Evans residents mum on Garnes

EVANS, W.Va. – Two days after the arrest of a Jackson County man on charges of terroristic threats and possession of an incendiary device, people living near one of the places he allegedly targeted for a bomb did not know him or were not willing to speak about him on record.

People living near Evans Elementary School said they knew the family of 20-year-old Blake Ryan Garnes and knew of him or had seen him in the community, but did not know him personally.

Garnes was alleged to have told a confidential informant he planned to place bombs at the homes of some relatives and at the Evans Elementary School playground when children would be present.

Evans is a small community near the Jackson County seat of Ripley. It is unincorporated and is a collection of several small- to medium-sized well-kept houses and a number of mobile homes and trailers.

One man living near Evans Elementary School said Garnes lived nearby but he declined to make any further comment about Garnes. He did say had seen him on foot in the community at times.

Another man who said he did not live in Evans, but had family members living there, said many who live in the area are related to the Garnes family. He said he had heard about the discovery of the bomb at the home of Blake Garnes’ grandmother but said he did not know anything else.

Garnes was arrested Wednesday after police were given a tip that Garnes had built a bomb. In the criminal complaint the person who gave the tip to police was identified as a former confidential informant who is currently incarcerated.

In the criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court, police said the bomb was complete but lacked a fuse or detonator. After the bomb was located in the basement of Garnes’ grandmother’s home police found notes Garnes said he allegedly wrote.

“Further searching of the residence found numerous handwritten notes detailing Garnes’ fascination with death, misery and killing people and children,” the complaint stated. “Garnes explained he was fascinated by explosives since an early age, and that he had dreams and nightmares on a daily basis about killing people and death in general,” the complaint stated.

Garnes was charged with terroristic threats and possession of an incendiary device. Jackson County Magistrate Tom Reynolds set Garnes’ bond at $500,000 in an arraignment Thursday. Garnes is in custody at the South Central Regional Jail in South Charleston.