COCOA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A deputy, who in 2016 was named Florida's Deputy of the Year by the Florida Sheriff's Association, was arrested on Thursday.
Nicholas Worthy was terminated from his position after he and his live-in girlfriend, Rachel Trexler, were taken into custody, said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey during a news conference. Sheriff Ivey said the arrests came after a neighbor reported hearing gunshots coming from Worthy's residence the night before.
Deputies responded to the home on Wednesday evening and were unable to establish communication with Worthy. After obtaining a warrant to search the residence, authorities forcibly entered the home on Thursday morning to discover what Sheriff Ivey described as "absolutely disgusting" and "deplorable" conditions.
"The house was in complete disarray. There was dog feces all over the house, there were firearms, ammunition, other types of trash and food," Sheriff Ivey explained. "Also found was a small amount of drugs that was inside the home and inside a vehicle."
Inside the home with Worthy and his girlfriend was their small child, approximately two years in age, and three dogs.
"There was evidence of gunshots that was consistent with what the neighbors had heard," Ivey said.
Worthy is charged with child neglect and possession of cocaine, both felonies. In addition, he faces two misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
"I can't tell you how absolutely disgusted I am over someone who worked for our agency that would live in those conditions and would certainly subject the child to those conditions," Ivey said. "There are 1,500 members of this agency that get it done right every day, out protecting our community and representing our agency, and to have somebody do this is unacceptable to me, and quite frankly, unacceptable to our profession."
The child is now in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, and the dogs were taken by the Brevard County Animal Services.
Worthy, who grew up in Satellite Beach, had been employed with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office since 2012. Another accolade for Worthy includes an award from the American Police Hall of Fame. He also served a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2010.
Worthy was the center of a deputy-involved shooting in 2015. During the encounter in Cocoa, he shot and killed an armed suspect.
"He responded to an individual who was shooting into houses, randomly going through a neighborhood and shooting into houses. As he arrived on scene, the individual turned on him, started firing on him. He was forced to use lethal return fire to eliminate the threat," Sheriff Ivey said, adding that those actions led to his being honored as deputy of the year.