Edwards, 42, of Three Notch Road in Ringgold, turned herself in to the Walker County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 10, at 12:50 p.m. She has been charged with theft by taking.
She was released on $4,500 bond later that same day. None of the stolen funds have been recovered, according to the police report.
An incident report of the theft was filed with the Chickamauga Police Department by school principal Clay Crowder on Nov. 16, according to Michael Haney, Chickamauga police chief.
According to the incident report:
There was a total of $2,010 in the safe.
On the previous day, Nov. 15, bookkeeper Patricia Taylor placed bank bags with checks and cash inside the safe and locked it between 3 and 4 p.m., as witnessed by principal Clay Crowder.
The room was unlocked the following day by the bookkeeper at 6 a.m. Prior to 8 a.m. a male teacher asked Edwards to retrieve his money bag from the safe, which she did.
The teacher returned to his classroom and discovered the cash missing from the bank bag.
The teacher asked the bookkeeper if the $1,060 in cash had been deposited. She stated it had not.
Smaller amounts of money ranging from $100 to $450 were taken from other bags in the safe, while three other bank bags had the correct amounts.
According to Crowder’s statement to police, only four employees knew the safe’s combination: himself, the assistant principal, the bookkeeper, and Edwards.
Edwards is the only one of the four who does not have a key to the waiting room with the safe.
The large five-foot-high Sentry safe did not have any signs of tampering or forced entry.
Stolen funds bolsters students’ fundraising resolve
A portion of the funds came from a T-shirt fundraiser for Jordan Queen, a student who died in a traffic accident on Nov. 9.
“It is disheartening to have any money taken, especially with all that the money was intended for,” said Chickamauga City Schools superintendent Melody Day.
About $1,200 of the stolen money was raised for the Jordan Queen Memorial Scholarship that has been established.
Student clubs and the wrestling team continued their fundraising efforts and have more than replaced the amount allegedly stolen by Edwards.
“The student body has really stepped forward,” said Day of the students’ efforts.
Chickamauga police worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Day said.
Several personnel were interviewed for details in the investigation. School officials have been cautioned by law enforcement against releasing details in the case.
Edwards resigned from her job recently, according to Day.
Detective Ira Taylor worked the case and developed enough evidence for a warrant on Jan. 6.