UPDATE (5:47 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24): Marcus Dudley is now at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston. Law enforcement brought him back to West Virginia after being held in Henry County, Georgia.
KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Marcus Dudley, the former Chapmanville Police Department officer who is facing charges stemming from the disappearance of his K-9, Chase, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon, according to Judge Louis H. Bloom’s office.
Judge Bloom’s office says it is scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Debra Rusnak said Dudley will be back in Kanawha County sometime Thursday.
Dudley, 26, who was being held in Henry County, Georgia, after not showing up for his arraignment in Kanawha County, had to have an extradition hearing before being brought back to West Virginia. On Aug. 17, he waived this hearing, meaning law enforcement in Kanawha County had to go to Georgia to bring him back.
A Kanawha County grand jury indicted Dudley on Aug. 3, around four months after Chase went missing. He is facing charges of animal cruelty, falsely reporting an emergency and making false statements, according to his indictment.
The indictment said Dudley called first responders to his South Charleston home after allegedly falsely reporting that Chase had escaped from his yard.
Dudley did not show up for his arraignment because he allegedly could not find a way to get from Georgia to West Virginia. Judge Louis Bloom called this a “pretty shallow excuse.”
Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Debra Rusnak said Marcus Charles Dudley, 26, was arrested after deputies with the Henry County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office searched Dudley’s father’s home, around 30 miles outside of Atlanta. He is being held in the Henry County Jail without bond. He will remain in Henry County until extradition proceedings are finished; however, these proceedings could take up to 90 days to start.
Rusnak hosted a press conference at the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Prior to the conference, she told Nexstar’s WOWK that Dudley was caught outside of West Virginia, but the exact whereabouts were not released until the conference.
“We were informed by members of the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, and that’s in Georgia, this morning that a warrant was executed on the residence of Marcus Dudley’s father and that Marcus Dudley was apprehended without incident,” said Debra Rusnak. “He is currently being housed in the Henry County Jail in Georgia, where he will remain until the extradition proceedings are finished, and we can bring him back to Kanawha County.”
Meanwhile, the question of “Where is Chase?” still remains unanswered.
“Everyone has asked both law enforcement as well as our office ‘What are we doing?’ ‘How do we know this dog is out there?’ ‘Is he alive?’ ‘Can we have some answers?’” Rusnak said. “As much as we want to give you those answers, I simply don’t have all of the answers. And as much as the public wants to know what happened, we want to know as well.”
In a statement, South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart said in part, “[The South Charleston Police Department] has received a tremendous amount of community support and assistance in its efforts to find Chase. Unfortunately, he has yet to be located. However, SCPD remains committed to finding Chase.”
Chapmanville Police Chief Alan Browning said, “From day one, the Town of Chapmanville and Chapmanville Police Department have cooperated with South Charleston Police Department in the investigation of our missing K-9, Chase. The Town and its police department are hopeful that the actions of the Kanawha County Grand Jury will help to shed light on this unfortunate situation and ultimately obtain justice for Chase.”
K-9 Chase went missing on April 11, 2023, after Dudley reported that Chase jumped over the fence and escaped his home in South Charleston. Chase finished his training just this past March before working with the Chapmanville Police Department.
However, the SCPD said Dudley’s statements “weren’t adding up.” According to the SCPD in May, Dudley has since moved out of South Charleston.
The Chapmanville Police Department said on April 24, that Chase’s former handler, Marcus Dudley, was no longer employed by the department. Before that, he had been on administrative leave since Chase’s disappearance.
Following their investigation, the SCPD turned the case over to the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on June 21, 2022.