Man arrested for stealing from girl's memorial fund
SLIDELL - Sheriff's deputies in St. Tammany Parish arrested a Mississippi man accused of stealing more than $4,000 from a scholarship fund set up to honor a student who died in a car crash in March.
After four days of searching last March, the body of Northshore High School graduate and University of New Orleans student Haley Howard was found when her submerged vehicle was pulled from the Irish Bayou on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain.
In the wake of Howard's death, friends and family set up a scholarship fund in the woman's memory and a fundraising run/walk event was held on Apr. 6 to benefit the fund, according to the Slidell police.
29-year-old Jonathan Holcomb, manager of a sporting goods store in Slidell, played a pivotal role in setting up the event.
After the event, the funds raised were placed into an account dedicated to the scholarship fund at a Slidell bank, but when fund organizers checked the account in June 2014, it was discovered that more than $4,000 had been removed from the account. The money was withdrawn without knowledge or permission of the other founding members of the fund.
An investigation into the missing funds began, eventually revealing that Holcomb had withdrawn the money from the account via checks, cash withdrawals and electronic transfers. Some of the electronic transfers were even made directly to Holcomb's personal bank account.
According to authorities, Holcomb admitted to the threat, and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Holcomb was arrested on Aug. 27 and booked into St. Tammany Parish Jail on a charge of theft over one thousand dollars.