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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Mother charged with neglect in Carter County

May 9th, 2013 4:32 pm by John Thompson

Mother charged with neglect in Carter County

ELIZABETHTON — A Carter County woman has been arrested by the Carter County Sheriff's Department on charges she has failed to supervise and control her teenage son.

Virginia Putnam Benfield, 45, 149 Roan St., was arrested by Lt. Mike Little on a charge of child neglect. She is scheduled to answer the charge in Sessions Court on June 24.

In the arrest warrant, Little said Benfield was the mother and sole guardian of the teen. He said since 2010 the boy "has been arrested on numerous occasions. Due to her juvenile son's numerous arrests, Benfield has been repeatedly warned by CCSD officers and investigators that she must closely supervise him in order to prevent such incidents."

Little said Benfield has been charged in Carter County on June 9, 2010 with child neglect; on Nov. 10, 2010 with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and on Aug. 26, 2011 with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The latest arrest stems from the arrest of her son on May 4 after he was found driving a GMC 3500 work truck reported stolen out of Spruce Pine, N.C. The truck was spotted on Tenn. Highway 143 in Roan Mountain on Saturday by Sgt. Derrick Hamm of the sheriff's department.

In addition to the report on the truck being stolen, deputies had been on the look out for the truck because of the operator of the truck attempting to sell a generator and welder that were in the rear of the truck.

Hamm and Deputy Myles Cook stopped the truck. Hamm said the juvenile was driving and Tyler Natahaniel Cook, 19, Elk Park, N.C., was in the passenger seat. Both were charged with possession of stolen property over $1,000.

Little said it was believed the juvenile had stolen the truck in North Carolina and that he may have been involved in two other residential burglaries in Avery County, N.C. in recent weeks due to items discovered in the youth's possession during the time of his arrest. The Avery County Sheriff's Department is investigating those incidents.

Little said the boy is also suspected in a vandalism and attempted burglary of Buck Mountain Baptist Church. The front door had been kicked in and sustained about $200 in damage in that incident.

While the deputies were making the arrest, Hamm said local tire store proprietor Kenny Johnson came by and attempted to sell a Lincoln welder and generator to him for $100. Johnson said he bought the items from the pair for $40. Hamm said the welder and generator were recovered from Johnson and placed back in the rear of the stolen truck.

The juvenile will answer the charges against him in Juvenile Court. Cook had an initial appearance in Sessions Court on Wednesday and was instructed to be back on July 9 with an attorney.

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