BCI Agents Search Sheriff’s Office And Home

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State agents executed several search warrants in the Athens area Friday evening, including at the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the home of Sheriff Patrick Kelly

William F. Schenck, assistant attorney general and senior adviser to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, said the searches were related to the grand jury investigation that was initiated this week in Athens by the attorney general's office.

Schenck would not be specific, but said the searchers were looking for records, documents, computers and digital media "relating to the allegations that have been brought."

It is not known what, if anything, was seized during the searches.

According to Schenck the search warrants were based on affidavits submitted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the warrants were signed by Athens County Juvenile-Probate Court Judge Robert Stewart.

According to County Commissioner Charlie Adkins, Kelly arrived at the sheriff's office after the search began there and went inside the building. Kelly could not immediately be reached for comment by The Messenger.

A BCI Crime Scene Unit van was parked outside the sheriff's office in downtown Athens, and crime scene tape was used to keep passersby away from the area. An Athens police officer was stationed inside the perimeter.

Adkins said he observed BCI personnel taking suitcases, possibly containing equipment, into the sheriff's office building.

Additional BCI Crime Scene Units were at the sheriff's house and at the Department of Job and Family Services building on North Lancaster Street, where the sheriff's office and other county departments store records.

Adkins said he was told that a building at the Athens County Fairgrounds also was searched. The building is used by the sheriff's office.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn has said he believes records belonging to his office were taken from the fairgrounds building and disposed of at a landfill by the sheriff's office, which Kelly disputes.