Arrest made in Ivanditti murder case

Eatonton Police Department Investigator Howell Cardwell steps outside the house where Frank Causey was reportedly living on Putnam Avenue Tuesday afternoon and where Cardwell and GBI investigators were executing a search warrant. (Photo by Lynn Hobbs.)


By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

EATONTON -- An acquaintance of Lydia Huggins Ivanditti was arrested Tuesday afternoon for her murder, authorities said Tuesday night. Frank Don Causey, 26, of 202-B Putnam Ave., Eatonton, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with one count of murder, according to Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence. He was transported to Putnam County Jail where he is being held without bond.

Ivanditti, 63, was found dead in the bathroom of her home at 307 W. Walnut St. by her mother on Dec. 2. At that time, authorities said her death was “suspicious of foul play.” Since then, her death was ruled a homicide due to the combined effects of strangulation and drowning, according to a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Eatonton Police Department.

Causey, whom authorities describe as ...


Warrants issued for "Tex" McIver in connection with wife's shooting death

Claud "Tex" McIver participates in the October Putnam Development Authority meeting. He continues to attend PDA meetings and take part in board business. Putnam officials have said the shooting of his wife was an accident and they have no intention of removing or even suspending him from the PDA while his case is being decided. (Photo by Don Richeson.)


By Don Richeson / Staff

ATLANTA -- Atlanta attorney Claud "Tex" McIver told The Eatonton Messenger Wednesday that he is preparing to turn himself in to authorities on two warrants the Atlanta Police issued Wednesday morning after The Messenger went to press. The warrants are in connection with the Sept. 25 fatal shooting of his wife, Diane Landa McIver. Tex McIver, who is a board member on the Putnam Development Authority and owns a Pea Ridge Road ranch in Putnam, is being charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless conduct, Atlanta Police Public Information Officer Donald Hannah confirmed Wednesday.

"My greatest punishment is the loss of my life partner, which I am experiencing 24/7," McIver told The Messenger Wednesday in a phone interview. "I'm in deep grief, I've been in seclusion for nine weeks."


Man charged in Ivanditti murder has bond hearing

Frank Don Causey

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

EATONTON -- Frank Don Causey's first appearance bond hearing in connection with the murder of Lydia Huggins Ivanditti was Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Causey, 26, of 202-B Putnam Ave. in Eatonton, was arrested Tuesday, Dec. 20 and charged with killing the former Plaza Arts Center director, whose body was found Dec. 2 in the bathroom of her 307 W. Walnut St. home in Eatonton.

Causey appeared before Putnam County Chief Magistrate Judge Ellen I. Pierce around 3 p.m. at the Putnam County Jail. Pierce advised Causey of his charges and his rights, according to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills. Because only superior court judges have authority to set bond for murder charges, Causey remains in Putnam jail.


Woman dies from fire-related injuries; hydrant nearest to Eatonton home didn't work

Wendy Lynn Royal

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

AUGUSTA -- An Eatonton woman has succumbed to injuries she received in a house fire and the police officers who pulled her out of the burning Eatonton house served as pallbearers at her funeral.

Fifty-year-old Wendy Lynn Royal was trapped in her burning house at 505 N. Jefferson Ave. The fire hydrant closest to the home was reportedly not working Nov. 8 when Eatonton Police Officers Derek Snead heard her screaming, crawled in and pulled her out with the help of fellow officers James Gaither and Eli James.


Jonathan Deen named top teacher in Putnam County

Showing the plaques they received at the Putnam County Charter School System Teacher of the Year banquet Nov. 29 are, from left, Putnam County Elementary School Teacher of the Year Cathy Tuel, Putnam County Primary School Teacher of the Year Sally Brown, Putnam County Middle School Teacher of the Year Jeff Shaw and Putnam County High School Teacher of the Year Jonathan Deen. (Photo by Lynn Hobbs.)


By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

PUTNAM COUNTY -- Putnam County’s top teachers influence and inspire students. These educators of excellence were celebrated during the annual Teacher of the Year reception Nov. 29.

Jonathan Deen, Putnam County High School Social Studies teacher, was named the Putnam County Teacher of the Year.

“It’s humbling to be recognized by your peers,” Deen said afterward. “I look forward to using this platform to advocate for all educators. I feel blessed to have the best job in the world. We have really good kids here and it’s the students and all the teachers here who made all this possible.”

Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia’s Teacher of the Year is a prestigious awards program that focuses attention on excellence in teaching.


