Thursday 3 September 2020

Ex-high school football star, 21, said he was a homeless 14-year-old so a woman would take him in as he enrolled as a freshman in Georgia

A 21-year-old former high school football star was arrested in Georgia after he pretended to be a homeless 14-year-old so a woman would take him in. 
Abay Holmes is charged with making false statements after he enrolled in the local high school in Milledgeville under another name while staying with the unidentified woman. 
He was caught out after the woman called the cops on him following an argument. 
Police quickly discovered that he was not in fact a young teen looking for shelter but a grown man with prior convictions.   
It is not believed that the woman involved had any previous connection with Holmes and it is not known what motive he had for pretending to be a homeless teen and enrolling in the school.  
'They're still looking into all of that at this time,' Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Maj. Scott Deason told the Union Recorder
'Apparently, he convinced a homeowner in this community to let him stay with them because he was 14 and had nowhere else to go.' 
While he was there, Holmes posed as Awan Thomas to enroll at Baldwin County High School.  
Detective Capt. Brad King said he believed Holmes enrolled in the school using false documents and turned up on campus. 
Yet he was told that he was only registered virtually and that he had to go home again, the Union Recorder reports. 
Holmes was issued a laptop from the school county district he could use. 

Authorities first became involved in the case on the morning of August 25 when they received a call about a 'unruly juvenile' that was being followed by the woman he was staying with. 
It is believed that she and Holmes had an argument and she went to kick him out but he tried to take the school's laptop with him. The woman tried to take it back to return it to the school and called the police as a result.  
Deputy Brandon Towe arrived at the scene and found the woman and who they then thought to be the teenager. 
'(Holmes) stated that [the woman] was trying to take away his school laptop because he (had) disrespected her,' Towe said in his report.
'After several hours of investigation, I determined that Awan did not have a legal guardian in the State of Georgia.'
At this point, the Baldwin County Department of Family and Children's Services were called in, with authorities still under the impression they had a homeless child in their care. 
Yet as they investigated further, school deputies found that names and addresses in enrollment application of 'Awaj Thomas' simply didn't add up. 
Fingerprints were then taken which revealed 14-year-old Thomas was actually 21-year-old Abay Holmes.  
He was then turned back over to Baldwin County Sheriff's Office where he was placed under arrest and charged with giving law enforcement a false name and birthday and making false statements on documents. 
He enrolled in Baldwin County High School but it is believed students were at risk
He enrolled in Baldwin County High School but it is believed students were at risk
Baldwin County High School is cooperating with the investigation although it is not thought that any of the students were at risk. 
 'We do not believe that any students in Baldwin County would've been in danger at any point and time,' King told WGXA
'Because everything is adding up to the fact that he was simply having to follow through on his lie that he was 14 and homeless.
'Holmes made up the lie and had to live that lie as best he could,' King added. 
The suspect previous lived in Pennsylvania, Milledgeville, and Atlanta, cops state, and they are now making attempts to contact his family to find more information. 
According to the Union Recorder, Holmes was a former prep football star in the Atlanta area before being recruited to play at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville. 
Yet it was here that his football career fizzled out, after he was arrested in 2017 for a string of car break-ins on campus. 
Holmes and two of his friends were caught after using some cards they had stolen. 
'There were three co-defendants in the case,'  said Savanna Roughen, an assistant district attorney with the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office. 
'But only one of them was actually charged with entering an auto. They kinda all agreed on who was actually going into the cars and it wasn't Mr. Holmes. It was a co-defendant of his.' 
He was charged with one count of financial transaction card theft and five counts of financial transaction card fraud and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charge of theft in December 2017.  
He served a year on JAG probation and left college.  
Holmes currently remains in the Baldwin County Jail.  
An investigation is ongoing, involving the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, the Baldwin County School District and Baldwin County Department of Family and Children's Services. 
Deason said they are investigating if Holmes could have been involved in similar fraudulent activity in the past. 
The laptop he'd been given is now back with the school.  

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