Smyth Co. Sheriff's Office: Amber Alert search costs over $43K

Hayleigh Wilson and Benjamin Shook
Hayleigh Wilson and Benjamin Shook (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

WJHL Staff – SMYTH COUNTY (WJHL) – The 16-day search for 14-year-old Hayleigh Wilson and wanted sex offender Benjamin Shook resulted in several Smyth County, Va. Sheriff's Office dollars being used – over $43,000 to be exact.

According to a news release from Smyth County Sheriff's Office Maj. Chip Shuler, the total approximate Smyth County, Va. Sheriff's Office costs associated with the search operation totaled $43,090.

"We were involved in the search for sixteen days, June 25 through July 7," Shuler said. "Approximately 1,241 overtime hours were expended at a cost of $37,700, approximately $5,000 in fuel costs and $390 for food and water.

Shuler said it should also be noted that the sheriff's office had personnel on regular duty that were also involved in the search, which is not reflected in the total costs.

Aiding in the search, several businesses and citizens also donated food and water, and Shuler said the sheriff's office is appreciative of the Smyth County School Board for allowing them to use Sugar Grove Elementary School for the command post.

Shuler said the sheriff's office has not filed any criminal charges against Shook, but said they do anticipate filing charges in the near future.

"It is our intention to ask the Commonwealth's Attorney to ask for the above listed costs to be made restitution in the matter upon Shook's conviction in our jurisdiction," Shuler said.

Shuler said the sheriff's office's investigation remains ongoing at this time.

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