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Probable cause found in stalking case involving missing woman

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend on the night she vanished allegedly told a detective he wanted to reunite with her and he was "trying to patch things up" when he called her several times.

However, prosecutors said during a probable cause hearing Wednesday that two phone calls made from Billy Joe Cook, 38, to his estranged girlfriend, Leslie M. Adams, should be considered threatening because they violated a temporary protective order barring him from contacting her.

The calls were also made "at an unreasonable time" at 2:47 and 2:48 a.m., said Detective Marcus Head of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Assistant District Attorney William Akins admitted the stalking case against Cook is circumstantial.

"When you're dealing with a missing person, that's all you have to rely on," Akins said.

Cook concealed his phone number, Head said. Adams disappeared Oct. 21, the same day that the phone calls were made.

Adams sought court protection from Cook because she told authorities she returned home Oct. 18 and found him in her bed, a claim that he has since denied.

She was last seen Oct. 20 at an Atlanta club where she saw a concert. Cook also attended the concert, although he claims he did not see or talk with Adams that night. Police believe Cook did encounter Adams at the club and tried to fight with a man who was accompanying her.

Cook has not been named a suspect in Adams' disappearance. A magistrate judge on Wednesday found probable cause to hold him on two counts of aggravated stalking.

Head testified that calls from Cook's cell phone were made somewhere in the area of Lawrenceville Highway and Harbins Road in Lilburn, only a few miles from Adams' apartment.

Both calls lasted about four seconds, and police do not believe Adams answered the phone. A total of 16 calls were made from Cook's cell phone to Adams that day, although several of them were from a female friend who was also using Cook's phone, Head said.

"Out of the 16 phone calls, (Adams) only picked up two," Head said. "She was obviously not wanting to talk to him, and this was after she had taken out a temporary protective order on him."

Cook's defense attorney, Keith Adams, who is not related to the victim, argued the evidence does not prove his client contacted his estranged girlfriend to harass her. He said there was no evidence that Cook ever made contact with her by phone.

Keith Adams theorized that police may be holding Cook in hopes of getting more information about Adams' disappearance. An officer who entered her apartment after she vanished found a Winchester .45 shell casing and blood spatter at the foot of her bed. Subsequent police searches turned up no sign of Adams, a 40-year-old hairstylist and single mother of two teenagers.

"The cynic in me says they want to lock him up and maybe squeeze him to get him to say something," Keith Adams said. "I don't know what it is they expect him to say. Anytime they called to talk to him, he did."

Keith Adams said he would file a request for bond in Superior Court.