A Whitfield County grand jury recently returned numerous indictments, including for hit and run resulting in a death, second-degree vehicular homicide, sexual exploitation of children, child molestation and the armed robbery of Dixie's Food Mart.
Among those indicted were:
• Nathan Joe Call, 32, of Dalton, currently in the county jail, for two counts of felony hit and run, felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor tampering with evidence.
• April Marie Horn, 37, of Tunnel Hill, currently in the county jail, for two counts of felony hit and run, felony tampering with evidence and misdemeanor tampering with evidence.
• Eric Shane Moore, 33, of Chatsworth, currently in the county jail, for two counts of felony hit and run, felony tampering with evidence, misdemeanor tampering with evidence and driving while license suspended.
Their charges stem from an incident in Whitfield County in November that left a Calhoun man dead.
According to a Georgia State Patrol incident report, on Nov. 10 a trooper was sent to the intersection of the Dalton Bypass and Maddox Chapel Road on a report of a pedestrian being struck at about 1:20 a.m. The trooper determined the crash involved a single vehicle that left the scene, a Buick sedan with the chrome grille left at the scene. It was traveling north on the bypass. The report said that on Nov. 13 the state patrol "located the suspected vehicle and driver in Murray County."
The report said Moore "confessed to being the driver and fleeing the scene. It was discovered that Mr. Moore was also accompanied by a passenger, who was identified as Mr. Nathan Call. A check for Mr. Moore's driver's license indicated that he had a suspended driver's license. The vehicle was a green Buick Century with heavy damage to the front of the vehicle. The damage to the vehicle matched the injuries to Mr. (Emory) Ware and the evidence left at the scene. The driver had attempted to fix some of the damage on the vehicle."
• Kenneth James Blevins, 34, of Harrison, Tennessee, for second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to obey a traffic control device.
The charges stem from a September wreck that resulted in the death of a Dalton man who was riding a motorcycle. Thomas Brown, 72, died in the three-vehicle wreck at the intersection of Walnut Avenue and V.D. Parrott Parkway on Sept. 11.
According to police shortly after the wreck, a silver GMC Sonoma pickup truck was traveling north on V.D. Parrott Parkway, apparently attempting to turn west onto Walnut Avenue at the same time that a white Kia passenger car driven by Blevins was traveling east on Walnut Avenue.
"Those two vehicles collided in the intersection, and the impact sent the Kia into a motorcycle that was in the westbound lanes of Walnut Avenue," police said.
• Paul Edward Watkins, 49, of Dalton, currently in the county jail, for eight counts of sexual exploitation of children.
Watkins was arrested by the Dalton Police Department in October.
According to the indictments, Watkins possessed materials "depicting" minors "engaged in sexually explicit conduct ..."
• Thomas Justin Wooten, 37, of Trenton, currently in the county jail, for three counts of felony child molestation, three counts of felony enticing a child for indecent purposes and misdemeanor public indecency.
Wooten is a registered sex offender in Dade County, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said in a press release at the time of Wooten's arrest in December, and was out of jail on bond for indecent exposure in Chattanooga.
Chitwood said the sheriff's office started an investigation on Nov. 15 concerning a white male exposing himself to young children in the Cavender Road area. A witness said the man was driving a black Chevrolet Z71 truck.
The sheriff's office learned that the Calhoun Police Department was investigating multiple incidents of a white male exposing himself to young children. That suspect's vehicle was also described as a black Chevrolet Z71 truck.
The sheriff's office also learned that on March 28, 2018, a Thomas J. Wooten was the subject of an investigation in Chattanooga. He went to Caruthers Park there and exposed himself to a young child and then attempted to "lure the child into his vehicle, using toys," Chitwood said.
Wooten was driving a black Chevrolet Z71 truck on that day, Chitwood said. He was charged by the Chattanooga Police Department with indecent exposure.
"Chattanooga Police Department has other incidents involving Wooten committing similar crimes," Chitwood said.
Investigators were able to identify Wooten's vehicle at his work. It was described as a 2009 black Chevrolet Z71 truck.
"Wooten's vehicle description along with other identifiers such as stickers matched the vehicle description used in committing the crimes in Whitfield County and Calhoun," Chitwood said.
Cell site data also placed Wooten at the scene of the crimes in Whitfield County and Calhoun, the sheriff said.
• Christopher Diaz, 25, of Dalton, currently in the county jail.
• Rogelio Martinez, 26, of Dalton, currently in the county jail.
• Jesus Antonio Nava, 39, of Dalton, currently in the county jail.
• Ediovardo Quintero, 23, of Dalton, currently in the county jail.
They are each charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony involving another person for the robbery of Dixie's Food Mart at 2101 S. Dixie Highway on Nov. 29. The owner of the store said $25,000 in cash was taken.
Whitfield County Sheriff's Office Capt. Paul Woods said at the time that the gun was a revolver (handgun), and "Diaz was the one brandishing the handgun in the store."
Chitwood said in a press release that "based on eyewitnesses' statements and information obtained at the scene, it was determined that four people were involved in the armed robbery." He said three entered the store and the other "acted as a lookout, driving a separate vehicle."
Chitwood said Nava planned the robbery and "recruited" Diaz, who brought in Martinez and Quintero.
Chitwood said Nava "was familiar with the layout of the store and the security system. Nava had recently installed some security equipment ... and during the robbery, all of the security equipment was taken from the store by the suspects."