The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has charged two employees of a children’s home with forcing a special needs person to give them signed, blank checks, and using credit cards belonging to the home’s owner to buy clothes, jewelry and other items.
Police in Clay City arrested the two after they were entered into the National Crime Information Computer system.
Ashley Renee Holcomb, 34, of Linefork, a housekeeper at the Sonshine Children’s Center, and William G. Dixon Jr., 35, of Cowan, a groundskeeper, are facing multiple charges of theft, robbery and elder exploitation.
Capt. Barry Engle said Mary Bennett, 76, of Linefork, who has run the foster home at Linefork for nearly 30 years and has fostered more than 100 children, called the sheriff ’s department June 11 to report that Holcomb and Dixon had obtained several checks, forged them, and cashed them at stores in and around Whitesburg. The couple had also made unauthorized purchases at Frazier’s Farmers Supply, obtained a MoneyGram, and made purchases of jewelry, clothing, makeup and other items when they were supposed to be shopping for the home.
Engle said it appeared the two used threats and coercion to force Bennett’s 18-year-old daughter Elizabeth to sign the checks. They were entrusted with the credit card to make grocery and household purchases for the home, Engle said, and made other purchases without permission. He said credit card bills are still coming in, so the total of the purchases is unknown. He said the total stolen could amount to nearly $10,000.
“I’ve made a lot of arrests and put a lot of people in jail in my career, but these are some of the most satisfying,” Engle said.
Engle said the two were entered in the NCIC Wanted Persons Database on June 12, and were caught in Clay City on June 20. They have now been returned to the Letcher County Jail charged with second-degree robbery, theft, firstdegree forgery, possession of a forged instrument, elder exploitation and identity theft. The two are being held in the Letcher County Jail on bonds of $25,000 each and home incarceration.