Police dog convinces man wanted on child-sex charges in Elizabethton to surrender

John Thompson • Aug 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A man who was wanted on a sex charge involving a child was apprehended over the weekend with the help of a police dog.

The Elizabethon Police Department was preparing to arrest Clarence Mack Oaks, 37, 737 Sugar Hollow Road, after a Carter County grand jury had indicted him on a charge of aggravated sexual battery with a child under 13. The grand jury had found sufficient evidence that Oaks had engaged “in unlawful sexual contact” with a 7-year-old girl on March 8.

Following the grand jury’s action, the police department prepared to take Oaks into custody. Their effort was made more difficult, as Officer Sarah Ellison said, because “Oaks has a history of evading arrest.” At 2 a.m. Sunday, officers gathered at 922D Pine Ridge Circle, where Oaks was believed to be. In addition to the grand jury presentment, the officers were also prepared to serve him with charges of violation of probation and criminal trespassing. Oaks was also on the “no trespassing” list at the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency.

Because the officers believed Oaks might try to flee, they had all entrances and exits covered, including Ellison and her police dog, Kero, covering the back door. She said Officers John Bulla and Trevor Salyer went to the front door and made contact with the residents. The officers said they could hear people moving abruptly on the second floor and asked them to come down. After questioning, it was learned Oaks was on the second floor.

Ellison and Kero entered the apartment and an announcement was made that Oaks needed to surrender. When there was no answer, Ellison and Kero went upstairs and began to search the rooms.

Ellison said Kero gave a response that someone was hiding in a closet in the master bedroom. After giving a warning to surrender and getting no response, Ellison opened the closet door, holding Kero back. She said she could see Oaks hiding inside the closet, “curled into a semi-fetal position. He was sitting on a box of clothing and the clothing hanging above was being used to conceal him.” Ellison said she could see parts of the person hiding in the closet, but not his hands.

After another order to show his hands and surrender was met with silence, Ellison told him Kero would be used to capture the hiding man.

Ellison then gave the command to Kero to neutralize the threat. Kero bit into Oaks’ arm and dragged him from the closet. After this, Ellison said Oaks began to comply with her orders and she gave Kero the command to release. Oaks was taken into custody with no further problems.

The Carter County Rescue Squad responded to provide medical treatment to Oaks. He was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital for further treatment. Oaks was additionally charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.

As of press time Monday night, Oaks had still not been released to the Carter County Jail. He is scheduled to answer the aggravated sexual battery charge during the next session of Criminal Court. He will answer the remaining charges in Sessions Court.

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