A nine-year veteran of Barrow County Emergency Services was fired Dec. 6 after his arrest on 29 child pornography charges. Agents from the Barrow County Task Force and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation went to the Lodgeview Drive home of Willie “Bill” Stancil Etheridge Jr. at about 7 a.m. Thursday and searched his home and computer.

At 1:44 p.m. he was booked into the Barrow County Detention Center, where he remained incarcerated Friday morning with no bond yet set. The arrest report states he was charged with 29 counts of sexual exploitation of children. A spokesman for the Barrow County Sheriff's Office said additional charges are anticipated pending the completion of the investigation. GBI agents provided computer forensic assistance, according to a spokesman for the state agency.

BCES Chief Dennis Merrifield confirmed Friday morning that a firefighter/emergency medical technician had been terminated Thursday following his arrest.

“As a result we terminated his employment effective yesterday,” Merrifield said in an e-mail in response to the newspaper's inquiry. “I will not comment further on anything relating to the termination as I make it a practice not to talk about personnel matters.”

Etheridge had worked for the county fire department since March 2003 and was assigned to Station 1 in Statham.

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