Deputies: Army deserter working in Spartanburg Co. arrested - FOX Carolina 21

Deputies: Army deserter working for Spartanburg Co. arrested

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Joseph Champion (Source: Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office) Joseph Champion (Source: Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Spartanburg County deputies said a man working at the county's maintenance shop was wanted by the United States Army as a deserter.

Deputies said they were notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday that 42-year-old Joseph Champion, who worked at the county's maintenance shop, was wanted. Deputies arrested him on a federal hold until U.S. Marshals could pick him up.

According to a letter released to FOX Carolina that was sent from the U.S. Army Provost Marshal's Office to Spartanburg County officials, Champion is considered an active-duty military member of the U.S. Army.

Mark Edwards, chief of media relations for U.S. Army Human Resources Command, said Private Joseph Champion joined the Army Reserve in Jan. 2001 and went to Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC.

After basic training, Champion went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, for training as a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist, said Edwards. He said while Champion was at Fort Leonard Wood, he went "Absent Without Leave" in March 2001, and was moved to "Deserter" status in April 2001.

The Army defines a deserter as, "Soldier absent without authority for 30 consecutive days."

Edwards said once Champion is processed on the deserter charge, he will be given the chance to explain his case and then the appropriate action will take place.

Spartanburg County administrator Katherine Hubbard said Champion was employed as an auto mechanic since June 20, 2005. She said his employment status is now under review.

Hubbard said the Army would have been provided info on Champion's warrant to the National Crime Information Center database that the county would not be able to access through a background check for non-law enforcement personnel.

A source told FOX Carolina that the Army was notified of Champion's whereabouts when he went to renew his license.

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