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Marietta employees sentenced for Section 8 fraud

Marietta employees sentenced for Section 8 fraud

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Two former City of Marietta employees are among four people charged with stealing from the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The program, also known as Section 8, helps low-income families pay their rent. Shantel Bowens and Debbie Bailey worked for Marietta's Housing Choice Voucher Program, which oversees local tenant and landlord participation.

Bowens and Bailey pleaded guilty in July and May, respectively, to conspiring with two landlords to steal money from the program.

According to federal prosecutors, Bowens, 43, of Atlanta, reactivated the closed accounts of former Section 8 tenants. She then altered computer records to link the tenants to two co-defendants, landlords Babatunde "Babs" Abass and Tunji "Chris" Imoukhuede.

Records show repeated DFCS calls before Heaven Woods' death

Records show repeated DFCS calls before Heaven Woods' death

ATLANTA -- Records show the Division of Family and Children Services received at least nine calls before Heaven Woods' death, each expressing concern for Woods or other children in the household. One of those calls came just three weeks before the five-year-old died; the case was still open at the time of her death.

According to a case file obtained by 11Alive News, DFCS was first called to the home in March of 2009, when Woods was less than a year old. The most recent call was May 1, 2014.

Woman charged in fatal wreck

Woman charged in fatal wreck

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. -- An Adairsville woman faces a number of charges in a crash that killed one person Sunday night.

Michele Blum, 47, has been charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, injury by vehicle, driving on the wrong side of the road and driving without headlights.

The Georgia State Patrol said the wreck happened on Highway 140 near the Bartow-Floyd county line.

Blum's 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 slammed head-on into a Mercedes-Benz E350, killing 55-year-old Nim Bernal Russell of Adairsville.

The GSP said Blum and two others -- one passenger in each vehicle -- were injured and taken to Floyd Medical Center. Blum is still in the hospital Monday afternoon.

Burglary suspects' car gets stuck in mud

Burglary suspects' car gets stuck in mud


BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. -- Three people were arrested after getting their car stuck in mud outside the scrap yard they are accused of burglarizing.

The suspects' car was found abandoned at the entrance to Martin's Auto Salvage on Highway 411 near the Bartow/Floyd county line on Feb. 19.

Bartow County Sheriff's Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said investigators determined parts had been taken from several cars inside the scrap yard.

Evidence gathered from the abandoned car and at the crime scene pointed sheriff's officials to three suspects -- 30-year-old Ronald Keith Angel, 22-year-old Lagrissa Marlene Miller and 28-year-old Joshua Wayne Watson.

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Drug traffickers sentenced to federal prison

Drug traffickers sentenced to federal prison

ROSSVILLE, Ga. -- Two Florida men accused of providing Oxycodone to a northwest Georgia-based drug ring have been sentenced to federal prison.

Gerald Young, 69, will spend 10 years and one month in prison and three years on supervised release. Rodney Strachan, 68, was sentenced to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Federal prosecutors said the two defendants were part of a 13-person conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and other drugs in Rossville and other parts of north and northwest Georgia.

Young and Strachan stockpiled pills in their home state for John Gregory Alvarez, the leader of the drug ring, who made monthly trips to Florida to retrieve the painkillers, according to information presented in court.

Ga. couple sentenced in death of 2-year-old girl

Ga. couple sentenced in death of 2-year-old girl

ROME, Ga. -- A man and woman convicted of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl have been sentenced to life in prison.

Floyd County Superior Court Judge Tami Colston sentenced 28-year-old Eric Castro and 22-year-old Brittany Parker Thursday in the death of Parker's daughter, Kailee Marie Parker. 

The Rome News-Tribune reports Parker was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and Castro is ordered to serve life without parole plus 20 years. Castro was convicted on charges of murder, child cruelty, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and child cruelty. Parker was convicted on charges of murder and child cruelty.

Authorities say Parker left the girl with Castro while she was at an appointment and her head was slammed against a hard, flat surface at least five times.

9 business owners arrested in gambling sting

9 business owners arrested in gambling sting

ROME, Ga. -- Authorities in northwest Georgia say the ninth man wanted in an illegal gambling sting has surrendered to police.

Officials say Naveed Bhamani is charged with commercial gambling, gambling, possession and keeping of a gambling device. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

Eight others were arrested early Tuesday in connection with a bust last week and have also been charged with violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations regulations.

The business owners ran gambling operations in back rooms and used cables to connect machines to a device monitored by the store clerk, who would print out vouchers with cash redemption value.

Bond was set for the nine men at $25,000 each.