MARIETTA, Okla (KXII) – The FBI says it wasn’t just Love County Sheriff Joe Russell’s patrol vehicle tangled up in his son’s meth dealing. A federal court transcript shows a number of crimes committed in the sheriff’s own home.
The FBI says Sheriff Joe Russell and his son Willie lived in a home where methamphetamine was frequently used. A federal agent told a judge that Willie was allowing a fugitive to live in the house as long as she had sex with him.
“He would remind her that you’ve got warrants and as long as you are here dating me, you are not going to get arrested,” am agent testified, referring to Joe’s son, Willie Russell, who was convicted of selling meth in federal court last year and is awaiting sentencing.
The agent said the woman would frequently use meth inside the sheriff’s house.
“She referred to it as “booty bumping.” It would be mixed up, placed in a syringe, and then shot into her rectum [by the sheriff’s son].”
When she broke up with Willie and moved into another man’s house, the agent said Sheriff Russell himself went to arrest her for the outstanding warrants he allegedly let slide while she lived in his own home for years.
“The man she was with “basically had some words with the sheriff to the effect of why is it okay for her to live at your house with Willie and get high and have warrants and not be arrested, but then when she comes here she gets arrested,” the agent testified.
That’s when the agent says Russell arrested that man “for harboring a fugitive.”
The agent also said through the investigation they had one person tell them Sheriff Russell arrested a group of women drinking in bikinis by the Red River but instead of taking them to jail, he brought them back to his house “to have them dance, strip. Either Willie would strip them, sometimes Joe would… they (the girls) would then go ahead and partake of the meth that Willie would offer them and stay and party.”
The agent said the investigation had been very difficult because witnesses were reluctant to talk citing the mysterious disappearances of three people in the county.
“That has been an overlying theme of all of the interviews we have done,” the agent said. “Everybody is very hesitant to talk. They don’t want Joe Russell knowing that they are talking. So, yes, I would say they are all scared.”
MARIETTA, Okla. (KXII) — Love County Sheriff Joe Russell was arrested Tuesday afternoon after the Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury filed an accusation for removal from office against him.
Joe Russell was released on his own recognizance and has now returned to work.
The grand jury wants Russell removed from office for a number of charges related to corruption. They say he was maintaining a methamphetamine house with his son, Willie, who was convicted in federal court last year for dealing meth.
The affidavit stated that not only did Willie sell methamphetamine out of the house, but Willie also used the sheriff’s office patrol pickup — even snorting a line of meth off the console.
“Everybody should know what a screw up Joe Russell has been to this town,” Marietta resident Sheena Remy said.
It also accuses Russell of allowing a fugitive, Sara Bamburg, to live in the same house with active arrest warrants.
In the affidavit, it stated that Willie would remind her what a safe haven she was in.
And when Bamburg moved out and in with another man, Russell arrested not only her, but the man she moved in with for harboring a fugitive. People in Marietta say the arrest finally show’s Russell’s true colors.
“If you’re sheriff, you’re supposed to uphold the law. You’re not supposed to sit there and hide the fact that your son is doing drugs. That you are running a methamphetamine home.” Remy said.
Russell is also accused of allowing James Conn Nipp to meet with family members unsupervised in a deputy’s office, where evidence is stored. Nipp is the primary suspect in the 3 year old disappearance of Molly Miller and Colt Haynes. Nipp is also a relative of Russell’s.
Nipp has never been charged in the disappearances. Molly’s grandfather Alex Miller says all he can do is hope Russell’s arrest leads to a break in the case.
“Is it possible that it could lead to her whereabouts? I would say it’s possible.” Miller said. “It’s too early for people to be patting each other on the backs just because he’s been arrested.”
Other residents say Russell is innocent until proven guilty.
“I’m not even sure if he did it, but if he did, he finally got justice. So, we’ll see.” Marietta resident Chris Cavitt said.
The Attorney General’s Office is expected to release a statement soon.
No court dates have been set yet.
LOVE COUNTY, Oklahoma – Earlier this week, federal prosecutors confirmed Love County Sheriff Joe Russell is under investigation by the FBI.
The news came to light as his son appeared in federal court for a criminal hearing, accused of distributing methamphetamine.
A private investigator thinks that alone should be enough for Russell to remove himself from the leadership position, but also believes Russell has hindered investigative efforts in the disappearance of Molly Miller.
Family members of Miller agree.
