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Newton County fugitives caught in Florida

COVINGTON — The two fugitives who had multiple police agencies beating the bushes for them in the woods of Newton County last week are now in a Florida jail.

The Newton County Sheriff’s Office announced they had received word Sunday that Donald Mac Brown, 36, of 1275 Robin Road, Conyers and David Wesley Crawford, 57, who has no known address, were arrested by the Alachua Police Department after committing crimes there.

According to NCSO Public Information Office Courtney Morrison, Georgia authorities are not seeking to extradite immediately.

“They will have to answer to the charges in Florida and we anticipate they will go through the entire court process,” Morrison said. “We can’t really say a time frame. Once they deal with those charges down there, we can get the extradition process started.”

The Alachua Police Department told investigators with the NCSO that Crawford called 911 and stated he wanted to turn himself in on outstanding warrants. When officers arrived to pick him up, he had a .357 handgun in his waistband; however, he was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with a concealed weapon violation.

About 10 minutes later, another 911 call came in from a woman saying she was the victim of an attempted carjacking.

When officers got to her, she told them a man pointed a gun at her, struck her in the face and demanded that she drive. She drove a short distance before the man exited the car.

Officers searched the area and found a man matching the woman’s description. When they approached him, he took off running. After a short foot chase, the man was arrested and later identified as Brown. He had three firearms in his possession — a .38-caliber revolver, a .45-caliber handgun and a .22-caliber long rifle.

He faces Florida charges of armed burglary, kidnapping, aggravated battery and resisting arrest.

Morrison said the female victim was not seriously injured and no law enforcement officers were hurt during the arrests.

“We are so thankful that this ended without anyone getting seriously hurt,” she said. “Our information about them was correct. They were definitely armed.”

The U.S. Marshal’s Southeastern Regional Fugitive Task Force had joined the NCSO and the Conyers Police Department in searching for the pair both in the air and on the ground. Both agencies have outstanding warrants against Brown and Crawford.

Brown is wanted by the CPD on charges of sexual exploitation of children after pornographic images of children were found on his cell phone.

According to CPD Sgt. Chris Moon, Brown’s home was searched Nov. 28 as part of an investigation into Internet child pornography by officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

“During the course of the investigation (by ICE), it was learned that not only was he in possession of child pornography, but there was a case in Newton County in which he was molesting a 5-year-old child,” Moon said.

At the time of the ICE search of Brown’s residence, special agents reportedly learned from other residents of the house that Brown, who lived in the basement, had allegedly sent text messages to another resident in the house soliciting sex for $300.

Brown was arrested on a charge of solicitation of sodomy, a misdemeanor, and taken to the Rockdale County Jail. He was released three days later.

According to a report by the CPD, special agents seized Brown’s phone and reportedly discovered it contained numerous images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Two of the images found in the search of Brown’s home were of a 5-year-old Newton County victim, Moon said, adding that others were what appeared to be images he downloaded from the Internet.

When the photos were found, the NCSO was notified of a possible molestation incident the latter part of November on Lower River Road involving the 5-year-old child. Morrison said their investigation led them to take warrants out for both Brown and Crawford on charges of child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and solicitation of sodomy.

Rockdale Citizen Editor Alice Queen contributed to this story.