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Bondsmen face burglary, assault charges in case

By Richard Rourk

Police say a scary situation for an Erwin girl arose when three bail bondsmen allegedly broke into her home seeking a suspect who no longer resides at the address. 

The 15-year-old girl was asleep when the incident occurred. According to a police report filed by the Erwin Police Department, law enforcement was dispatched to a residence at 316 Gay Street. 

The report states that on the morning of Friday, Aug. 6, a caller reported two men armed with guns were inside the residence. Upon arrival Lt. Patrick Bennett observed a male subject standing on the porch of the residence armed with a handgun. The male subject complied with commands to disarm. Lt. Bennett noticed a female crying outside the residence. Two other subjects and another firearm were discovered inside the residence by Lt. Wayne Edwards. The three men were detained.

The three subjects — Daniel James Buchanan, James Harvey Bailey and Douglas Eugene Frank Jr. — identified themselves to officers as bailbondsmen looking for someone who no longer resides at the Gay Street address. 

The report notes that the three bondsmen were alerted by a neighbor that the subject no longer lived at the residence but still went to investigate. The subjects knocked on the door several times until, according to the police report,  James gave an order to kick in the door of residence. 

Woken by the noise, the girl came down the stairs where weapons were allegedly drawn on her by the bondsmen. According to the police report, the 15-year-old was placed against the wall and searched and no sign of the suspect wanted by the bondsmen was discovered.

Buchanan and Frank, both Erwin residents, were arrested, along with Davis, a resident of Madisonville. All three men were charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated assault and vandalism.

Town of Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson said that bounty hunters are legally required to notify local law enforcement before taking a suspect into custody. 

“We did not receive notification from Daniel (Buchanan) or the other two men prior to this incident,” Tilson said. “It was a scary situation for this family.”

The 15-year-old victim’s father spoke to The Erwin Record about the incident. 

“My daughter is shook up over this,” David Cannon said. “There was no call for this. It’s my understanding that these guys were warned by not one but two people that the person they were looking for has not lived here for more than two years.”

Cannon added, “They came in with guns pointed at my daughter and searched her for no reason. We just moved here and now she has to deal with the trauma this has caused.”

In addition, Cannon said that the men also destroyed property inside and outside of the house. 

Tilson confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.