count possession of stolen vehicle

4 Felony counts of B& E to motor vehicle

4 Felony counts of possession of stolen property

2 misdemeanor counts of B& E to a motor vehicle

2 misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen goods

1 misdemeanor count of financial card fraud

1 misdemeanor count of damage to personal property

1 misdemeanor count of possessing of schedule IV


Robinson was placed in the Burke/Catawba jail under a $55,000.00 secured bond

All the vehicles that Robinson broke into were unlocked. So on behalf of the Morganton Department of Public Safety we remind you to please lock your doors and take valuables inside.   

On March 3, 2019 at approximately 7:50pm Officers with Morganton Public Safety responded to 118 Lenoir Road in reference to shots being fired into this residence. Upon arrival they spoke with Richard Hidalgo. Hidalgo, a female and a juvenile were present when they heard a loud noise and what they believed to be a firearm. A black passenger car and a white SUV were two vehicles in the area but it is not confirmed as to being associated with the incident. Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigations responded and located 5 bullet holes at the residence. Further investigation is pending regarding this incident.  

On March 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm, Investigator’s with Morganton Public Safety executed a search warrant on the residence of Kolon Johnson located at 401 Bouchelle Street.  After a brief investigation, Mr. Kolen Johnson was identified as a suspect in recent breaking and enterings.  It was learned that Johnson was in possession of items stolen from those reports.

Morganton SWAT Team assisted with the search warrant execution.  After a search of the residence, investigators were able to locate some of the stolen property from nearby thefts. 

Kolon Lewis Johnson, age 45, was arrested and served with a warrant for Felonious Larceny from a person. These charges stem from an incident where a female victim had her purse stolen from her lap at the Family Coin Laundry on North Green Street.  Johnson is being held in Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $10,000 secure bond. 

Additional warrants for felony breaking and enter, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods have been issued for larcenies and break-ins near Jonson’s residence.  These warrants are pending service at this time. 

Johnson has a court date set for March 4, 2019 at the Burke County Courthouse. 

On 02/15/2019 an investigation into a head on collision on Sanford Drive occurred. 

A dark colored SUV operated by Anndrel Royal was traveling SW on Sanford Drive. A Burke County F350 dually work truck operated by Jeffrey Cook was traveling NE on Sanford Drive. Witnesses stated that the dark colored SUV crossed over the double yellow lines into the travel lane of the F350 truck. This resulted in a head on collision with the vehicles. Both lanes of travel were blocked for a couple hours while officers investigated. 

The incident remains under investigation and further details will be released at a later time. 

     On 1/21/2019 Morganton Department of Public safety responded to 404 N. Green St. for a working structure fire.  Arriving units advised there was smoke coming from all windows and the eve of a house.  Fire fighters had the fire under control within 40 minutes.  The house was a complete loss.  Morganton Public Safety was assisted by Burke County REACT, Morganton Street Department, Morganton Electric and Burke County EMS.  At this time the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

  On Sunday January 13th at approximately 0900 Morganton Public Safety received a call of a possible structure fire at 304 Roper St. First arriving units reported heavy fire and smoke showing from the residence. Firefighters performed interior fire suppression tactics and extinguished the fire. All occupants and family dog were out of the structure upon arrival by fire personnel. No injuries to occupants or firefighters were reported.

  Firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes, but remained on the scene for around 2 hours. Morganton Public Safety responded with 16 personnel and 4 apparatus. American Red Cross responded to assist the occupants of the home with clothing and lodging. Morganton was also assisted by the city building inspector and city electric. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but is presumed to be unintentional at this time.


On September 29th and October 11, 2018, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to Dollar Tree on Morganton Heights Blvd.  It was reported on both days that an unknown male suspect had exposed himself to two different juvenile girls under the age of 16.

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On Tuesday, January 8, 2018, Morganton Public Safety was notified of a man lying face down on the ground under the bridge on North Green Street.  Officers responded to find thirty-year-old Casey Mack Miller of 111 Johnson Street Morganton, deceased. Investigators are working to retrace Miller’s activities leading up to his death. 


