Sheriff: Hidden camera footage dates back to 2017 at Smith County cheer studio

Crime Tracker

SMITH COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — We are learning new information about a tumbling coach, who investigators in Smith County say hid a camera in a cheerleading studio’s bathroom.

Andrew Halford worked at Elite Cheerleading and Gymnastics in Carthage as well as Premier Athletics in Franklin, according to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators in Smith County say Halford admitted to hiding a GoPro camera in a backpack and placing it on a shelf inside the studio bathroom in Carthage. So far, officials have identified at least three victims from the studio.

According to affidavits, girls ages 12, 9, and 13 were videotaped while changing clothes. However, investigators expect to identify additional victims as they continue looking through the secret recordings.

The sheriff says they have uncovered footage that dates back to 2017.

“It’s just creepy I would be freaked out and scared,” Smith County resident Kayla Barrett told News 2.

It’s scary and sad for teens like Barrett. In a small town like this, she says it’s likely that she knows a victim.

“I feel bad for everybody that was hurt by him that’s just really sucky. I know the parents are definitely angry,” she explained.

Halford is facing four charges in Smith County, but more are expected. The Smith County sheriff tells News 2 they are working with Franklin police where a similar investigation is underway at Premier Athletics. That’s where a GoPro camera was found hidden inside a changing room and restroom area last week.

Smith County investigators said Halford confessed to them the same day the camera was found in Franklin. Franklin police say the camera at Premier had footage that revealed 60 victims recorded on the camera, most of them minors.

The Smith County sheriff confirmed that Halford worked at Premier Athletics. According to the facility’s Facebook page, Halford was the tumble academy director and had been with Premier for nearly seven years.

Franklin Polce have yet to name a suspect in their case, until formal charges are filed. News 2 reached out to Elite for comment on the investigation, but have yet to hear back.

Halford is now in the Smith County Jail being held without bond. He is expected to be in court next week.

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