MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Tennessee man is sitting in the Madison County Jail following an investigation spanning years and crossing state lines.
The Owens Crossroads Police Department (OCPD) says the arrest was “a long time in the making” on Thursday.
It began with Brittany Story, an Owens Crossroads resident. Her husband, Sergeant Justin Story, had served six years in the United States Army with two tours in Iraq and Kuwait.
Like many veterans, Sgt. Story suffered from a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after coming home. In May of 2020, he took his own life.
Brittany Story wanted a fresh start for her and their kids. She had plans to build a farmhouse with plenty of land for her kids to grow up. She used the money she was given from her husband’s military life insurance to hire a contractor out of Middle Tennessee to start building their dream home.
That contractor was named as Walt Vernon O’Dare.
Reportedly, O’Dare took $87,560 from Story after they discussed plans for the house and what she wanted it to look like. He left that day and never built the house. He also never returned Story’s money, authorities said.
OCPD’s Detective Jason white took the case and followed up on some information. What he found was Story wasn’t the only one making these claims against O’Dare. After Detective White interviewed several people, a felony arrest warrant for first-degree theft was obtained for O’Dare in March of 2021.
That warrant was then entered into the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) system and listed as a nationwide extradition. OCPD said it basically means: “You find him, we will come get him!”
It wasn’t until later in 2021 that O’Dare was arrested in Tennessee on similar charges, but he was released shortly after due to COVID-19 issues. Authorities say he was “difficult to locate” after that arrest.
On Wednesday, Detective White made an announcement, saying O’Dare’s had been arrested in Tennessee and was being extradited to Alabama to face charges in Madison County.
“Thanks to members of the Anderson County, Grainger County and Knox County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Offices, O’Dare was arrested again in Tennessee,” White declared. “We would especially like to thank Sheriff James Harville of the Grainger County Sheriff’s Office who handled the transfer of O’Dare into our custody today by personally authorizing one of his deputies to meet myself and [OCPD] Chief Dobbins halfway in Chattanooga.”
The OCPD says that as soon as they arrived back in Madison County, 37-year-old O’Dare was booked into the Madison County Jail.
His bond has been set by the courts as a cash-only $150,000 bond.