I-TEAM: Digging deeper into Burke County erased arrest

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 6:57 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Our I-TEAM is digging deeper into the case of a disappearing arrest.

Tuesday night, we showed you how Waynesboro police arrested two men on the same felony charges connected to the same felony incident.

One of them has a mug shot and a record of his arrest in the system.

The other does not.

Aside from body-cam footage the I-TEAM uncovered, it’s like his arrest never happened at all. The difference is that Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams got involved. Sheriff Williams says that’s because he’s a prominent businessman. Our I-TEAM also found he donated to Williams’ campaign for sheriff.


Now, our I-TEAM is taking a closer look at the heart of this case: the elderly woman who sparked the arrests in the first place.

Her name is Aluan Bryant, and the 78-year-old was supposed to be in court Wednesday, but a big development late Tuesday changed all that.

We begin high above a home on Westgate Drive in Waynesboro because that’s where the stakes are for Aluan Bryant – HIGH.

Aluan Bryant, Ms. Mona
Aluan Bryant, Ms. Mona(Contributed)

Ms. Mona, as everyone calls her, owned the home for decades, until she sold it for $28,467 when the fair market value was $71,001.

Warrants that have since been dismissed say Gary Flakes Jr. bought it from her with the help of Daniel Nunn.

Documents show Nunn moved in with Ms. Mona “at the direction of Flakes” and that both “Flakes and Nunn knew or should have known that the victim suffers from a diminished mental capacity.”

The day Nunn is arrested at her house, Ms. Mona pleads with officers to let him move his vehicle so one of her nurses can pull in the driveway.


Medical records might not be public record, but court orders are. Waynesboro police sent Ms. Mona’s doctors an order for records “pertaining to a dementia diagnosis.”

Still, the I-TEAM found other clues all over the case file that could paint a picture of her mental state.

Body cam footage captured Waynesboro Investigator Emerald Hambrick giving Miss Mona a state-recognized cognitive test where they met at the Huddle House. She tells Ms. Mona her name and then tells her it’s VERY important she remember it. Ms. Mona tells the investigator she has trouble with her memory. Then Investigator Hambrick asks Ms. Mona a series of other simple questions.

Inv. Hambrick: “Can you tell me what time of the day it is right now?”

Ms. Mona: “What time’s the day right now?

Inv. Hambrick: “Yes, m’am.”

Ms. Mona: “I ain’t see no time. I don’t know.”

Inv. Hambrick: “You don’t know the time?”

Ms. Mona: “I don’t see no time.”

Inv Hambrick: “Can you tell me where we’re at?”

Ms. Mona: “Waffle House.”

The I-TEAM's Meredith Anderson is interviewed on national news about her latest investigation.

Inv Hambrick: “In what city?”

Ms. Mona: “In Waynesboro…”

Inv. Hambrick: “In Waynesboro …”

Inv. Hambrick: “And what did I tell you my name was?”

Mona: “I tell you my memory’s no good.”

Ms. Mona failed the cognitive test.

Not even 45 seconds later, she forgot the investigator’s name.

In that same interview, Ms.Mona can’t also recall a very important fact.

Inv. Hambrick: “Do you remember how much you sold the house for?”

Ms. Mona: “How much it sold for? I don’t remember. My memory – the doctor tell me I have a little bit Alzheimer’s.”

Her case file includes calls with a close friend who describes calling Miss Mona’s daughter, a traveling nurse, to tell her about her mom’s health.

“I did tell her, ‘Baby, your momma’s going downhill. She’s got dementia real bad.’ And she asked me how long she been like that, and I told her, ‘She’s been like this for a while, but it’s getting worse and worse.’”

Gary Flakes Jr. no longer owns Ms. Mona’s home. He sold it to Eddie Taylor for $50,000.

Gary Flakes Jr. doesn’t have a mug shot.
Gary Flakes Jr. doesn’t have a mug shot.(Contributed)

Flakes made a profit, Taylor got a deal, and Ms.Mona got an eviction letter.

Now, Eddie Taylor is suing her for back rent.

The I-TEAM requested to have cameras in that hearing, but a judge denied our request.

We got our lawyers involved, and the judge agreed to let us in.

Eddie Taylor fought to keep us out.

The I-TEAM was set to go to court Wednesday morning with our attorney, until late Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Mona’s lawyer asked for a guardian ad litem to represent her because of her “diminished capacity.”

That means the case now moves to Superior Court.

Ms. Mona now claims she doesn’t even remember selling her house.

Could this new development possibly help her in her fight to save it?

When the District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges, it said there was probable cause for arrest but not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

The D.A.’s Office did connect Ms. Mona to legal services, which is how she is now getting legal help.

It’s civil court, though. It’s not criminal court.

However, as with all cases dismissed this way, there is a possibility it could be reopened. Of course, we will keep you posted.