Sex offender, 2 others face charges following home search in Rutherford Co.


Rodney Lee Willis (Source: Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office)

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office officials said three people were arrested Thursday following a search at a home in Ellenboro.

According to the sheriff’s office, Rodney Lee Willis, a registered sex offender, was using a social media account under a fake name. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from maintaining social media accounts without the knowledge and oversight of the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry.

On Sept. 29, officers executed a search warrant at Rodney Willis’ home on US Highway 74 Business East in Ellenboro.

During the search, officers seized multiple smart phones, laptop computers, narcotics, drug paraphernalia and cash, according to the sheriff’s office. The devices will be searched under an additional search warrant due to Rodney Willis’ violations of his sex offender registry requirements.

He was charged with felony failure to inform of any new or change of online identifiers and ban use of commercial networking websites by sex offenders.

During the search, officers located two people at the residence who were wanted on outstanding warrants.

Heather Jill Dixon and Donald Christopher Willis were both arrested on outstanding failure to appear warrants.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division was assisted by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives, and Homeland Security Investigations during the search.

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