Eatonton in the 1950s -- a good source of Christmas memories

This is from the Eatonton Kiwanis Club's 1955 Ladies Night Christmas Program in Talmadge Auditorium at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center. The young Eatonton performers include, front, from left, Trippe Jones, Dee Turner; and back, same order, Lyn Gregory Romine, Sandra Roberts Hill, Donna Dearman Gregory and Teena Dicky Hawley. (File photo.)

By Lyn Gregory Romine / Guest Columnist

Well, it is Christmastime in Eatonton and every year, as usual; I begin to wax nostalgically for my 1950s childhood. Was it really as idyllic as I remember? Growing up in a small town and going to school with cousins and friends you have known since birth, seemed to add to the simplicity and joy of that time.

In Eatonton, there were no toy stores, unless you count the Western Auto, so in order to see dazzling toys like a Tiny Tears that cried and wet her pants, one would have to travel to Atlanta or Macon. In the Gregory family, it was usually Atlanta with a trip to Rich’s Department Store because that is where you would find THE Santa Claus and get to ride … the Pink Pig! I have no idea how a large, train-like, pig that snaked around the ceiling of the toy department became synonymous with Christmas, but it did.


Eatonton officials fear ice-slick roads in city tonight, may close some streets

Gallons and gallons of water, believed to be from a leaky waterline, bubble out through cracks in the road Thursday on East Street in Eatonton. Plastic orange cones close off the road between Alice Walker and Dickey drives. City officials have expressed fears that tonight's sub-freezing temperatures could create slick stretches where waterlines around the city leak out through cracks in roads. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

(Editor's note: This is a corrected version of the story that appeared in the Dec. 22 print edition.)

By Shannon Sneed / Special to The Messenger

EATONTON -- Temperatures in Eatonton are expected to drop into the 20s tonight for the first time so far this season -- just as officials are publicly noting leaky waterlines bubbling up water through cracks in multiple city streets. This combination could create dangerous driving conditions as the water freezes and creates ice-slick surfaces on some Eatonton streets. In response, wary Eatonton officials are considering closing some city streets today or tomorrow.


Eatonton City Council Dec. 6 meeting wrap-up

Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence

At the Dec. 6 Eatonton City Council meeting, councilors:

>> Heard a report from Mainstreet Director Andrew Simpson, who announced Movie Night on the Courthouse lawn event. "The Polar Express" will be shown and space heaters will be in place for a warm evening. The Christmas Bazaar will be Saturday with the parade starting at 6 p.m. Simpson expects around 40 floats, nearly four times more than last year and 35 booths, 15 more than last year marking a huge increase in participation for this year.

>> Joined Mayor Walter Rocker Jr. in signing a proclamation recognizing Chief Kent Lawrence for 30 years of service as police chief. Born and raised in Eatonton, Lawrence is only the seventh Georgia chief of police to serve 30 years.


Eatonton clerks charged with selling alcohol to minors

Buster's Pantry is among the Eatonton stores whose clerks sold alcohol to underage buyers, according to authorities. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

By Lynn Hobbs / Staff

EATONTON -- State “revenuers” were in Eatonton Nov. 21, but it appears they weren’t sniffing out stills.

Instead, three special agents with the Georgia Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Division went to 13 stores throughout the city and county to crack down on the sale of alcohol to persons under the age of 21. Two convenient store clerks were arrested.

Shirin Sadig Lakhani, 42, of 14 Fairway Lane, Peachtree City, was arrested around 1:30 p.m. that Monday and charged with sale of alcohol to a minor. The sale took place at Buster’s Pantry on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, according to police reports.

Also arrested was Sheronda Rene Manuel, 30, of 132 Old Glenwood Springs, Eatonton; around 3 p.m., she was charged with sale of alcohol to a minor at the V-Go Quick Pantry on Oak Street.


Authorities seal off West Walnut Street; investigate suspicious death in home there

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent Joe Wooten, left, and another man wearing a GBI vest whom Wooten would not identify exit a home at 307 W. Walnut St. Friday evening. Yellow crime scene tape encircles the home. (Photo by Don Richeson.)

By Lynn Hobbs and Don Richeson / Staff

EATONTON -- Eatonton Police and GBI investigators sealed off the 300 block of West Walnut Street Friday afternoon in response to a dead body discovered in a home there. Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence told The Eatonton Messenger a 911 call came in around 2:30 p.m. Friday saying a woman was not responding. Lawrence said he, EPD Investigators Howell Cardwell and Lenwood Pickens and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents are investigating the death and he could not immediately say how the woman died. 

Putnam County Coroner Gary McElhenney told The Messenger that he could not give any details, but said he was taking the body to the GBI lab Friday night for an autopsy.


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