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Trio faces charges after missing teen is found

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Three western Lincoln County residents are accused of hiding a recent runaway teen in the attic of a home where drugs were also present, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Detectives located Justin Scott Rathbone, 15, on Tuesday in the attic of a residence on Bess Chapel Church Road in Cherryville, according to an agency press release.
The teen’s family had reported him missing nearly a week earlier.
Deputies said a heavy marijuana odor filled the home where Rathbone had been hiding out and that they seized marijuana, drug paraphernalia and marijuana seeds during a search of the residence.
One of the residents, who came to the door to talk to deputies, denied having seen the teen, the release said.
Individuals charged in the incident included Emery Watts, 60, and Joshua Alan Gilbert, 18, both of 1256 Bess Chapel Church Road.
Watts faces one misdemeanor count each of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Gilbert faces one felony count of manufacturing a schedule VI controlled substance and one misdemeanor count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer.
Rebecca Kirkland Eaker, 46, of 1058 Bess Chapel Church Road, who had been visiting the residence Tuesday, was also charged in the incident. She faces one misdemeanor count each of contributing to the delinquency and neglect by a parent/other and resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer.
Each suspect has since been released from the county jail, Watts on a $500 secured bond, Gilbert on a $5,000 secured bond and Eaker on an $800 secured bond.
State law prohibits the hiding of a missing juvenile from law enforcement officers, Sheriff’s Det. Lt. Tim Johnson said in the release.

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