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August 16, 2016 • Headline News
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Six local people arrested for manufacturing meth

Six people, all of Ripley County and most of them related, were arrested for manufacturing or dealing in methamphetamine at a mobile home park in Versailles. An article in the August 2 newspaper initially referred to the arrest, but names or details had not been released. Five of the six people have been charged with a Level 3 felony. The investigation was initiated after police heard a recorded phone call from an inmate at the county jail. All calls are recorded at the jail and the prisoners are aware of this.

According to the affidavit filed August 1, a phone call made by Eric Sechrest, 44, Versailles, while he was in jail for a probation violation to his wife Linda Sechrest, 42, referenced drug activity. The calls were made in mid-April. and several code words for drugs and the nicknames of other individuals were mentioned. Officer Abe Hildebrand was aware of the person mentioned and of the slang drug terms. This also led to an investigation of pseudoephedrine transactions made in the area by Gabrielle Sechrest, 24, their daughter, and her live-in boyfriend, DJ Johns, 20, and Isaac Burkett, 31, who has a child with Gabrielle.

There are restrictions on the amount of pseudoephedrine rine allowed to be bought because it is a crucial ingredient in the manufacturing of meth. The affidavit stated Gabrielle Seacrest made six purchases of the medicine in 2016, and seven purchases in 2015. Upon the police review of the National Precursor Log Exchange, the purchases were made within one hour of each other, four or more times. Also, Linda Seacrest was found making six purchases in 2016 and nine in 2015. DJ Johns also made six transactions in 2016 and was blocked from making another purchase in a 30 day period, and again in June at the Kroger Pharmacy in Lawrenceburg. Burkett made 11 purchases in in 2015 and 2016 and was subsequently blocked because of the 30 day limit. He had linked purchases with both Sechrest women.

A search warrant was executed to the home of Eric and Linda Sechrest on July 28 to 102 Gaslight Drive, Lot 48, in Versailles around 11 p.m. When police entered, Johns, Gabrielle Sechrest and Burkett were there. The court document states police saw Eric Sechrest flushing red tablet pills down a toilet, which police believed to be pseudoephedrine. He was ordered to stop, but continued until police forcibly removed him. Other precursors were found at the residence, including lithium metal, ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, organic solvent, sulfuric acid, and sodium chloride, plus clear plastic bottles and smoking devices.

Eric Sechrest was charged with attempted dealing of meth, maintaining a common nuisance and resisting law enforcement. Linda Sechrest was charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth and maintaining a common nuisance; Isaac Burkett, DJ Johns, and Gabrielle Sechrest,were charged with conspiracy to make meth and visiting a common nuisance, all level 3 felonies. Also arrested on July 28 at the trailer residence was Christopher Gallagher, 28. He was charged Aug. 5 with visiting a common nuisance where controlled substances are located, a misdemeanor. He was released on his own recognizance Aug. 15 and his pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6.

A look at Ripley County Historical Museum
Civil war items, period clothing, tools at museum

Sandy Day Howard

Editor’s Note: This is part of an on-going series we will feature about the museums in our county.

At the corner of Main and Water Streets in Versailles sits a long red brick building where our county’s rich history is housed. The Ripley County Historical Museum is packed from floor to ceiling with remnants ranging as far back as the mid 1800s. Rich in antiques, entering the building is like walking back in time nearly 200 years. Vintage clothing and world war uniforms, dated pictures, farming and household tools, and clocks dating beyond the previous century all line the walls and shelves of the three rooms. Victorian era tools, umbrellas and walking sticks, leather train cases, parasols and period clothing line the walls whisking the mind back to a simpler time.

Ripley County Historical Museum

This old-fashioned spinning wheel, used to spin cotton into thread, was donated to Ripley County Museum by Estella King Salee, daughter of  Pythangras and Millie Ann Yater King. 

Among the oldest relics in the collection is a Civil War drum, belonging to a former Ripley Countian that kept a steady beat as Union soldiers marched into battle. A vintage nurse’s uniform, complete with hat, boasts the healthcare profession. Items from the Grant Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization formed post Civil War by veterans can be viewed as well. In the back of the museum is an area where old high school letter jackets from the days of the Versailles Lions and cheer uniforms from Cross Plains High School are proudly displayed. In another, larger room are spinning wheels, turn of the century clocks, pictures, a large meat grinder, kitchenware, saddles, and equestrian items, and tools used on 19th century farms. Office equipment including an antique typewriter, adding machine, pens and store keepers books are at arm’s length while several pieces of antique office furniture hold items from another age.

Ripley County Historical MuseumSANDY DAY HOWARD PHOTO
Pictured right are actual ball and chains used by prisoners in the Versailles Jail as a deterrent to escape.

An especially interesting device may catch the eye in the back of the largest room, perched on a small ledge alongside a display case. An apparatus valuable to turn of the century law enforcement that guaranteed prisoners stayed put, a retired 45 lb. ball and chain from the Versailles Jail rests on the floor. Obviously often used and well worn, the heavy unit reminds visitors that there were always villains, even in our small town! It reminds visitors that being a prisoner in the old days would have had multiple disadvantages, especially if one wanted to move from one place to another.

Adding to the pioneer ambiance is an original log cabin built about 1830 that is located behind the red brick museum. The Funkhouser’s (Jacob and Nancy) were the previous owners of the small home. Items belonging to 64-year-old preacher Joseph Williams, who took the wagon train west to Oregon to preach to settlers in the new territory, can be viewed and shares the story of the pioneer life

There is no fee to visit the museum and it is open only on Sundays from 2-4 in the afternoon until Labor Day. Due to a lack of volunteers to man the post, the museum is not operational year round. In addition to the museum, Ripley County Historical Society has archives dating back to the early 1800s. Birth records, marriage licenses (dating back to 1818!), wills and probate articles are archived at a separate building, located on the town square. Maps, biographies, court and ‘insanity’ records and other types of Ripley County genealogy data can be viewed inside the old Versailles Bank building. Hours for the Historical Records Library for Ripley County are Monday-Friday from 1-4 p.m. There is a small fee to access records.

Ripley County Historians Mike Stratton, Cheryl Welch, Owen Menchhofer and Helen Einhaus take turns serving as the museum’s Sunday afternoon curators and are very knowledgeable regarding Ripley County and its rich history. “We can always use volunteers!” Ripley County Historical Society president Cheryl Welch announced. Cheryl also explained that the society is under the umbrella of the Indiana Historical Society and has regular meeting dates, which can be viewed on the society’s website

For more information about the Ripley County Historical Society, the museum, or the historical library please call 812-689-3031 or you may call Cheryl at 812-689 5657. The society welcomes all interested in Ripley County history to volunteer for a few hours each month or as possible to help in the preservation of our county’s heritage.

Local Bulletin Board

August 24
Southeastern Career Center open house, college fair and chili supper

The Southeastern Career Center will be hosting a combination Open House, College & Career Fair, and Chili Supper on Wednesday, Aug. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. Current SCC students and parents are invited and encouraged to attend. Read more on page 2 of The Versailles Republican dated August 11.

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