Suspect accused of killing Dickson County deputy in custody

The TBI released this photo of Steven Wiggins in police custody. (Source: TBI)

The TBI has confirmed that Steven Wiggins, who is accused of killing Sgt. Daniel Baker, was taken into custody Friday morning.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Trooper Kevin Burch arrested Wiggins on Stinson Road, which is right at the Dickson-Hickman County line.

Burch reportedly saw Wiggins on the edge of a wood line and approached him. Once he got closer to Wiggins, Burch recognized him, which is when he drew his weapon and ordered Wiggins to the ground. Wiggins was "obedient" and was arrested without incident, according to THP Colonel Dereck Stewart.

Officials declined to comment if Wiggins was armed.

Wiggins was taken to TriStar Natchez ER off Highway 46 in Dickson. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Wiggins' injuries are not life-threatening and are consistent with him being out in the woods for several days.

Wiggins left the ER around 5:30 p.m. and arrived at the Dickson County Jail just before 6 p.m. After being booked there, he will be held in the Davidson County maximum security facility on Harding Place. He is being held without bond.

Sheriff Daron Hall made the offer to house Wiggins in Davidson County.

"It's one less thing Sheriff (Jeff) Bledsoe had to think about. Best practice is you would not house the individual in your own jail because of the circumstances," said Karla West, spokeswoman for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, in an email. "Sheriff Hall wanted to make clear that was one thing Sheriff Bledsoe didn't need to have to even think about. Like the sheriff said in his tweet, they have been through enough. It's the least we can do."

Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said he spoke with Wiggins after his arrest but would not reveal what he said to him. Bledsoe also said Wiggins was wearing Baker's handcuffs when he left the hospital.

"This has been a trying week for each of us. We've had a heavy load and some heavy lifting, but we couldn't have done this without all our partners that have been involved," said Bledsoe during a news conference.

FULL VIDEO: Watch the TBI news conference announcing the capture of Steven Wiggins

THP Col. Stewart issued this statement about the arrest:Great job performed by the men and women of local, state & federal law enforcement, National Guard Reserve, media and our citizens. Due to the professional, never quit approach to how you conducted yourselves Steven Wiggins was located and arrested. I am very proud of everyone.District Attorney General Ray Crouch Jr. said both Wiggins and his girlfriend, Erika Castro-Miles, are charged with first-degree premeditated murder.

"Based upon the evidence and aggravating factors in this case, the State will be seeking the death penalty for both defendants. The defendants are without bail and we will argue against any request for bail," said Crouch in a statement.

Sheriff Bledsoe said that while he knows the court process will take a while, he'll be there each step of the way.

"Even if they have to wheel me into the courthouse, I'll be there," Bledsoe said.

Baker was killed on the morning of Wednesday, May 30.

He was in the area of Sam Vineyard Road responding to a report about a suspicious vehicle around 7 a.m. When his fellow officers didn't hear from him, they tracked his car using GPS. They later found Baker dead in his cruiser in a wooded area.

According to NBC News, Wiggins took Sgt. Baker’s gun and car. Wiggins and his girlfriend then ditched the car, according to Paul McCallister, the director of the Dickson County Emergency Communications Center.

Investigators said video showed Wiggins running away from the scene.

The manhunt for Wiggins initially started in the area of Bear Creek Valley Road and Tidwell Switch Road. Later searches focused on an area near Interstate 40 and the Highway 48 exit.

Bledsoe said the terrain made the search more difficult.

"You know how thick the woods can be, you know the terrain can be treacherous, it can be very demanding and trying when we get the temperatures and humidity like we're having yesterday and today. We have to take care of our people; They have to stay hydrated, and we have to keep an eye on them," said Bledsoe in a previous interview. "We don't want any other injuries or any other issues that will result from our efforts to hold him accountable."

Officers in Kingston Springs had already been searching for Wiggins after his girlfriend, Castro-Miles, called police Tuesday morning. According to a police report, Wiggins slapped her, pulled her hair out, pointed a gun at her head and threatened to shoot her before stealing her car and taking off. The woman told police he had been taking meth and smoking marijuana.

Castro-Miles was arrested on Wednesday and is charged with first-degree murder in connection with Sgt. Baker's death. Castro-Miles, 38, remains in custody at the Dickson County Jail. Authorities said they determined that Castro-Miles participated in the murder.

Castro-Miles was found underneath the home of Steve Adams. Adams spoke to News4 about finding her.

"That's when we ordered them to come out, we didn't know if it was him or who it was," said Adams. "Finally, after awhile, we got them out and it ended up being the girl."

Court records show Wiggins is no stranger to police. He has convictions for aggravated assault, theft, vandalism and domestic assault.

The Tennessee Department of Correction confirms Wiggins was supposed to report for community supervision earlier this year but did not show up. His status is currently listed as absconded, meaning the state wanted to find him.

 

Baker, 32, joined the Dickson County Sheriff's Department in February 2008. He was promoted to patrol corporal in April 2011 and became a patrol sergeant in September 2012. He joined the Dickson County S.O.R.T team in August 2013.

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Dickson County reeling from months of tragedies

Sgt. Daniel Baker was shot and killed during the incident. (Photo: Dickson County Sheriff's Office)

Baker was previously a deputy in Humphreys County before joining the Dickson County Sheriff's Office. He also worked as a guard at the Renaissance Center in Dickson and was in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He is survived by a wife and daughter.

"Not only has our agency lost a brother, but our community has lost a hero," said the sheriff's office in a statement. "RIP our brother. We will take it from here."

The funeral for Baker will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Dickson. Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m. until the service begins. Baker will be laid to rest in the Dickson County Memorial Gardens, according to his obituary.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the family can send funds to this address: Sgt. Daniel Baker Family Fund, c/o TriStar Bank, 719 E. College, St., Dickson, TN 37055. A GoFundMe account has also been set up for Baker's family.

Gov. Bill Haslam issued this statement on Thursday:

"Crissy and I are praying for the family of Sgt. Baker who died in the line of uty while bravely serving the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office. I commend the joint effort of state and local law enforcement as they tirelessly search for the suspect, even as they mourn the loss of one of their own. We urge anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of the suspect to come forward to help bring closure to this crime."

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Carley Gordon joined the News4 team as a reporter in 2009.

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Rebecca Cardenas is a Murrow-award winning journalist who joined News4 as a reporter in September 2017.

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