Press Releases


Sheriff's Office working Storm Damage

All available personnel with the Newton County Sheriff's Office are currently working storm damage that leads from the Parthenon area to Carver in a straight line. Damage to include trees down and structure damage.

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It is with a heavy heart that Sheriff Keith Slape announces the passing of Deputy Marshall Metzgar. Deputy Metzgar passed away on Friday December 2, 2016 following a heart attack. Deputy Metzgar was a Bailiff for the Newton County Sheriff’s office, but had previously held other positions with the department, including Chief Deputy.

                Deputy Metzgar had a long and decorated career in law enforcement prior to coming to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. Not only was he a Deputy and Bailiff in Boone County, but Metzgar had spent 31 years with the Border Patrol. He retired from that agency after having risen to the rank of Chief of the Southeastern Sector of the U.S., supervising agents in several states. He also worked for a period of time in Washington D.C. working directly with Congress and lawmakers on policy. Metzgar headed up the Border Patrol’s relief efforts following Hurricane Andrew after it devastated Florida. His actions, foresight and ability to make things happen earned him a personal visit and commendation from the Attorney General of the United States. Metzgar would laugh and recall “I thought I was in trouble when I sat down across the table from him.”After retiring,  Metzgar moved to Newton County in 1996.

                Sheriff Slape said “Marshall has been a pillar not only at the Sheriff’s Office, but in the community, for many years. He was always a professional and did everything he set out to do with dedication and enthusiasm. He always had a great sense of humor, a smile on his face and lifted the spirits of everyone he encountered. But, he was also all business when it came to doing his job. His experience, training and cool headedness made him an invaluable asset. I could always depend on him and sought and welcomed his advice. He was not just an employee, he was a friend and a trusted advisor.”

Slape continued “Law enforcement really is like one big family. This is especially true in a small agency like ours. We celebrate with one another and we hurt with one another. Marshall’s passing will leave a huge hole in the Sheriff’s Office family.”

Metzgar’s wife, Maggie, also works at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, heading up the Business Administration Division or, as Sheriff Slape says, “kind of the nerve center that keeps this place running.” Slape went on to say “the entire Sheriff’s Office mourns with Maggie and she and the family are in our prayers.”

Deputy Metzgar  was a member of the Mason’s Lodge in Jasper and attended The First Baptist Church of Jasper. He is survived by his wife, Maggie, two daughters, Kelly Malone and Jamie Wintraub and three grandchildren, Austin, Miranda and Sandra.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:00 P.M.




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            Chief Deputy Jarred Morgan said that the Newton County Sheriff’s Office received a call Monday evening concerning a Fayetteville man that had not been seen or heard from in a couple of days.

            Phil Davison, aged 33 did not show up for work in Harrison on Monday and had not called anyone to let them know he wouldn’t be there. Family and coworkers were unable to contact Davison by phone. Davison works in Harrison, but lives in Fayetteville. Fayetteville Police went to Davison’s house and found the door unlocked and no one home.

            Davison had told coworkers that he intended to go hiking near the Buffalo River this weekend to “get lost in the woods” but did not specify where on the river he planned to visit. Several agencies had put out bulletins to be on the lookout for Davison.

            Newton County Deputy Kyle Dunn began checking area trailheads and hiking destinations for Davison’s vehicle while Investigator Glenn Wheeler began following leads from Davison’s cell phone. Cell phone information indicated Davison was in east central Colorado. Investigator Wheeler began contacting hotels near the area who put the word out to be watching for Davison’s vehicle. One of the hotel employees later spotted a car fitting the description of Davison’s at a truck stop in neighboring Limon, Colorado. Investigators contacted the Lincoln County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office and a local officer was sent to try and make contact with Davison.

            Davison was located and appeared to be in good physical condition. He assured officers he was fine and would contact his family.



Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said the latest Newton County Deputy has graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy’s Springdale campus, completing the Basic Law Enforcement Officer course.

Deputy Chase Smith began his training on August 1st and completed it on October 28th, following more than 500 hours of education.

