Man instrumental in high-profile search operations under investigation

Several law enforcement agencies in Louisiana are looking into questionable fund-raising practices by Toney Wade
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 12:34 PM EDT
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MONTICELLO, Ky. (WKYT) - Several law enforcement agencies in Louisiana are looking into questionable fund-raising practices by Toney Wade, who has been in Kentucky numerous times searching for individuals with his K9 units.

Both the Wayne County and Pulaski County sheriffs confirmed to WKYT that they were also suspicious of Wade’s practices while in their jurisdictions.

WKYT spoke to Toney Wade last summer and during previous searches with the Cajun Coast Search and Rescue team. Wade was contacted by Ricky Griffis’ family in Wayne County, and he agreed to bring his K9 to help out, but both Griffis’ family and police began to raise questions.

Now, authorities in Louisiana, where Wade resides, are asking serious questions.

Our sister station, KPLC, is reporting that police in Beauregard Parish and Vernon, Louisiana, are investigating Wade for soliciting donations over PayPal and Amazon. Wayne County Sheriff Tim Catron released the following statement this morning:

“We were suspicious from the start from stories we had heard about him claiming finding people that basically were located by others. He only contacted me the day before the Griffis family called him out and he left town. He claimed to the family he was in touch with us daily which was not true.”

KPLC spoke to some animal owners after their animals disappeared. A notice signed by the Rosepine, LA., police chief and Wade stated the animals had been seized. The animals, including seven horses, a cow, goats and chickens, were later discovered in Jackson, Mississippi.

WKYT reached out to Toney Wade, but we only received a voicemail message stating, “the number wasn’t taking calls right now.”

WKYT also reached out to him on Facebook. The Cajun Coast Facebook page has not been updated since June, but Wade also recently started operating an organization dealing with “animal cruelty investigations.”

Ricky Griffis’ family tells us that while in Kentucky, Wade spent more time asking for money than he did searching for Griffis.