ATHENS-On August 28, 2023, Investigator Jeff Kilpatrick took a report for Sexual Abuse 1st Degree that occurred in Limestone County, AL. The victim reported meeting Ronald Vernarr Hughes, a Homewood (AL) Police Officer, on the dating app Hinge, where they began to discuss meeting for a date. Hughes traveled to the victim’s home in Limestone County from his home in Blount County.
Chief Investigator Caleb Durden and Investigator Jesse Gibson conducted the investigation and presented the case to a Limestone County Grand Jury this month. The Grand Jury found probable cause to indict Hughes for Sexual Abuse 1st Degree.
A warrant was issued, and Hughes turned himself in at the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, November 17, 2023. Hughes was released on a $10,000 bond.
Please use caution when using dating apps online to meet people. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe:
1. Use different photos for your dating app than you do for social media. Suspicious individuals may reverse search your picture to find you on social media.
2. If a person you’ve matched doesn’t have a bio or only has a single photo, it may be a fake account; use caution.
3. Be sure to share only limited personal information on dating apps or social media.
4. Don’t be afraid to block and report suspicious users.
5. Never respond to requests for financial assistance under any circumstance on social media or dating apps.
6. Video chat before meeting in person.
7. Never rely on your date for transportation; meet them in public.
8. Make sure a reliable friend knows where you’re going and who you are meeting.
9. If needed, enlist the help of wait staff or other staff at the public place you meet or call law enforcement if you feel uncomfortable.
10. Trust your gut; don’t hesitate to cut the date short and walk away if something feels off.
Media Release/Limestone County Sheriff