A former Atlanta-area prep football star, who later was recruited to play at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, is behind bars after he reportedly posed as a teen and enrolled at Baldwin High School.
The case is under investigation by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, as well as officials with the Baldwin County School District and Baldwin County Department of Family and Children’s Services, The Union-Recorder has learned.
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Scott Deason identified the suspect as 21-year-old Abay Holmes, who originally is from Cobb County. He was taken into custody Tuesday by local authorities.
He is being held in the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center on charges of giving a false name, address, and birthdate to a law enforcement officer, and giving false statements or writings to conceal facts or fraudulent documents, jail records show.
Holmes also has a “hold” placed on him by detectives who are attempting to learn more “the true depth” of the case and whether or not he has been a part of similar activity in the past that might have been illegal, Deason said.
“They’re still looking into all of that at this time,” said Deason. “Apparently, he convinced a homeowner in this community to let him stay with them because he was 14 and had nowhere else to go,” Deason said. “They got ready to put him out, and they called us, and we started doing some investigating.”
Detective Capt. Brad King, who heads the criminal investigation division of the sheriff’s office, said the charges were brought against Holmes after a call to authorities received about an unruly juvenile at the home where he was living.
Deputy Brandon Towe responded to the residence.
Deason said the incident led to the fingerprints of the suspect being taken by DFACS and that the prints revealed that he was 21 years old and not 14.
“So, he was arrested for giving false statements to us,” Deason said. “As far as what he did at school — that will be a school conversation. I don’t know if he is actually a student, was a student, or was enrolled. That will be something the school will have to answer.”
Deason said it was his understanding that Holmes had presented false identification documents to school officials.
“My understanding is that he was accepted into the school, virtually, and then showed up at the school,” King said.
When he showed up at the school, Holmes reportedly was told he couldn’t be on campus because he was a virtual student.
“That’s my understanding, from the very quick conversation that I had with [Deputy] Towe,” King said. “He was enrolled as a virtual student. He had a laptop that was Baldwin County School District property.”
King said a laptop that had been issued to Holmes by the school district has since been returned to the school.
When reached for comment earlier in the week, Felicia Cummings, schools and community relations coordinator, said via email that there was no record of Holmes being enrolled as a student.
“In reference to your inquiry, we do not have a record of a student by the name of Abay Holmes being enrolled in Baldwin High School or any school within our school district,” she said in an emailed statement.
King said the investigation thus far had revealed that Holmes conned a local woman into believing an elaborate story that he had made up about being a troubled teen with no place to live.
The latest incident involving Holmes isn’t his first run-end with authorities.
Savanna Roughen, an assistant district attorney with the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, said she prosecuted Holmes and two other former GMC students in 2017 after the break-in of several vehicles on school property.
While at a student at GMC, Holmes and two of his friends were arrested in connection with the theft of items from several vehicles.
“There were three co-defendants in the case,” recalled Roughen. “But only one of them was actually charged with entering an auto. They kinda all agreed on who was actually going into the cars and it wasn’t Mr. Holmes. It was a co-defendant of his.”
Holmes was charged with one count of financial transaction card theft and five counts of financial transaction card fraud, according to Roughen.
The credit cards were used primarily at gas stations and other downtown businesses in Milledgeville.
Holmes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft by taking on Dec. 15, 2017.
“He served a year on JAG probation,” Roughen said.
Roughen said she understood that Holmes and the two other co-defendants left college, thus ending Holmes’ chances of playing college football.
Roughen said she received a call from Deputy Towe about the case.
“He (Towe) knew right away something was off because the guy didn’t look 14 to him,” Roughen said.