Suspended Robeson Co. deputy says in retirement letter he served county with “integrity and dignity”

State - Regional

News13 has obtained a retirement letter and other documents for two Robeson County deputies who were previously suspended.

On January 9, Sheriff Wilkins received a retirement letter from Major Anthony Thompson. In the letter, Thompson said he served with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office for 34.5 years and that he served with “integrity and dignity.”

“I have prayerfully decided to retire effective immediately from my position as Major, Jail Administrator,” Thompson said in the letter. “I have served this county with integrity and dignity during my career at the Sheriff’s Office.”

“I thank you Sheriff Wilkins for allowing me the opportunity to serve with you and being a part of your administrative staff. For that I am grateful. If I can ever be of any assistance to your or your staff feel free to let me know,” Thompson added.

Paperwork for Thompson notes that he was suspended twice without pay. He was suspended for one day, or eight hours of a pay period without pay, in 2003 and for 24 hours of a pay period in 1999.

The documents don’t provide a reason for Thompson’s suspensions.

News13 has reached out to the NC Criminal Justice Academy for more information.

In a letter dated January 17, 2019, Sheriff Wilkins told Detective Darryl McPhatter an internal investigation was complete and that McPhatter would no longer work for the department. 

“Based on the findings of the investigation, I have determined that you failed to comply with the high standard of conduct that I have set forth and would expect from any member of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. Your continued employment within the Sheriff’s Office would not be consistent with office policy or the expected standard of conduct,” Sheriff Wilkins said in the letter. “Therefore, effective immediately, your services with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office are no longer needeed.”

Sheriff Wilkins sent letters to Thompson and McPhatter on December 19 informing both men they were being placed on paid suspension.

Sheriff Wilkins confirmed to News13 in December that he had suspended Thompson and McPhatter with pay “pending the final outcome of an internal investigation.”

Wilkins previously said he could not comment on the reason(s) for the suspensions at the time. He also would not say if the suspensions were related to the handling of a 2016 rape case that News13 previously reported was part of an internal review at the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

The 2016 rape was linked to Michael Ray McLellan. McLellan is the suspect arrested and charged in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said DNA linked McLellan to a rape in 2016, but he said the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office did not follow up on the information when his office sent it to the sheriff’s office.

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