No hostages here: Police surround empty house for more than eight hours

Clayton County SWAT and police officers spent more than eight hours Wednesday working what they thought was a hostage situation — only to discover the house they were watching was empty.

Spokeswoman Officer Charlene Watson-Fraser said officers decided to enter the house between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., more than eight hours after the initial 9:04 a.m. call. Instead of finding suspect Albert Williams and a possible female hostage, the house was empty.

“He wasn’t there,” she said. “No one was there.”

Officers and SWAT team members swarmed Saddle Creek subdivision on Panola Road, closing it off to traffic, in response to a possible hostage situation at one of the homes. The department’s mobile command unit was brought in, dozens of patrol and unmarked cars lined Panola Road, Saddle Creek subdivision and the one across the street.

Officers brought in donated water and ice from Wal-Mart to stave off temperatures that soared into the 90s. SWAT officers were suited up and seen criss-crossing the subdivision during the afternoon.

It all started Tuesday with a 911 call about a possible domestic disturbance. Apparently, someone told police they saw an armed man enter the house.

Watson-Fraser said the owner went to the house Tuesday to open a window to air it out and was alarmed Wednesday to find it closed.

“He called his brother-in-law, Albert Williams, and asked if he was inside the house,” she said. “He was.”

Watson-Fraser said Williams has a history of domestic violence and assault but she is unsure if the female with him had a relationship with him.

“She was acting as a liaison between Albert and the police but it sounded like she was being made to say stuff, like she was under duress,” said Watson-Fraser. “We are unsure if there is anyone else in the home.”

Clayton sheriff’s Lt. Brian Crisp said warrants were issued Monday for Williams’ arrest. Williams is charged with interference with government property and theft by taking in connection with stealing his estranged wife’s work keys.

Watson-Fraser said police are investigation Wednesday’s incident to determine if new charges will be brought against Williams.

Williams was arrested Thursday afternoon on Monday’s warrants. He was also charged with obstruction of an officer. He is expected to make his first appearance Friday morning in Clayton Magistrate Court.