Police in Milledgeville, Georgia arrested a man they say posed as a homeless 14-year-old freshman enrolled at a local high school.
Authorities identified the man as 21-year-old Abay Holmes of Milledgeville, WMAZ reported. Police said Holmes reported himself as a teen named Awan Thomas and enrolled virtually at Baldwin County High School.
The district resumed classes Aug. 19 with students learning both virtually and in-person during the coronavirus pandemic.
Holmes reportedly provided a fake name, birthdate, home address, social security number and other fraudulent information to register as a student at the school last week, The Union-Recorder reported, citing local authorities. The district then issued him a laptop to complete his coursework.
It wasn’t until Aug. 25 that police realized the “student” wasn’t who he said he was.
A good Samaritan who let the homeless “teen” stay at her home called police after he became “unruly” and disrespectful, Capt. Brad King with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office told McClatchy News. When she asked that he leave, the woman said Holmes tried taking the school-issued laptop with him but she refused.
Deputies managed to catch up with Holmes after he left the home.
“We got the [Department of Family and Childrens’ Services] involved because he was claiming to be 14 and homeless, and didn’t have any family,” King said. “As DFACS was attempting to place him, he was ultimately fingerprinted. And when he was fingerprinted, they found out that he was 21-year-old Abay Holmes.”
Holmes was later charged with providing false statements to police and the Baldwin County School District.
Authorites said Holmes lived in Milledgville, but has previous addresses in metro-Atlanta. As a virtual learner, King said at no point did Holmes have access to the Baldwin County High School campus or school-aged children.
“I have no reason to believe this has anything to do with him trying to access school-aged kids,” he told McClatchy. “He was trapped in that lie of being 14 [years old] so, he had to play that out as far as he could play it.”
Records show Holmes was “a star football player at a metro-Atlanta high school” and was recruited to play at Georgia Military College after graduation, according to the Union-Recorder. He got into trouble, however, and was expelled from school, along with two other GMC students, the newspaper reported.
Officials with the Baldwin County School District said they are cooperating with the sheriff’s office investigation.
Holmes remains in custody at the Baldwin County Jail.