2021: A year in review
The top 10 stories of the past year

Published 7:05 am Friday, December 31, 2021

The past year has been one filled with good news and bad; fun times and hard times. As we look back on 2021, The Advocate-Messenger would like to share with our readers the top stories of 2021 based on visits to our website, www.amnews.com.
As of Dec. 29, 2021, we have had more than 2.6 million pages viewed on our site. While there, they have read stories and viewed photographs about local government news, area crime, sports, and more.
Below is a listing of the top 10 stories of 2021, along with the number of visitors who looked at each story on our website, and a brief portion of that story.

10. Four arrested on drug charges following investigation

Web Page Visits – 6,369
Published: March 5, 2021
Four Somerset residents were arrested on drug-related charges Thursday night following an investigation at Danville’s Red Roof Inn.
According to the Boyle County Sheriff K9 Deputy Tanner Abbot, he and four other officers, including K9 Aja, conducted an investigation at the location for four or five hours. Two of the suspects were arrested in the motel room and two others were arrested where they were inside a vehicle in the parking lot, Abbott said.
He added that they believe the four suspects were intending to sell the drugs from inside their motel room. Officers seized marijuana, suboxone pills, drug paraphernalia, about 13 ounces of methamphetamine and about $3,000 in cash.

Email newsletter signup

9. Widow claims advising group, owned by Danville mayor, gave unauthorized access

Web Page Visits- 6,429
Published: Feb. 22, 2021
Encompass Financial Advisors LLC and its owner, Mike Perros, are being sued by a Danville woman for allegedly allowing unauthorized access to her personal accounts, where more than $90,000 was eventually depleted.
The suit was filed by Audrey Walter on Feb. 15, on behalf of herself and her three children, in Boyle Circuit Court against the company and Perros, who is also mayor of Danville.
Court records show Walter claims the business allowed her late husband, Matthew Walter, access to her accounts and others opened for the benefit of their minor children, over the course of several years.

8. Hinkle fired as county treasurer

Hinkle fired as county treasurer

Web Page Visits- 6,784
Published: July 27, 2021
Boyle County Treasurer Keagan Hinkle was notified that his employment with the county was being terminated following a 10-day paid administrative leave of absence effective Tuesday.
Following Boyle County Fiscal Court’s two-hour and 45-minute closed executive session, Magistrate Jamey Gay made the motion to “terminate our treasurer” and immediately place him on paid administrative absence. Hinkle would have the opportunity to request a termination hearing based on the court’s decision within 10 days of receiving the letter of intent for termination.
The fiscal court will preside over the termination hearing if one is requested. County Attorney Chris Herron said Hinkle does have an attorney.

7. Officers investigating police-involved shooting at Super 8 Motel

Web Page Visits – 6,933
Published: July 6, 2021
Danville Police and the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office, along with Kentucky State Police, are in the parking lot at the Super 8 Motel on the South Danville Bypass.
Kentucky State Police Public Relations Officer Adam Hall has issued a statement that a police-involved shooting is being investigated, and officers will be on the scene for “a couple more hours.”
Boyle County Coroner Don Hamner and Deputy Coroner Mike Wilder are on the scene, although no death has been confirmed.

6. Keith’s confession brings an abrupt end to 2013 triple-murder case

Web Page Visits – 7,230
Published: March 12, 2020
Editor’s note: This is the final part of a series on a case overview of the ABC pawn shop murders in Danville, with lead detective, Maj. Kevin Peel.
As investigators continued scouring through mounds of evidence eventually stacked up against Kenneth Allen Keith connecting him to the 2013 ABC pawn shop triple murder, Maj. Kevin Peel said they came across the most critical piece of evidence.
“The receipt from Dan’s receipt book,” Peel said, referring to gold buyer Dan Smith, who was killed along with Michael and Angela Hockensmith by Keith seven years ago. The book was in triplicate; Peel said Smith was known to give the pink copy to the person he bought gold from and attach the yellow copy to a detailed sheet showing exactly what he’d purchased, which was kept inside his briefcase.

