MONCKS CORNER -- Authorities who say they doubt aspects of a tragic story about the abduction and killing of a dog that served a 9-year-old autistic girl have arrested the girl’s mother and the woman's friend on unrelated charges.
The dog’s owner, Kelley Nolan, 40, of 419 Gaillard Road in Moncks Corner, and an acquaintance, Stacey Lamont Altman, 32, of 1531 Cedar Avenue in Moncks Corner, were taken into custody Dec. 23 on charges unrelated to the investigation of the dog’s abduction and death, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Moon said.
He said both are charged with receiving stolen goods and obtaining property under false pretenses. Moon said Altman, while being arrested at the Gaillard Road residence, was found to be in possession of a half a gram of cocaine and charged with possession of it.
Nolan and Altman are being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center.
Nolan told deputies Dec. 13 that “Toby,” a 3-year-old American bull terrier, was snatched from her front yard. Students at a bus stop added that the dog was carried off by a passing motorist.
Nolan said Toby was beyond just the family pet -- he was specially trained to help the autistic 9-year-old Allie Noland.
The dog was found dead days later, reportedly beaten to death and dumped on Nolan’s front lawn.
But Moon said investigators found discrepancies in the family account of what happened to the dog. He said a necropsy performed on the animal by a veterinarian revealed that the dog had not been viciously beaten, as no signs of repeated trauma were found.
“The forensic examination indicates that it had injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle,” Moon said.
He said the sheriff’s office is waiting to interview some witnesses who were reported to have seen someone attempting to abduct the dog from the owner’s residence. “Those witnesses are reported to be out of the state right now.”
Moon said the investigation is still in progress.
“No further information will be released by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office until this investigation is complete," Moon said.