Sheriff: Deputy's response likely saved girl from more abuse, forced meth use

Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert, left, stands with Deputy Bart Smith after awarding him a merit pin for his actions during an April suspicious vehicle call.

The Cooke County Sheriff’s Office has recognized one of its deputies for conduct leading to the arrest of a man police say was sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and getting her high on methamphetamine.

Deputy Bart Smith received a merit pin for his efforts leading to the arrest of Randy Duane Alexander Hayes, 38, who remained in jail as of Wednesday, June 5, on several charges including continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, possession of child pornography and possession of a controlled substance.

Smith encountered Hayes and the girl when he responded to an April 11 call regarding a suspicious vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. After talking with the two in the car, he determined their stories “did not make sense,” as the sheriff’s office described in a Facebook post, and decided to make the arrest. Smith also contacted Drug Enforcement Unit investigators for their assistance.

Based on their investigation, police allege the man was not only sexually abusing the girl, but was also “purposely getting the 12-year-old high on methamphetamine.”

Hayes, a rural Grayson County resident, has been in the Cooke County Jail since April 11, according to jail records.

Sheriff Terry Gilbert commended Smith for his investigation and efforts, which he said may have saved the girl from further abuse and forced drug use.

“Deputy Smith’s actions are an example of how the simplest call for service with good initial investigation efforts, can help lead to a larger investigation that uncovered a heinous crime,” a statement from the sheriff’s office read. “Smith helped get a child predator off the streets and hopefully he will be removed from the community in the foreseeable future.”