Sumner residents still stunned following manhunt, meth lab bust
November 13, 2007
Sumner -- One day after drug agents seized a meth lab in rural Worth County, people in Sumner are shocked that meth was being made in their community.
They're also troubled that one of the two suspects remains on the loose despite a major manhunt.
Tucked behind a cotton field is a rural Worth County barn. Here, long time Sumner resident O.T. Eady goes about his routine in a place he's called home his entire life.
"85 years," he says.
But Monday afternoon, the quiet stretch of Gibbs Road where Eady has lived for more than 8 decades, was the site of a manhunt.
"Right on til dark, there was helicopters and police, and everything else til after dark," he said.
All of this began just after 2 p.m. when a pair of men ran from drug agents after a meth lab operation was busted up in a wooded area off Pine Forest Road.
Searchers captured 37-year-old Paul Milton Bryan and charged him with manufacturing methamphetamine.
"We kept looking for another suspect, but we haven't got him yet, and haven't got his full name," said Worth County Sheriff Freddie Tompkins.
While Bryan is in police custody, Tompkins says he's not revealing a lot of information to authorities about the second suspect that's still on the loose.
"It will take a few days, but we'll eventually, hopefully run him down. When news gets out, you start getting information from people in the community, and law enforcement is only as good as the people in the community," said Tompkins.
Investigators don't yet know the identity of the second suspect who they say, along with Bryan, left a toxic mess of chemical drug ingredients on someone else's property.
Throughout the early morning hours, a DEA cleanup crew up from Spartanburg, South Carolina cleaned up the meth lab site.
Sheriff Tompkins says Bryan could face several other charges on top of manufacturing meth. But for now, the priority remains finding the suspect who still on the loose.
"If anyone sees anything suspicious down that way or hears anything, just give us a holler. Call the sheriff's office," said Tompkins.
For now, 85-year-old O.T. Eady will go about his business; hoping yesterday's events won't take place again just yards away from his home.