A reverse 911 phone call had Livingston residents on the lookout for a man who had reportedly been running through town with a small infant tucked under his arm Monday morning, February 11.
According to a report from Livingston Police Department, the call stemmed from a citizen witnessing an adult male driving through the Dairy Queen parking lot in Livingston with a small infant in his lap. When the citizen reported this to an Overton County Sheriff’s Department deputy who happened to be at the Dairy Queen at the time, the deputy went outside to look for the suspect, but found only the vehicle parked and abandoned in the Dairy Queen parking lot.
At that point, the report says another citizen reported seeing a man with a child run across the roadway toward the Sportsman Center, then double back through the Dairy Queen property across another lane of travel, where vehicles “had to stop to keep from hitting them.” The suspect then ran through a field toward Daugherty and Miller Streets, the report said.
Officers from LPD, OCSD, and Livingston Fire Department, Overton County Ambulance Service, and workers from the Town of Livingston joined in the effort to find the suspect at that point, the report said. The reverse 911 call was issued to residents in the area, informing them of the situation and letting citizens know authorities were looking for more information on the whereabouts of the man and baby.
LPD’s report said that upon further investigation, the suspect was determined to be Jonathan Gore, a former Livingston resident now living in Wilson County. Gore reportedly was wanted in Wilson, Putnam, and Overton counties on a variety of charges, though LPD did not specify what those charges were. In addition, the report said Gore was classified as a habitual motor vehicle offender, which made it a felony for him to operate a motor vehicle in the first place.
LPD said it then received a tip from a citizen in the area as a direct result of the reverse 911 call. The tipster told police the man now identified as Gore and the small child had been picked up by a burgandy-colored vehicle.
As the search continued, LPD said officers found an area in a ditch where it appeared Gore had been hiding for a time near Daugherty Street. Additionally, officers recovered information that led them to a residence on Chestnut Street in Livingston, the report said. That residence turned out to be the mother of the child, Amanda Dawn Smith, who was not home at the time, but returned several hours later.
The report said that upon questioning Smith, she initially claimed she had the baby with her all day. LPD said she later admitted she had let Gore take the child, knowing he didn’t have a license to drive and that he was wanted by authorities. She reportedly told LPD she had lied to cover up his involvement in running from police with her own child in tow, in an effort to protect herself from losing her child.
Gore would later be apprehended in Putnam County by Putnam County Sheriff’s Department on existing warrants, the report said. He also faces charges in Livingston for aggravated child neglect and being a habitual motor offender, according to the report, which says the charges were filed by Officer J.D. Masters.
LPD Chief Greg Etheredge said he wanted to commend all the agencies and officers involved in the case and especially the citizens who reported information to police.