An anonymous citizen tip that the Sheriff’s Office received through its Facebook page has resulted in the filing of charges against three persons for vandalizing with spray paint the historic R. M. Ruthven bridge across the White River at Cotter. Source references indicate that the concrete arch bridge was completed in 1930 and named after former Baxter County Judge R. M. Ruthven. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The bridge was restored during 2002-2003.
A concerned citizen sent a message to the Sheriff via Facebook notifying authorities of the vandalism and including photographic evidence of the incident taken from one of the suspect’s personal Facebook page.
The Sheriff’s Office notified the Cotter Police Department, and a joint investigation was initiated. A total of three suspects were developed, two of whom were found and interviewed by investigators. These two suspects told investigators that they found a spray paint can underneath the bridge, and they sprayed this paint on the bridge, including writing one of their names with the paint. A third suspect was implicated as being the person who took the photographs.
Two men, identified as 20 year old BRUCE GUIST and 19 year old LEVI MILLER of rural Mountain Home have been charged with Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, which is a Class B Misdemeanor. Both will appear in the Baxter County District Court – Cotter Department on that charge.
The third suspect, a female juvenile, was later issued a juvenile citation for the same offense and referred to Baxter County Juvenile Services.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff
/s/ Ronald Weaver,
Assistant Chief of Police
Cotter Police Department