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 On Tuesday afternoon, Jamurary 08, 2019, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to a report of a man lying face down on the ground under the bridge on N. Green Street. Upon officer’s arrival they discovered a white male that was deceased. This incident is still under investigation, names will be released at a later date.


After a two month investigation into drug activity at 116 Edgewood Ave, Morganton Public Safety Narcotics Investigators charged three people with drug and weapon charges.


On January 3, 2019, Morganton Public Safety served a search warrant on the residence of James Jason Sparks located at 116 Edgewood Ave.  With the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation, the Burke County Narcotics Unit and the Morganton SWAT Team, Moganton Investigators seized over seven grams of methamphetamine, eleven dosage units of morphine, drug paraphernalia, a shotgun and cash. 


James Jason Sparks was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by felon and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance.  Sparks was also served with 5 unrelated outstanding warrants for failure to appear on a felony, obtaining property by false pretense and threatening phone calls. Sparks was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under $115,000 secured bond.  He has a pending court date of January 4, 2019 in Burke County District Court. 

sparks Jason James Sparks


Joshua Shane Steffey was also in the home and arrested for two unrelated outstanding warrants for failure to appear.  He was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond.

JoshuaSteffey  Joshua Shane Steffey


Jennifer Nichole Steffey was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia and released.


This investigation is still ongoing and may result in additional drug related charges. 


                The Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a reported structure fire at the Molded Fiberglass plant at 213 Reep Drive on Wednesday. The call was dispatched at 9:07 am on January 2, 2019 and was the first actual fire response for the city this year. Upon arrival, responding units were met with smoke and flames coming from the roof and around one of the ovens inside the plant. All employees had evacuated after trying initially to knock down the flames with a fire extinguisher. The sprinkler system activated when the fire blew out the top of an oven used to mold fiberglass vehicle parts and ignited dust and resin collected on the building’s structural beams above. The fire spread to the ceiling and through a wall to the roof quickly. Morganton Public Safety credited the quick alerting of the fire department and the evacuation of personnel by plant management for the fact that no one was injured and property damage was confined to one section of the roof and a vent system.

            Morganton fire units were on the scene for over two hours extinguishing the blaze and checking for fire extension. Burke County EMS responded to assist Morganton with any medical issues or injuries. The damage to the building was minimal and plant operations resumed as soon as the fire equipment and personnel were removed from the roof and oven room. Plant personnel told firefighters the oven and immediate area had just been thoroughly cleaned and maintenance performed over the holiday break from production operations. The cause was listed as unintentional.



On December 18, 2018 at approximately 10:10 p.m., Officers with Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to the area of 1519 S Sterling St in reference to Vincente Forney trespassing on the property. Forney was last seen walking towards the property of 1517 A S Sterling St, which was his mother’s apartment.  Forney had several felony and misdemeanor warrants for his arrest and was banned from the property. Officers had responded to the same area earlier in the evening for a report of a tall skinny black male with dark clothing that was flashing a handgun but were unable to locate that subject.  Officers knocked on the apartment door of 1517 A S Sterling St multiple times and announced they were the police with no response. Officers could hear people and movement inside the apartment but nobody would answer.  The Officers smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the apartment. Officers located a stolen vehicle near the residence in the area where Forney had been reported to be at the time of the call. Officers then secured a search warrant for the residence.  Officers served the search warrant on the residence and found Vincente Forney, Angela Hedrick, and Christopher Smith hiding in a back bedroom. Officers located a small amount of narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and the keys to the stolen vehicle in the bedroom where the subjects were hiding. A BB gun that looked like a real revolver was located in the living room. The stolen vehicle near the residence had multiple items belonging to Angela Hedrick inside of it.


Vincente Omar Forney DOB 03/31/1989 of 1517 A S Sterling St. Morganton, NC was served with three failure to appear warrants for Misdemeanor Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Felony Identify Theft, Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, and a criminal summons for Misdemeanor Second Degree Trespassing. Additional charges that were issued were Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Misdemeanor Second Degree Trespassing. He was transported to Burke Catawba Detention Facility where he was placed under a $46,000 secured bond with an initial court appearance of 12/19/2018.