“Let us get the closure we need,” Miller’s cousin Paula Fielder said. “The sheriff has been our barrier in finding Molly since day one.”
In July 2013, 17-year-old Miller and her friend Colt Haynes were never heard from again after police said James Conn Nipp drove them on a car chase in Love County.
And Fielder said she thinks Russell mishandled the missing person’s case.
“His cousin, Conn Nipp, was the last known person to be seen with Molly and I believe that he is covering up for him. I believe Joe Russell knows exactly what happened to Molly and Colt and where they may be,” she said.
Fielder hired private investigator Philip Klein to give the case the attention it needed. Klein said his group, out of Nederland, Texas, has investigated more than 700 missing person’s cases with a 90 percent success rate.
“We work hand-in-hand with law enforcement all over the United States and around the world … to find these missing persons. This is the first case that we have ever had where we have actually had a law enforcement agency, being the Love County Sheriff, that has attempted to thwart our investigation, that has attempted to hide evidence from us and who has attempted to intimidate witnesses,” Klein said.
James Conn Nipp was criminally charged in the case, but never named a suspect in Miller’s disappearance.
“It’s exhausting. Day in and day out wondering and wishing and hoping and just wanting this nightmare to come to an end,” Fielder said.
And now, more than two years later, Miller’s family believes, they’re finally close to the end.
“The sheriff’s arrest, his removal from that office will definitely bring more answers,” Fielder added.
- Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
- Missing Since: July 8, 2013 from Wilson, Oklahoma
- Classification: Endangered Missing
- Date of Birth: April 30, 1996
- Age: 17 years old
- Height and Weight: 5’5, 95 pounds
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Biracial (Caucasian/Native American) female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Molly’s hair was dyed black at the time of her disappearance. Her lower lip is pierced on the right side and she has a tattoo of a star on her hip.
- Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white t-shirt, jeans and black Nike sneakers with a pink emblem.
Details of Disappearance
Molly and a friend, Colt Haynes, disappeared from Wilson, Oklahoma on July 8, 2013. On the evening of July 7, they were riding in a 2012 Honda Accord driven by 21-year-old James Conn Nipp. A photo of Nipp is posted below this case summary; he is frequently known by his middle name. They were driving recklessly and throwing rocks at marked police cars. At 10:30 p.m., when a police car attempted to pull them over, the vehicle sped off and a chase resulted. The Honda, which reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, went over the county line into Love County and that county officers joined the pursuit, but eventually the police lost them in the vicinity of Long Hollow Road, which is a dead-end road.
Molly dialed 911 at 12:47 a.m. The call lasted only five seconds and Molly didn’t say anything. The dispatcher called her back immediately, but no one picked up. Colt’s friends stated he called them during the early morning hours and asked for help, saying he was lying in a creek bed and he had a broken ankle and was coughing up blood. He thought he was between Long Hollow and Pike Roads. His friends drove up and down the roads, honking their horns while talking to Colt on the phone, but he said he couldn’t hear their honks and yells. Molly also made several calls to family and friends during the early morning hours, saying she was in a field and asking someone to come and get her. Molly and Colt have never been heard from again. On July 22, the Honda Accord was found wrecked in a field near where the police pursuit had ended. It had over $18,000 worth of damage.
In January 2014, arrest warrants were issued for Nipp and his girlfriend, Sabrina Graham, who owned the Honda. A photo of Graham is posted below this case summary. She had told police Nipp had stolen it, but later admitted she had given permission to borrow it. She was charged with filing a false insurance claim. After Nipp turned himself in, he told authorities he had “no idea” where Molly and Colt were. He was convicted of endangering others while eluding a police officer and sentenced to ten years in prison followed by ten years of probation, but investigators have never been able to prove he had a hand in Molly and Colt’s disappearances. He has a criminal record for marijuana possession and claims he began smoking marijuana as a child and was a heavy user by mid-adolescence.
Molly was a high school junior at the time of her disappearance. Her family stated she’s very good at sports, particularly softball. Although she had run away from home before and her family initially thought she had done so again, foul play is now suspected in Molly and Colt’s disappearances. A private investigator hired by Molly’s family believes the pair were shot and killed after a fight. Both cases remain unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Wilson Police Department
Two people from Love County, Oklahoma have been missing since July 2013, after reportedly being passengers in a car that was being chased by police. Today, their loved ones are desperately looking for answers, and rumors of a small town cover up are running rampant.
