Sheriff fires daughter, son-in-law for using illegal drugs

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal has fired his daughter and son-in-law last week after discovering communications between them discussing their use of illegal drugs, reports the Johnson City Press.

Shelly Graybeal and her husband, Scott Johnson, who had each worked at the sheriff’s office for more than a decade, were terminated from their employment Nov. 20, Chief Operations Officer Leighta Laitinen said.

“We discovered communication between them on a messenger app that revealed they had been using meth” and other narcotics, Laitinen said. There was no indication or evidence the two possessed or used drugs while working, she said.

Graybeal, who was hired in 2004 by her father after he became sheriff, was a timekeeper. Her job was to calculate the amount of time county inmates had served. Johnson, a detention officer, started working at the sheriff’s office in 2001.

His duties were to escort inmates to and from court and guard them in the holding cell area behind the courtrooms.

Laitinen said as soon as she told the Graybeal what she had learned, he was unwavering in his decision to fire the two.

“He said, ‘Well, they can’t work here. They have to go,’” Laitinen said. The sheriff went to inform his family about the discovery, then returned to the office to follow through with the terminations.

“It was difficult,” Laitinen, who was present when the sheriff fired the two, said. “He was disappointed, he was hurt, he was still in shock. He said ‘I’ve spent my entire career putting drug dealers in jail and you’re out here giving them my money.’”

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