Crime

He hosted an annual Thanksgiving for Keesler airmen. Now he’s indicted on child sex charges.

Bobby Walker Jr.
Bobby Walker Jr. Jackson County Adult Detention Center

An Ocean Springs man who’s made headlines for hosting airmen from Keesler Air Force Base at his home for Thanksgiving for several years has been arrested on sex crime charges allegedly involving teenagers.

Deputies arrested Bobby Walker Jr., 45, on Friday after a grand jury named him in an indictment.

The grand jury charged him with one count each of touching a child for lustful purposes and sexual battery, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said in a press release.

The charges allegedly involve two teenage girls in incidents that reportedly happened at Walker’s home in Gulf Park Estates two years ago, Ezell said.

Investigators believe there may be other victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at 228-769-3063 or 228-769-3065.

Walker has been held at the county jail over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend pending an initial court appearance.

Walker first drew media attention in 2015, when he hosted nearly two dozen airmen at his home for Thanksgiving through Keelser’s Home Away From Home program.

Walker hosted 31 airmen in 2016 and had more than 75 airmen in 2017. And he has made it happen each year with contributions from businesses and restaurants and the help of numerous volunteers.

A construction company helped build a bathroom in his backyard to accommodate a larger crowd. Another business donated plumbing and electrical services. A grocery store saved him its last three sacks of crawfish and sold them to him at cost so airmen could get their first taste of crawfish.

And a child-care business supplied a bus to haul the airmen to Walker’s house, and later started giving the airmen a trip to the beach as well.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and I like doing different things with people,” Walker told the Sun Herald in 2017.

Airmen typically train at Keesler for about of month. For many of them, an outing through the Home Away From Home program gives them their first trip off the base.

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Robin Fitzgerald covers real-time news, such as crime, public safety and trending stories. In nearly 40 years as a journalist, her highest honors include investigative awards for covering the aftermath of the fatal beating of a Harrison County jail inmate in 2006 and related civil rights violations. She is a Troy University graduate.
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