GALLIPOLIS — A Gallia woman pleaded guilty to a criminal simulation charge last Thursday and was sentenced in Gallipolis Municipal Court Tuesday to six months in a detention facility.
Angel Vance, 33, of Cheshire, pleaded guilty to falsely representing her property as an animal rescue and used photos of barns and stables from North Carolina to trick a victim online into releasing her horses to Vance through social media. According to evidence which would have been presented to a jury had the case gone to trial, Vance had contacted individuals online through 13 different personas. Vance reportedly said she had a rescue on Turkey Run Road.
The main victim of the crime, Jeannie Oldaker, of Clarksburg, W.Va., allowed Vance to collect two thoroughbred horses after being convinced through Vance’s online communications that Vance was capable of taking care of her animals. Evidence suggested through three other separate incidents that there was a trend of Vance approaching individuals similar to Oldaker online.
Gallipolis City Solicitor said the state could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Vance had lured victims with her communications into giving up their animals but as to what happened to the final destination of those animals, evidence left that result in question. Part of the evidence displayed a variety of photos from 2014 showing the bones of decaying horse corpses spread across the residence. Photos were by neighbors of the Vance property. How those animals died and the true ownership of those animals is in question. When Gallia County deputies arrived to investigate, the bones in the photos were reportedly gone, although officers discovered a dead donkey on the property. Lab evidence revealed the animal was extremely malnourished before its death, according to case information.
Court information said Vance would eventually admit that Oldaker’s animals died.
As part of a plea agreement, Vance agreed to spend six months in jail and pay $1,000 in restitution to Oldaker.
Vance has a previous insurance fraud conviction in Jackson County and is reportedly on probation for it. Salisbury has informed law enforcement in West Virginia, as well as officials in Jackson County, of Vance’s guilty plea.
“I’d like to say that even though she (Vance) said she had good intention, I believe that if she did she wouldn’t have sent us pictures of a fake farm and then lied,” said Oldaker. “This has been very traumatic for me and to this day I feel the guilt for allowing her to take my horses.”
Vance said she had hoped the horses would go to a good home because she had worked hard to rescue them out of another location she believed to be bad to her horses.
“I trusted her because she (Vance) sent me pictures and said they were going to go to a great place,” said Oldaker. “They didn’t and I have to live with that. I have to forgive but I won’t forget her. I believe that she needs to be punished for what she’s done to all the horses that have died on that property. I hope that she learns a lesson from all this. You don’t have to lie to people. If you can’t (take care of horses), don’t (take them).”
Oldaker thanked those who supported her through court proceedings as well as City Solicitor Adam Salisbury. After the sentencing, Oldaker said she wished Vance would have gotten more time. Oldaker said she would accept whatever time that Vance would spend in a detention facility though as it was better than none. Charity Gillenwater, of Patriot, was also present at the court and claimed she had suffered under similar circumstances to Oldaker. Her horse was a quarter horse, however. Both Oldaker and Gillenwater suspect Vance of having committed similar actions dozens of times.
“There is obviously something very wrong that had happened at that (the Vance) property,” Salisbury previously said last week. “We only charge when we feel we have evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt when a crime is committed.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.