5. County discovers more evidence supporting ‘neglect of duty’ by county treasurer

Web Page Visits – 8,712
Published: Aug. 1, 2021
Grounds supporting the county’s intent to terminate the employment of Boyle County Treasurer Keagan Hinkle demonstrate his “neglect of duty” and other issues including inappropriate actions and comments to staff members, in addition to instigating a public confrontation following a board of adjustment’s meeting on June 20.
Hinkle was placed on paid leave of absence July 27 and was notified of the county’s intent to terminate his employment. He was given the opportunity to request a termination hearing within 10 days.
Hinkle’s attorney, Josh Tucker of Nicholasville, scheduled the hearing for Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. at the Boyle County Courthouse, which will be presided over by Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt and the fiscal court.

4. Boyle deputy fired for alleged ethics violation

Web Page Visits – 12,961
Published: Sept. 13, 2021
After Tanner Abbott was terminated last Tuesday, relieved of his duties as a deputy with the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office, a firestorm of social media posts began circulating. Speculation about why Abbott was fired focused on a Facebook comment he made earlier that day, where he tagged an individual and said the person had been “texting me, trying to set someone up, to work off your drug charges …”
Sheriff Derek Robbins confirmed Abbot was terminated, but could only say that he was fired for an ethics violation. “I’m not the only one looking into it, I wanted to make sure of that, so there’s an ongoing investigation that I cannot compromise by talking about.”
Abbott could not be reached for comment.

3. Danville Independent Schools superintendent to resign

Web Page Visits – 17,184
Published: Sept. 21, 2021
Danville Independent Schools Superintendent Tammy McDonald is resigning from her position effective Oct. 10.
She said in an email that she is resigning to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with her family.
“I will be working for the Franklin County School District,” she said. “Being hired as the director of curriculum and instruction is going to allow me to return to my first love. I have always had a passion for instruction.”
McDonald has been superintendent for Danville Schools since 2018. With her resignation, she’s also moving away from Danville.
“My husband and I own a family farm in Owen County, and I am excited to be able to live on the family farm full time,” she said.

2. Who was Matt Walter? Family, colleagues left wondering following lawsuits, missing money after his death

Danville’s Matt Walter remembered for his good humor, efforts to help kids

Web Page Visits – 22,392
Published: March 1, 2021
One year after a Danville attorney’s suicide, his family and colleagues are still asking themselves: Who was Matt Walter, really; and what happened to the money he stole?”
Two recent lawsuits involve Walter’s alleged illegal “pillaging” of his wife and three children’s college savings, investment and retirement accounts, and another claims Walter illegally wrote checks to himself out of an estate account where he was executor. These two suits have brought to light other mystifying and illegal actions Walter hid for years from those who loved and respected him.
Now, his widow, Audrey Walter, and former office colleague, Ephraim Helton, want to talk about what they have discovered.
“We have more questions than we have answers, and I don’t think that we’ll ever find the answers to our questions,” Helton said. “We’re not even sure who he was. He was a person that we’ve uncovered, isn’t the person that we all saw everyday. It’s not the person we all loved. It’s not the person we all supported. It’s not the person we probably would have gone to the end of the earth for. I mean, Matt was like a child to me. I would have done anything for him. But now, I don’t know who he was.”

1. Perryville Idol: Local girl is contestant on American Idol

Web Page Visits – 34,492
Published: Feb. 18, 2021
Alyssa Wray’s first time on an airplane was to Ojai, California, for her American Idol audition in November. Now, she’s a contestant this season on American Idol on ABC.
She had a Zoom audition beforehand and was invited to Ojai to audition in front of the judges. She was there for about five days, got to rehearse with her pianist before her audition, and on her last day there, she performed for the judges. She said in the days leading up to her audition, she was very nervous, and her mom, who was there with her, helped calm her down. She was dealing with a lot of emotions because “That could potentially change my life — the audition.”
“Then when I walked into the room, I kind of lost all the nerves for some reason, and it was kind of weird,” she said. “I thought I was going to be nervous about my audition, but I wasn’t. I just felt right at home. I just felt super comfortable, like that was what I was meant to be doing.”