Angela Dawn Hedrick DOB 12/13/1979 of 814 Pond Rd. Spruce Pine, NC was served with warrants for Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Felony Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  She was transported to Burke Catawba Detention Facility where she was placed under a $15,000 secured bond with an initial court appearance of 12/19/2018.


Christopher Allen Smith DOB 07/06/1975 of 307 Walker Rd. Morganton, NC was served with warrants for Felony Possession of Methamphetamine and Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  He was transported to Burke Catawba Detention Facility where he was placed under a $5,000 secured bond with an initial court appearance of 12/19/2018.


  The serenity of a quiet, rainy afternoon, along with a bedroom window, was shattered by a bullet on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Kevin Ross told public safety officers that he heard the shot and found the bullet in the bedroom of his house. He and his girlfriend were the only people in the house when the bullet crashed through the window. Several witnesses saw a black vehicle with tinted windows speed away from the area just after they heard a gunshot. Other witnesses told police who the shooter was and the area he may be going to. Public Safety received the first call at 3:55 pm. Public safety officers began an area search for the vehicle and located it at 118 Lenoir Road.

   Officers converged on the house and, after a brief discussion with the resident, obtained consent to search the house for the suspect. The suspect, Richard Hidalgo, was found by officers to be hiding in the house and was taken into custody without any further incident. Hidalgo already had a warrant for his arrest from Gaston County prior to this incident for an unrelated charge. The pistol used in the shooting was not initially found.

   Investigators obtained a search warrant and, along with patrol officers, searched the house again, this time to find the weapon used. The pistol was found after an extended search when Hidalgo finally told investigators where he hid it.  The shooting allegedly stemmed from a domestic dispute between Hidalgo and his ex-girlfriend on Rockyford Street. Hidalgo was not shooting at the Ross house, but rather at the car his ex-girlfriend was driving. The bullet missed the car, which contained two children, and struck the Ross house.

  No charges have been filed against the residents of 118 Lenoir Road at this time. Hidalgo was interviewed, charged and placed in the custody of the Burke Catawba Detention Center under a 50,000 dollar bond. No one was injured in the shooting incident and the investigation is ongoing.

   The Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a reported house fire on Powe Street Saturday evening. The call came in at 6:08 pm on November 3. 2018. Morganton Fire personnel arrived to find everyone out of the house as smoke billowed from the rear of the house. Lt. Rhodes said the fire began in the kitchen, caused by food left cooking on the stove top unattended. Firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the fire and ventilate the remaining heat and smoke from the rest of the house.There were no injuries, only moderate damage to the kitchen and minor heat and smoke damage to the rest of the house. The American Red Cross assisted the family with temporary living arrangements and clothing. Lt. Rhodes credited the quick notification by neighbors with allowing the firefighters to arrive in time to prevent catastrophic damage to the structure and possible loss of life or severe injury. Burke County Emergency Medical Service paramedics also responded to assist both the residents and the firefighters in case of injury. 

    October was National Fire Prevention Month and the Morganton Department of Public Safety takes this opportunity to urge everyone to stop and think before leaving food cooking if you need to step away, even for a short while. Do not use water to put out a grease fire and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least monthly. If your smoke detector uses batteries, change them at every time change for Daylight Savings Time. Since the beginning of November, Morganton Department of Public Safety has responded to four cooking related fire calls, including the one above. None of the other calls resulted in damage to the homes. 


On November 6, 2018 at 9:48 p.m., Officer’s responded to 204 Forest Hill St in reference to shots being fired at a residence. When the Officer made contact with the caller in the front yard, he advised that a subject was shooting at the house from an apartment beside his home.  As the officer was speaking with the caller he heard a shot coming from the adjacent apartments. Officer located a subject, later identified as Jacob Earl Cook age 31, in front of 201 Patton St Apt G.  Cook initially stated that he saw a subject run into the woods and pointed towards a wooded area.  Officers checked the edge of the wooded area indicated by Cook but noticed that there were no foot impressions or marks in that area.

he caller then advised the officer that the subject who was shooting at his residence was shooting from just inside the side doorway of the apartment that officers were currently at.  The caller’s residence had two holes shot through an exterior window along with three other holes into the siding near the window. A  bb/pellet rifle was located along with a container of BB’s inside the apartment.  Officer's placed Cook under arrest and transported to the Magistrate’s Office.  Cook was charged with two counts of N.C.G.S 14-34.1, Felonious Discharging certain barreled weapons or a firearm into occupied property, two counts of N.C.G.S 14-401.14, Misdemeanor Ethnic Intimidation, and two counts of N.C.G.S 14-160, Misdemeanor Damage to Personal Property.  Cook was given a $75,000 secure bond and has a court appearance on November 7, 2018.  Cook was transported to the Burke Catawba Detention Facility.


