Macon — A Twiggs County woman is still searching for answers as to why she doesn't have her car after her friend was falsely arrested.
Cortnie Brown lent her to Dasha Fincher on New Year's Eve of 2016. She expected to get it back that same day, but she never did because Fincher was arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department for possession of methamphetamine. That "meth" turned out to be cotton candy.
Fincher spent three months in jail and is now suing the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the officers involved in her arrest and the company that manufactured her roadside drug test. Fincher is free, but Brown's car is not.
"She’s got this big case and I’m just put on the back burner," Brown said.
Brown and her mother, Nancy Gaskins, feel the car should have been released as soon as Fincher was.
"I feel like this, that once they found out that it was cotton candy instead of meth and they released her from jail, they should have released the car," Gaskins said.
The pair said they have tried to get in contact with everyone from then Sheriff John Bittick to the towing company that held her car to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office. Each of them either directed her to someone else or said there was nothing they could do.
Brown said she spoke to Bittick in August of 2017, because she believed the car had formally been seized by the sheriff's office, but he told her that was not the case.
"He told me that it had not been seized and that there was no way it could have been seized because I had never gotten a letter, but my car had been given to the tow truck company in May by the court," Brown said.
Brown said by the time she had gotten the final notice from the Tracy's Auto Body Repair, they wanted $1,800 and said they had already contacted her twice. She said she had not gotten either of those notices.
13WMAZ reached out to the towing company and were told that they did not remember who Brown was or what car we were referring to.
Macon attorney Lars Anderson said that navigating Georgia's seizure and forfeiture laws can be complicated.
"You don’t have to be shown to be guilty of a crime. That is beyond a reasonable doubt, but since this is a civil procedure, it’s just by a preponderance of the evidence," Anderson said.
In simpler terms, show that it was more likely than not that Brown's car had been used in a crime.
"Once the property is in the shoot or in the process, it doesn't just pop out unless someone agrees to let it go," Anderson said.
And that process can be difficult to navigate seized or not. Anderson said a person would most certainly need a lawyer.
Brown said she wants the car back because it has sentimental value. The car was purchased for her from funds acquired after her brother's death in 2016. Brown said Fincher's lawyer would not add her to Fincher's lawsuit and that other lawyers have been hesitant to take her case because the car is only worth $3,500.
"It would cost me way more money to hire an attorney to get it -- this is exactly what they told me," Brown said. "It would cost way more money than the car is worth."
Brown said she just wants closure and answers from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Tracy's Auto Body Repair.