            Training subjects run the gamut from constitutional law to firearms training, driving, defensive tactics, state law, traffic law, accident investigation and much more.

            Sheriff Slape said “Chase is a good, young deputy with a good work ethic and a great knowledge of the county. He will be a good asset to our agency. His good performance at the academy only reinforces that.”



                  Sheriff Keith Slape, Deputy Matthew Smith, Chief Deputy Jarred Morgan

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Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said that two people his office had been looking for were taken into custody on Thursday evening.

            Sheriff Slape said Justin M. Vanderpool, 32 of Jasper and Sarah J. Anderson, 40 were arrested on outstanding warrants. Both were wanted for Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, 2 counts of Theft by Receiving (over $25,000), one count of Theft by Receiving ($1,000.00 or less) and Manufacturing a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.

            The charges stem from an investigation in September after an Investigator with the Sheriff’s Office and a Game Warden located marijuana growing beside a residence and in plain view of a county road. When deputies investigated they located stolen property. A search warrant was obtained that led to the recovery of numerous stolen items, firearms, drugs and explosives.

            Warrants for Vanderpool and Anderson were obtained and deputies had been looking for the couple since the warrants arrived. They were located in a trailer house south of Jasper and were arrested without incident.

            When the couple was taken into custody, deputies located a stolen ATV from an earlier theft case in Newton County. Deputies also found methamphetamine and paraphernalia.

            Both are being held in the Newton County Jail on the warrants with no bond, pending appearance before a judge. Further charges are pending on the stolen ATV and drugs.

            Sheriff Slape said “Good investigation and old-fashioned law enforcement work led to the capture of two people we have been looking for. I’m glad we were also able to recover more stolen property and get a few more drugs out of the community.”


Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape would like to let the citizens of Newton County know that he has been dealing with some health issues that will continue to be a factor in the upcoming weeks.

            “Recently, following some headaches and neck pain, a tumor was discovered in my neck that was on my spine. The tumor has been causing some issues that required me to visit a specialist in Little Rock. At this point, I am scheduled to have surgery in the very near future.” Slape said.

            “After the surgery, I will spend a few days in the hospital then will come home for the remainder of my recovery. Recovery time will take several weeks, but I will still be overseeing the operations of the Sheriff’s Office, just on light duty.” Slape continued.

            “The main thing I want to make clear is that the citizens of Newton County will not suffer in any way from this. I have a great team in place that can deal with the day to day business and are very capable of handling things in my absence. For bigger issues, the folks at the office will be able to contact me. I will also be checking in at the office and taking care of administrative issues from home, as needed.”

            “The doctor tells me they don’t yet know if the tumor is malignant or not and will not be able to determine that until they remove it. But, on the bright side, over eighty percent of these are benign. I would appreciate everyone’s prayers and understanding while we deal with this.”

            “I fully believe in transparency of my office as long as it doesn’t jeopardize any ongoing investigations or people’s privacy. I would rather let everyone know what is going on up front and squash any rumors that may come up.”


Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape asks motorist in the county to be aware of inmates working along the roads and public areas of Newton County. The Newton County Sheriff's Office participates in a program in conjunction with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department in which inmates are utilized to clean highway shoulders and ditches. The inmates are closely supervised by Newton County Sheriff's Office personnel.

Inmates bag the roadside litter and leave it along the road for Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department workers to pick up afterward. "Instead of sitting in jail and not being productive, this allows non-violent inmates to get out and do something worthwhile for the county." Sheriff Slape said.

In addition to working on highway cleanup, Newton County Sheriff's Office has used prisoners to clean up cemeteries throughout the county, help get the square and Bradley Park ready for the annual Buffalo River Elk Festival and clean up the fairgrounds for the fair.

Slape added "We don't want the citizens to be alarmed when they see a group of inmates along the roadways, and we encourage them to slow down, but not stop, when they encounter the warning signs. These inmates will always be supervised by our deputies."

