BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The newly appointed Bladen County Sheriff was nowhere to be found at a meeting called to determine his future with the department. Some county commissioners and the standing room only crowd are still searching for answers.
"We had asked Sheriff Earl Storms to appear before us to answer questions," said Commission Chair Billy Ray Pait. "I had several questions I wanted answered. He was notified to be here. He assured us he would be here, and he's not here. We have sent after him. We can't find him."
After a week of lies about why five Bladen County deputies were fired, a divided crowd made their voices heard about the decision.
"You only can do what's right, and Mr. Storms done what he needed to do, and that's all I have to say,"
said Karen Dove Ruffin.
"Earl is going to have to resign, or you folks are going to have to find out a way with the county attorney to get him out of there," G.C. Bryan said. "I think we need to reinstate these five deputies."
While those he fired were in attendance the man behind all the controversy, Storms was not at the meeting.
"I mean he's not going to step up to the plate," said Eric Bryan, the former candidate for Sheriff who was among the five deputies let go. "I mean it doesn't surprise me that he wasn't here. I didn't expect him to be here."
Residents were concerned that the firings could effect pending legal cases, but even without their badges, the officers say they won't stop doing the jobs they sworn to do.
"We're committed to seeing these cases through to ensure justice is done for the people of Bladen County," former deputy Scott Pait said.
We tried to speak with Delilah Blanks and Charles Ray Peterson, the two commissioners who nominated Storms for the position. Both declined to talk on camera, they but said they stand by their decisions. The officers Storms let go disagree.
"In my opinion he's a disgrace to being a sheriff," Bryan said.