17-year-old Molly Miller, and 21-year-old Colt Haynes were driving down the street in a 2012 Honda Accord on July 8, 2013. At 10:30 PM, the driver of the vehicle did a donut right in front of a Wilson police officer, which resulted in a police chase. The chase proceeded to County Line Road, where Love County then joined the pursuit. The Love County officers say they were “dusted out” and eventually lost sight of the car.
Police have since located the driver, but Molly and Colt have remained missing. Below is an excerpt from a Facebook page
Molly Miller has been missing since July 8th 2013. She was last known to be in a 2012 Honda Accord with Colt Haynes and Con Nipp. We have confirmation to support this. We know they were in Wilson, Oklahoma on the night of July 7th at approx 10:30 P.M at which point Con Nipp instigated a chase with Wilson PD, when he did a doughnut right in front of an officer. The chase proceeded to County Line Road where Love County picked up pursuit. The pursuit continued on to Long Hollow Road where officers where advised to block off Long Hollow Road, which is a dead end road. Love County says they were dusted out and lost sight of the car. Had they continued to the end they would have caught them since there is a gate that they would have had to stop and open to continue on. The car was found 2 weeks later, in a field near where the pursuit ended. At 12:57 a.m Molly called 911, it was a 5 second phone call. Dispatch called her right back with no response. No one was ever dispatched to the area to check out the 911 call. The 911 call came in to Marietta dispatch. We know her phone pinged off a towers between Pike and Long Hollow Rd. The actions of Love County and their relationship to the driver of the car have left a lot of unanswered questions. Love County Sheriff is related to the driver of the car. We feel their lack of corporation has hampered our efforts in finding OUR Molly.
Colt’s family has also created a Facebook Group, called Justice for Colt.
According to Colt’s family, he called friends for help the morning after the car chase, saying that he had a broken ankle, and that he thought he was in a creek bed between Long Hollow and Pike Road. His friends drove up and down those roads, honking and yelling while Colt was still on the phone, but Colt said he couldn’t hear any honking or yelling. Members of his family have walked the entire creek between Long Hollow and Pike Road and found nothing.
On July 22, as mentioned above, police found the wrecked vehicle in a field off Long Hollow Road. It was abandoned and apparently had no evidence inside of it. The driver of the vehicle has since retained an attorney and is not giving much information to the police.
So where are Molly and Colt? What happened to them after the car chase?
Some people are speculating that due to the Sheriff’s relation to the driver, the case is not being investigated thoroughly.
Both Molly and Colt’s families are looking for answers to what happened to them. They both seem frustrated with the investigation and both have brought up the possibility of corruption, due to the driver of the vehicle being related to the Love County Sheriff. Could this be a small town cover-up? Below is some info I found in interviews with the families that make me think it might be time to bring in a private investigator.
- The car was found two weeks after police chase, on the same road where the chase had taken place. How was the car not found sooner?
- A fire pit was discovered by Molly’s family near where the car was found. The pit was about ten feet deep, and had apparently been burning for approximately two weeks. Five hours after Molly’s family called police and told them about it, an officer came out. He took some samples from the pit and then covered it back up.
- According to Molly’s family, investigators told them that no fingerprints were found in the car because they had evaporated after two weeks. They were allegedly told that “fingerprints are moisture and moisture evaporates.”
- One of Colt’s sisters said in a radio interview that a Lone Grove police officer told her that Molly’s purse and ID were found in the car. Molly’s family says they were never told this.
“The fact is that fire was started on or about September the 8th. It was discovered on September 10th. This fire was in a field where the car Con was driving and Molly and Colt were passengers in had gone thru and not far from where the car was recovered. Joe Russell and Harvey went out there and looked at it but did not investigate it. It burned quite a large area. I was notified about the fire and lack of investigation in the 10th. The fire had bothered me since then. Misty Miller Howell and decided to check it out on Sunday and came across that hole that was still burning after 2 weeks. It wasn’t just smoldering it was hot to touch even the sides of the hole. We notified law enforcement and I was told David seals would be out there on Monday with a forensic team. He didn’t go and would not return my calls. Tuesday I got up and tried to call him. He again didn’t answer so I drove from Shawnee to Ardmore went to his office. He was there so I left his a nice message as to where I’d be. He showed up about 4 1/2 hours later. He told me to leave, when I asked why he said this is my crime scene now. Glad I can do ur job for you Mr. Seals.”