Three men were arrested on meth charges after one of them got lost in the woods, had to call 911, then told deputies he and his partners had been looking for "paranormal activity," according to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.
The incident began Monday in the middle of the night when Sonny Clay Hyatt, 39, of Hudson, called 911 and told the dispatcher he was lost deep in the woods off Goat Farm Road, in the Baton Community.
Deputies responded to the area, and using GPS coordinates from Hyatt's phone, were able to find him and bring him out safely.
Hyatt was slightly dehydrated, scratched up, and distraught from the long hike, but his story about how he had gotten lost made the deputies suspicious.
Hyatt claimed that he and two friends, Thomas Glenn Imler, Jr., 38, of Lincolnton, and Eric John Schmidt, 31, of Hudson, decided to go walking in the woods looking for paranormal activity because of haunted tales about the area, and ended up lost and separated from each other.
While talking with the deputies, Hyatt received several text messages stating that Imler and Schmidt had found their way out and called for a ride back to Hyatt's apartment.
The deputies, still not convinced by Hyatt's story, finally got him to admit that he and his friends had been using methamphetamine, and that a meth lab could possibly be at his apartment, where Imler and Schmidt had already returned.
Agents were given consent to search his apartment, and found a "one pot shake and bake" style meth lab and precursor chemicals used to make the drug. They also found a handwritten note detailing the ingredients and cooking process in Imler's pocket.
After hours of investigation, deputies said the truth came out.
The trio had gathered the ingredients to cook meth, and fearful of getting caught, decided to go deep into the woods to find a suitable place. Being fairly inexperienced, they caused the cook to fail, got into an argument about it, and went their separate ways.
All three were arrested and charged with felonious manufacture methamphetamine, and felonious possession of methamphetamine precursor chemicals.
They were taken to the Caldwell County Detention Center and placed under a $50,000 secured bond each.
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