A woman who had been on the lam for more than a year after failing to return from a jail day pass was arrested in Georgia Thursday morning, the day after an article detailing her flight from justice appeared in The Union.
Elizabeth Ann Monk had been serving a jail sentence after being convicted of multiple charges involving elderly victims but had been a fugitive from Wayne Brown Correctional Facility since November 2011. She was arrested after a traffic stop in Dooly County, Georgia, and arrangements are being made for her extradition, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.
Dooly County Sheriff’s Lt. Darby Colvin said he was working in a specialized traffic unit that conducts criminal interdiction on Interstate 75, which runs “right down the middle of Georgia,” when he pulled the vehicle over at about 10 a.m. Dooly County sits in the center of the state, south of Macon.
Colvin said the vehicle in which Monk was a passenger attracted the deputies’ attention because of several lane violations, including a failure to signal while changing lanes.
“Once he saw us, (the male driver) kind of went into a frenzy,” Colvin said.
After deputies conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, they allegedly smelled marijuana and searched the vehicle, finding what Colvin described as a small, misdemeanor amount of pot.
The driver was “extremely nervous” and was found to have a suspended license, Colvin said.
His female passenger “kept shaking” and “wouldn’t make eye contact,” he added.
“We were trying to figure out who she was,” Colvin said. The woman allegedly told deputies she did not have a driver’s license and gave them a name that did not come up as accurate when they tried to run it through the database.
“Then she said maybe her license was from California, but nothing came back there either,” Colvin said.
Deputies got a break when they discovered a small women’s bag under the passenger’s seat that contained a California driver’s license that had expired in 2010 in the name of Elizabeth Ann Monk.
“She tried to say the driver’s license was her sister’s, but she had already given us Elizabeth as her first name,” Colvin said. “I wasn’t calling her a liar at first. I said, ‘I guess your mother named you both Elizabeth.’”
Monk eventually admitted it was her license, he said, and her name popped up as having an arrest warrant. She was booked into the Dooly County Jail on suspicion of giving a false name and possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
Nevada County convictions
ended in jail time
Monk had taken a plea agreement in October 2011 after being charged in three separate cases involving writing bad checks.
In the first case, Monk was charged with one count of passing a check with insufficient funds after writing a check for nearly $2,000 to a local woman and one count of forgery in connection with a check to Washington Mutual Bank. On the second case, she was charged with forgery, elder theft and writing a check with insufficient funds. The third case, filed less than a month later, charged her with one count of writing a check with insufficient funds.
Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong said Monk’s pattern was to gain her victims’ trust, write checks and abscond with the money.
Monk eventually agreed to plead no contest to one count of writing checks with insufficient funds in each of the three cases. She was given a suspended sentence and three years probation and was to serve 249 days in county jail.
On Nov. 10, 2011, Monk requested a day pass from jail, which was granted. She never returned.
A warrant was issued, and her probation was revoked; a new case later was filed, charging her with escape from custody.
After a recent probation search failed to turn up any sign of Monk, Brenda Marden, the daughter of one of her victims, publicized her disappearance in the hopes that a news story would bring some information as to her whereabouts.
Marden got a big surprise Thursday when a television crew broke the news of the arrest to her during an on-camera interview.
“It’s unbelievable,” Marden said. “You put things out to the universe, and strange things happen … Is this a coincidence, really?”
Monk currently faces a potential sentence of a year and a day for the escape charge, as well as the possible imposition of her suspended sentence, which adds up to a maximum of four years and four months.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.