Ex-Walden's Puddle director arrested, charged with theft, fraud

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 6:12pm
Staff reports
Donald Deatheridge

District Attorney General Torry Johnson and Metro Police Department Chief Steve Anderson Monday afternoon announced the arrest of the former executive director of Joelton-based Walden’s Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, on charges that he stole in excess of $60,000 from the nonprofit.

Donald Deatheridge, 49, of 316 Clearlake Drive W., was named in a four-count sealed indictment returned Tuesday by a Davidson County grand jury charging theft in excess of $60,000, fraudulent use of a debit card in a dollar amount of between $10,000 and $60,000, and two counts of theft involving automobiles valued between $1,000 and $10,000. Deatheridge was taken into custody at his home Tuesday afternoon.

Deatheridge is accused of stealing from Walden’s Puddle spanning a three-year period, from March 2006 to March 2009. 

Members of the district attorney general’s investigation staff worked on the case, with members of the policed department’s Fugitive Unit arresting Deatheridge. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond and will be arraigned in Criminal Court on a date to be determined.

According to its website, Walden’s Puddle provides care and treatment to sick, injured and legitimately orphaned native Tennessee wildlife, as well as educational experiences to the community.