A group of missionaries from North Carolina were walking across the United States and had walked more than 5,000 miles by the time they reached Madison County. Jesse Boyd was accompanied on his journey across America by his daughter Bethany, son Josiah, and fellow missionaries Eric Trent and Carter Phillips.
On November 12, 2022, they pulled their support vehicle over on US 287 near mile marker 35 near Cameron Drive. As they were loading their support vehicle with their belongings, Boyd says the owner of the Dream Drift Motel on Cameron Drive, Brad Terrell, pulled up to them in his pickup truck and confronted them.
“He rolled the window down and just began to curse and scream about 'You people think you own the place you can just park wherever you want. You can block access to people's businesses,'” says Boyd.
Boyd says he tried to reason with Terrell, but when he wouldn't calm down with his cursing and screaming, he snapped back.
Boyd says, “I said, 'Sir, you need to go home and wash your filthy mouth out with soap. There's no reason to talk that way out here. There's women and children. Just go on and we're leaving.'”
Boyd says Terrell put his car in park and got out.
“He said three words that I'll never forget: 'I'll...show...you,'” says Boyd.
Before Terrell got out of his car, Boyd says he saw him reach for something which he believed could have been a gun or a knife. To protect his children and fellow missionaries, he said he did what he thought he had to do. He pulled out his firearm.
“I pointed to his direction and I was very clear. I'm in fear for my life. There's children out here and we will defend ourselves. You need to get in your vehicle," says Boyd.
Boyd says after some time it seemed as though he and his fellow missionaries were reasoning with Terrell. Boyd says he then told Trent to take his gun and put it away.
“The moment I gave up my weapon he became very aggressive and he came into my personal space," says Boyd.
Boyd says Terrell assaulted him. He says Terrell pinned him up against his vehicle and punched him first, breaking his glasses.
"And in those moments I fought back and he's a big man. He wrestled me to the ground. I was buried in snow," explained Boyd.
Boyd states that his daughter and fellow missionaries jumped in to help get Terrell off of him. Once the fighting stopped, they immediately called 911. Boyd says he explained to the operator that it was self-defense. Terrell came out of the fight with a bloody nose and Boyd had a bleeding leg.
“What immediately happened was that multiple law enforcement vehicles were on the scene. And we were 'swatted.' We were ordered out of the vehicle one by one including my 12-year-old son with multiple rifles pointed at us and guns,” says Boyd.
Boyd along with his 18-year-old daughter Bethany and fellow missionaries were arrested. His 12-year-old son Josiah was taken by Child Protective Services and put into foster care.
Boyd claims the Madison County Deputies were unprofessional: “The guy that was in charge eventually came around and you know just he made a snide remark to me - 'He's injured, you're not, you attacked an innocent man. You're going to jail for a long time,' and then he turned and said, 'So is your teenage daughter.'”
Bethany said when the deputies checked her in, they were unprofessional.
“[They were] very unprofessional in the office while they're checking me in using bad language. Remarking jokes back to me, it was just a very unprofessional experience” says Bethany Boyd.
Boyd accuses Madison County of being corrupt. “I mean, all you got to do is do a little reading. There's a history of some corruption there,” says Boyd.
Boyd, his daughter, and fellow missionaries spent four days in county jails.
MTN News talked with an employee of one of Terrell's businesses, Dream Drift Flies. He said Terrell wouldn't talk, but they are waiting on the truth to come out and that only one side of the story has been reported.
Madison County Sheriff's Office says they will not comment on an open investigation.
The missionaries are expected to appear in court on December 13.
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