On March 12, the Newton Police Department, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Child Exploitation Task Force and the State Bureau of Investigation executed two independent search warrants in the city of Newton. As a result of the execution of these two search warrants, arrests were made at each location. Michael Eugene Hedrick and John Christopher Smith were arrested on child exploitation charges.
Hedrick was arrested and charged with three (3) counts of Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Hedrick was taken before the magistrate and was held at the Catawba County Detention Center under $40,000 secured bond. Hedrick has a first appearance court date on Wednesday.
To read more of this story, pick up the Thursday edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.