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Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced thatWilliam Thomas Hammond, age 47, of Cleburne, Texas, was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison followed by ten (10) years of supervised release on one count of Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity. The sentencing hearing took place before the Honorable Chief Judge P. K. Holmes, III in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.
According to the plea agreement, in the Spring of 2015, Hammond began an online relationship with a 14-year-old minor female that included conversations of a sexual nature. In April of 2015, Hammond traveled from his residence in Cleburne, Texas to Harrison, Arkansas, rented a hotel room for several days, and engaged in sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old minor who he had picked up at her residence in Mt. Judea. On or about May 14, 2015, Hammond traveled from his residence in Cleburne, Texas to Mt. Judea, Arkansas where he picked up the minor and took her back to his residence in Texas. On or about May 17, 2015, Hammond was stopped by a Newton County Sheriff’s deputy and was found to be traveling with the minor. During an interview with the minor, she advised Hammond picked her up in Arkansas and took her to Texas and engaged in sexual intercourse with her on several occasions before bringing her back to Arkansas. Hammond was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 9, 2015 and pleaded guilty on May 11, 2016.
"The sentencing of Hammond is the result of strong collaboration with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and Project Safe Childhood,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Shepard with the FBI in Little Rock. “The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI along with our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring to justice those who prey on our children and rob them of their innocence.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Denis Dean prosecuted the case for the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their Criminal Division Child
Exploitation and Obscenity Sections (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


                                                 William Hammond


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Sheriff Keith Slape said on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 an Investigator with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and a Corporal with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were on patrol in the area of the community of Bass when they observed, from the road, what appeared to be large marijuana plants growing in plain view near a residence. The officers looked closer at the plants with binoculars and confirmed their suspicions.

            The officers attempted to make contact with the residents, but no one was home. They then more closely inspected the plants and found them to be large, healthy and well maintained plants with a water hose running to them. The plants had been hidden behind wooden pallets, but had grown too big for the pallets to conceal.

            Sitting along the county road in front of the residence was a large Gooseneck trailer that matched the description of one reported stolen to Newton County authorities in recent days. A check of the serial number confirmed it was the same trailer. Also located in plain view on the property was a stolen Kubota side by side UTV, two canoes, a John Deer Lawn Mower, and a large box blade. All these items had been stolen from the same victim. Also located in plain view were several other marijuana plants.

            A search warrant was obtained for the property. Officers located a gun that had been stolen from Pope County, several items of drug paraphernalia, some processed drugs, several other firearms, and some explosives.

            The Arkansas State Police Bomb Squad was contacted about the explosives.

            No arrests were made at the time of the search, but the Sheriff’s Office has known suspects and arrests are pending. Other items stolen from the victim were not located, but the Sheriff’s Office has information on who was helping the suspects move the property and more property is expected to be found soon.

            Sheriff Keith Slape said “It’s so frustrating for the good citizens of Newton County to have to put up with thieves taking the property they work so hard to get and care for. It’s always good when we can recover stolen property and bring thieves to justice.”



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Search Warrant Leads to Methamphetamine, Paraphernalia Seizure and Arrests

The Newton County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force served a search warrant at the Mark Mock residence, known locally as Mockingbird Hill, south of Jasper early Sunday morning.

                Sheriff Keith Slape said Deputies and Investigators executed the search warrant following an ongoing investigation and seized methamphetamine with a street value of between $17,000.00 and $20,000.00, some marijuana, a large quantity of drug paraphernalia, two vehicles and cash. Seizure paperwork will also be filed on the real estate property where an ongoing drug operation has been taking place.

                Arrested at the residence was Mark Allen Mock, aged 58 and Deborah Sue Vanderpool, aged 51. Various charges are pending further investigation, but will include Delivery of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver, Resisting Arrest and others.

                Newton County Sheriff’s Office, the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the U.S. Forest Service participated in the operation.

                Sheriff Slape stated “Methamphetamine is an ongoing problem in the community and is the root of many other crimes. Today we took a key player out of the game in Newton County.” Slape continued, “I am very proud of the hard work these officers have put into this investigation and other investigations that will be coming down the pike soon.”

                  Mark Mock                                 Debbie Vanderpool



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