MEIGS COUNTY — A few tense hours lead to a lot of rumors, speculation and worry Wednesday afternoon in portions of Meigs County.
Soon after dismissal of most Meigs Local students on Wednesday afternoon, deputies with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Middleport Police Department of a domestic dispute from a Rutland-area resident.
According to Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, information was received from Tonya Aeiker of Rutland, reporting an alleged domestic violence incident in which her husband, Lester Aeiker, had made threats to shoot her and their children and then take his own life.
Wood advises that it was reported that Lester Aeiker also made statements that if he couldn’t shoot himself, he would point a gun at law enforcement so an officer would have to shoot him.
Tonya Aeiker stated that when her husband left for work around 1 p.m., he made a phone call to her stating that “today is the day” and that he wanted her to pick up their children from school and come home so he could end it all for all of them. She also advised that he had called his step-father and told him what he was going to do.
According to Wood, Tonya Aeiker stated that she attempted to contact the schools about her mother picking up the kids so the kids would not ride the bus home, but she received a call from her brother stating that Lester Aeiker was located at Tonya’s parents’ house near Darwin in a green Pontiac minivan and told Tonya Aeiker’s father that he better get there before he (Lester) does or he would be burying his daughter and grandchildren.
Wood said that officers responded, and School Resource Officer Jim Riley was notified as he was at the Meigs Primary/Intermediate School in Rutland. Officers also responded to the Meigs Middle School as the children were located at both schools.
At this time, school was letting out, and most of the students had already departed, but the schools were asked to lock down until the whereabouts of Lester Aeiker could be determined. Also, officers requested the Meigs branch of the University of Rio Grande be locked down as a precautionary measure.
URG Meigs Director Rebecca Long said the University complied with the request but that the URG branch was locked down for less than an hour as law enforcement got the situation under control.
Officers then learned that one of the Aeiker’s children had ridden the bus home. Officers responded to the Beech Grove Road area and watched both ends of the roadway after Lester Aeiker’s vehicle was found to be at the residence. Wood, along with Chief Deputy Charles Mansfield, were able to make telephone contact with Lester Aeiker, and Mansfield was able to talk to Aeiker who, after some time, agreed to turn himself over to police custody.
Mansfield, along with other deputies, went to the residence and were able to take Lester Aeiker into custody without incident. The child who rode the bus home, along with Lester Aeiker’s mother and step-father who were all at the residence when he was taken into custody, were unharmed.
Lester Aeiker is being held in custody for a charge of Domestic Violence at this time.
Wood states that his office received assistance from the Middleport Police Department, Meigs EMS and the Rutland Fire Department.
Sheriff Wood would like to commend the Meigs Local Schools for their outstanding cooperation during this incident, and affected facilities were grateful to the quick work of local law enforcment.
“We appreciate the caution shown by the Meigs County law enforcement and the cooperation of our students during the short lock down today,” said Long.
Long added that it is standard procedure to lock down the facilities when a threat is reported nearby. All evening classes at the Meigs Branch continued as scheduled Wednesday evening.