25 hour manhunt leads to the arrest of a Toccoa man

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PRESS RELEASE – The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office announces the capture of Joel Eugene Keller, age 38 of Toccoa, Ga.

During the 25 hours of non-stop search for Keller, the Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the public on Thursday, May 22, for information leading to the arrest of Joel Eugene Keller after he cut and removed his GPS leg monitor while under house arrest.

In the early morning hours of May 24, deputies, investigators, and our agent with the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office traveled to a residence on Bart Holcomb Road in Toccoa in an attempt to serve arrest warrants on Keller. As investigators and deputies were closing in on the target location, they observed an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) recklessly traveling out of a driveway and away from the deputies.

Deputies pursued the ATV down Bart Holcomb Road when Keller turned behind a residence. Keller crashed the ATV into a guide wire, and he quickly fled on foot.

Deputies lost sight of Keller near a heavily wooded area. A wide perimeter was quickly set up, and immediate assistance was requested from area K-9 units.

At the ATV crash site, a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, a handgun, and Keller’s cell phone were recovered.

Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies assisted in a 13-hour search for Keller. Keller was ultimately located hiding under a tarp near the area where he crashed the ATV. He was taken into custody without incident.

In addition to the two arrest warrants issued for Keller on May 17, additional arrest warrants will be forthcoming for the following offenses: Fleeing /Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Firearm During Certain Crimes, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

A probation warrant has also been issued for Keller out of Hart County.

The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office is immensely grateful for the citizen support that was given after a request was publicly sent out for information leading to the arrest of this menacing criminal.

We also wish thank the following law enforcement agencies: Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Banks County Sheriff’s Office, Habersham Co. Sheriff Joey Terrell (Habersham County Sheriff’s Office), Georgia State Patrol Post 7, GSP Aerial Support, Georgia Department of Corrections K-9, Toccoa PD, and the Commerce PD K-9 unit.

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