On 10/07/18 at 0351 hours Morganton Public Safety officers responded to an anonymous call behind Big Lots at Fiddler's Run Shopping Center. Officers discovered two males near the rear of the shopping center. Further investigation lead to the discovery of a broken lock on a cargo trailer that was being used for storage by Peak Performance Gym. The two subjects identified as Zachary Ross and Cameron Webb were found to be in possession of several items that had been taken from the trailer. Multiple items were recovered which had been partially hidden for apparent later pick up. Both subjects were charged with Felony Breaking and Entering, Felony Larceny after Breaking and Entering, Felony Possession of Stolen Goods as well as Safe Cracking. Ross was also served with a warrant for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. Officers recovered the motor vehicle which had been reported to Burke County Sheriff's Department. Ross was found to be in possession of a quantity of narcotics resulting in his being charged with Felony Possession of Schedule II, as well as misdemeanor possession of schedule IV controlled substances.

On the evening of 10/07/18 Officers responded to Interstate 40 at the request of crews working there in reference to having several of their vehicles having been broken into. Officers interviewed Ross and Webb and developed information that lead to subsequent arrest warrants on each. Ross was charged with two counts of Felony Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle. Webb was charged with two counts of Felony Aid and Abet Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle. Total bond amount for Ross was $40,000.00 with a court date of 10/08/18. Webb has first appearance of 10/08/18 and a total bond of $33,500.00.

Broughton Police Department assisted with the investigation and arrests.


On Tuesday October 2, 2018, Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to 120-G Morganton Heights Blvd. in reference to a larceny.  Upon arrival, units were advised of an older white male had open and stolen several packs of earbuds.  While officers entered the PVA of Wal-Mart, officers saw the vehicle that was attempting to leave.  Officers stopped the vehicle with Eric Wayne Whisenant, 55 of Melvin Propst Dr. Morganton in the passenger area of the vehicle.  Whisenant was charged with Larceny of property belonging to Wal-Mart, Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine and possession of Heroin.  Whisenant had a total of 45 grams of Methamphetamine.  Whisenant was given a $29,000.00 secure bond and a court date of 10/03/2018 at 09:00 in district court room #2 in Morganton.   The driver, Jesse Alan Clark of 5550 White Oaks Dr. Morganton was arrested for simple possession of marijuana by citation.  Clark had a total of 21 grams of marijuana.        



Over the past two months Morganton Public Safety Investigators have been investigating multiple business breaking and enterings.  Several of the businesses had the front door smashed and cash registers taken.  On September 26th, Friday Friends Restaurant was broken into and the suspect was caught on surveillance video. 

Investigators were able to identify, Mark Frances Hodsden, from the surveillance video of Friday Friends and other business break-ins with the help of the community and social media. 

Hodsden has been linked to at least 12 local business break-ins from June to September of this year.  Investigators are looking into an additional 16 similar break-ins to see if there is a connection.  Mark Hodsden was arrest on September 27, 2018 for one count of breaking and entering to a building.  He is currently in the Burke/Catawba Detention Facility under a $5000.00 secured bond.




Morganton Public Safety SWAT Team raided a third residence in one week.  After an ongoing drug complaint investigation, Morganton Public Safety served a search warrant on the home of Aaron Terrell Oneil.


The SWAT Team and Investigators raided the residence located at 112 Brackett Street, at around 8:00 am this morning.  Investigators located illegal narcotics at the residence which led to the charging of Aaron Oneil.  Oneil was charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance, and drug paraphernalia. 


Oneil was released on a $5,000 secured bond with a court date set for September 12, 2018. 



