BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Neighbors of a Bell County woman who died along with her three grandchildren in a fire earlier this month are accused of stealing from the property.
The Bell County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a home on Hurst Hollow Road after family members of 59-year-old Beulah Faye Mullins reported several items missing from a small camper on the property. Those items included firearms, a generator, a wire welder, carbide lamps, and copper wire. Deputies say one family member showed them pictures of guns she believed belonged to Mullins that were being sold on Facebook.
Deputies say the burglary happened sometime between January 7, when the fire happened that killed Mullins, 12-year-old Sierra Posey, 11-year-old Cynthia Posey and 8-year-old Shawn Posey, and January 8.
During their investigation, deputies say they found out a neighbor of the victim, 20-year-old Dillon Jerel Nichols, had attempted to sell a .22 caliber Remington rifle and a 9mm Hi-Point pistol on Facebook on Wednesday January 8, but was unsuccessful. Then a few days later, Nichols, along with his father, 55-year-old Ralph Nichols, went to East End Pawn Shop in Middlesboro, and pawned the stolen rifle for $60.00, according to investigators. They say a woman, Retta Howard, returned to the pawn shop and sold the 9 mm pistol for $50.
On Wednesday, January 22, the sheriff’s office say deputies went back to the property because of a complaint of people trespassing and saw the same vehicle Ralph Nichols and Dillon Nichols were seen in at the pawn shop parked in the driveway of the home. They found the two men, along with Retta Howard, Devereux Dewayne Wilder and two other people on the property. Deputies say Dillon and Ralph Nichols, Howard, and Wilder were all arrested. The two other people were allowed to go.
Deputies charged Ralph and Dillon Nichols with burglary, receiving stolen property, and theft by deception. Ralph Dillon was also charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
Wilder was served an outstanding warrant.
Howard was served an outstanding bench warrant, but only cited due to a medical condition.