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Arson suspect found in Commerce hospital
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Pamela Graf was located at a Commerce hospital Thursday.
Life on the run for an arson suspect sought for more than a week came to a sudden stop Thursday when she was hospitalized for a possible drug overdose, authorities said.

A hospital spokesman confirmed Pamela Morrow Graf, 47, was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth, after first being treated Thursday at Banks Jackson Commerce Medical Center in Commerce.

Once released from treatment, Graf will be taken into custody at the Forsyth County Jail, said Robert J. Tavenier, Forsyth County’s director of pretrial services.

Tavenier said he did not know if someone took Graf to the hospital in Commerce or if she arrived in an ambulance.

“Our sheriff’s office was notified by Jackson County that Ms. Graf was at their medical center and my initial report was a possible overdose,” he said, adding that he didn’t know what type of substance she may have taken.

Tavenier said Graf was expected to appear March 31 in court in Twiggs County on drug charges she faces there, but she never made it. Her failure to appear resulted in a bench warrant issued April 1 for her arrest, a Twiggs County Superior Court Clerk’s Office spokeswoman said.

Tavenier said authorities found Graf’s ankle monitor on the side of a Twiggs County road after she apparently cut the rubber strap to remove it.

As a result, Forsyth County authorities issued an arrest warrant for tampering with the device, which is a felony.

James Dunn, Forsyth County assistant district attorney, said a hearing has not yet been scheduled on the tampering charge and Graf likely will remain in local custody.

“When they need her for court (in Twiggs County) they’ll just transport her down there,” he said.

Graf was released from the Forsyth County Jail on March 24 after she posted bond on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs.

The arrest came while she was out on bond for previous charges of arson, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of Schedule 3 and Schedule 4 narcotics.

As a condition of her release on the drug and arson charges, Graf was required to wear an ankle monitor.

The arson charge stems from a suspicious fire Jan. 18 that destroyed Graf's home on Lanier Drive in northeastern Forsyth.

After her March 24 arrest, the Forsyth County District Attorney's office announced its intention to have Graf's bond revoked.

Authorities maintain Graf and her boyfriend, Steve Edward Strobel, burned her home near Lake Lanier to the ground to commit insurance fraud and tried to make it appear as if she had been targeted because of her support for President Barack Obama.

They have not confirmed that Graf and Strobel were in Washington, D.C. -- where they claimed to have gone that weekend for the presidential inauguration -- when the fire occurred.

In addition, someone spray-painted racist graffiti on a fence along Graf's property. Authorities have said they think the fire and the writing are related.

Strobel, 46, of Barrow County, was charged Feb. 3 with obstruction of justice and providing a false statement in connection with the fire. He was subsequently charged with first degree arson.

He was released Feb. 22 from the Forsyth County Jail after posting $27,610 bail.