Atmore man cleared of felony charges

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Atmore man facing felony charges surrounding a custody case in New Mexico has been cleared of those charges after police there gained information from Alabama.

Jacob Heath Sells 27, had a warrant issued for his arrest Tuesday charging him with a single count of felony custodial interference.

Detective Jaime Quesada with the Las Cruces, N.M., police said the case began when Sell’s girlfriend filed charges against him.

Email newsletter signup

The case stemmed from Sells being served with court papers on Sunday that established a custodial and visitation agreement with his ex-girlfriend regarding their six-year-old son.

Shortly after Sells was served the legal document he quit his job at a Las Cruces hospital and told school officials his son wouldn’t be attending school due to illness.

The initial charges against Sells came after officials suspected that he had taken his son and fled the state to avoid contact with law enforcement officials.

Quesada said at the time the warrant was issued the department had no information concerning an Alabama court order issued giving Sells full custodial rights to the child.

“When those charges were placed against Sells we had not received the information about the 2007 court order giving him custody,” Quesada said.

“When we did get the information, of course that took precedence over any court issues that would have been done here.”

Quesada said Thursday that any charges initially filed against Sells in New Mexico had been dropped.

“After getting the information concerning the Alabama court records the felony charge against Sells was dropped,” Quesada said. “Everything here was basically quashed because of that. He does not face any legal charges here. The custody case now has become a civil matter between Sells and his girlfriend, who is the mother of the child.”

Sells is believed to have fled New Mexico on Monday following the serving of the custody papers in New Mexico. According to reports, detectives who were assisted by the U.S. Marshals Service found Sells in Atmore where he has relatives.

Las Cruces, N.M., is a city located just 45 miles north of El Paso, Texas.