Morganton Public Safety SWAT Team raid second Morganton residence in two days.  After an ongoing drug complaint investigation, Morganton Public Safety served a search warrant on the home of Diamond Sharell Lipscomb and Kaila Leigh Hubbs. 


The SWAT Team raided the residence located at 202 State Road Apartment H, at around 8:00 am this morning.  Investigators located illegal narcotics at the residence and charged Lipscomb and Hubbs.  Lipscomb, who was currently on probation and wearing an ankle monitor, was charged with felony possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, one count of maintaining a dwelling for the sale of controlled substance and one count of probation violation. 


At the time of the arrest, Lipscomb was on supervised probation for prior drug offenses and was wearing an ankle monitor as a condition of that probation.  Lipscomb has been arrested more than 20 times over the past three years with charges relating to the possession, sale and trafficking of narcotics, domestic violence, resisting arrest, larceny, fraud and probation violations. 


Lipscomb was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under an $80,000 secured bond.  His court date is set for September 10th, 2018, at the Burke County Courthouse. 


Kaila Leigh Hubbs was charged with felony possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of controlled substance.  She was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $50,000 secured bond with a court date set for September 10th, 2018. 


On August 31, 2018 at 0153 hrs, officers with the Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to an attempted armed robbery at the Cash Points ATM machine at 705 W Fleming Dr. The victim, advised two black males approached him as he was depositing cash into the atm machine. A brief struggle ensued with one of the males. The other male produced a knife and attempted to cut the victim. The victim was able to fight off the suspects and they fled. The victim was not injured in the incident.

The suspects ran from the scene prior to law enforcements arrival. A canvas of the area was conducted but the suspects were not located. This incident is under further investigation. If anyone has any information please contact the Morganton Department of Public Safety at 828-437-1211 or call Crimestoppers at 828-437-3333.


On August 6, 2018, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to the Dollar General Store located at 1324 Burkemont Avenue in reference to an alarm.  When officers arrived, they saw the front window of the business broken in with store items scattered on the floor.


Surveillance video showed a black male enters the store immediately after the window was broken and steal multiple items.  The suspect was described as an older, skinny, bald, black, male with no facial hair.  He was wearing a black shirt, camouflage shorts with black and white tennis shoes. 


A store employee was able to determine, the suspect had taken a large amount of cigarettes from behind the counter and rummaged through filing cabinets. 


It was later found the suspect had been in the store earlier in the day during business hours. 


Investigators were able to identify the suspect as 56 year old, Douglas Edward Staley of 101 Gerald Road Morganton, NC.  Staley was arrest on August and served with warrants for Felony Breaking and Entering and Felony Larceny after Breaking and Entering. 


Staley was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond.  His next court date is August 13, 2018, in Burke County District Court. 


Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to check the welfare of a woman at an address on Patton Street 08/01/2018-at 131am.  Family of the woman contacted public safety, concerned about (not) hearing from the woman for several days and believed (she) was being held against her will.

When officers arrived at the address, interior lights were on and people could be seen moving around inside.  Officers knocked and announced several times, but no one would come to the door. 

A perimeter around the residence was established as officers attempted to gather more information and formulate a plan.

A few minutes later, officers heard screams for help coming from the residence.  Officers forced entry into the home based on exigent circumstances and searched the main floor.  On the second floor of the residence, officers discovered an adult female with apparent injuries, a juvenile child and two other adults.

The suspect, Donald Silvester Cunningham, Jr. DOB 08/15/1986 of 104 Patton Street, was found in the basement, hiding behind a shelf.

Interviews confirmed that the victim was being held against her will and is known to the suspect.  The relationship status is not being disclosed.

The victim was transported to CHS Morganton for treatment.

Cunningham is charged with the following offenses:

-Felony Assault by Strangulation

-Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury

-Felony Kidnapping

-Felony Assault Inflicting Serious Injury

-Misdemeanor Assault Inflicting Serious Injury with a Juvenile Present

-Misdemeanor Resist, Obstruct and Delay Public Officer

Cunningham is being held in Burke Catawba DCF with no bond and has an initial court appearance on 08/01/2018 where a District Court Judge will set his bond.