The 69th Annual Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Banquet will be on Thursday, February 11 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church Family Life Center in Woodville. Dinner will be catered by Texas Custom Catering and Naskila Entertainment will be sponsoring a fruit and vegetable hors d'oeuvres bar. This year's entertainment will be a four minute "Hoop Dance" provided by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Tickets are $25 each and $175 for a reserved table of eight and are now available at the Chamber office for purchase.
According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, a new scam is making its way through Woodville and the surrounding areas that are targeting older residents, and can become threatening.
"Recently, scammers have been calling and will tell you that you've won a large amount of money, but you are required to pay the taxes and transfer fees, which usually come up to a couple hundred dollars," McCulley said. "To do that, scammers will require you to Western Union the money to whatever address they give."
According to McCulley, the names of the people calling are usually very common and they often speak with a foreign or unfamiliar accent. What makes these new round of scams different is that the scammers have now resorted to threatening those who don't go along with their scam.
"When the callers are confronted about being scam artists, they are threatening to do bodily harm to the potential victims and their grandchildren," McCulley said. "They never call them by name, but tell people that they will come after their families."
Scam artist are ramping up their efforts to steal and scam money from victims, and although these threats may be empty, they are none the less frightening.
"These scammers can turn very violent on the phone," McCulley said. "We want people to know that if they get these types of calls to first hang up on them and don't continue the conversation. You can report the scammer to the police department and we can try to track the number." Most of the time, scammers call from a computer generated number that may show up from coming from Houston or Dallas, but they are actually more than likely overseas.
According to McCulley, there have been no cases where the scammers have followed through on the threats.
"It's obviously concerning people when someone calls and threatens you and your family and it gets people very upset," McCulley said. "Our best advice is to immediately hang up if you realize it is a scam. We don't recommend you agitate these people on the phone."
You can report any threats to the Woodville Police Department or the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, and remember to never exchange any funds without meeting the individual in person or knowing them personally.
On Wednesday, January 20, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department were patrolling FM 92 in Fred. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies conducted a traffic stop on a pickup that committed a traffic violation. Deputies identified the driver of the vehicle as Christopher Bohler, age 39, of Fred.
"After talking with Bohler, consent to search the vehicle was given to deputies," Weatherford said. "Deputies observed, inside the vehicle, two clear plastic bags in the console area. The two bags contained large uncut, clear, rock-like substance." A field test of the substance showed it to test positive for Methamphetamine.
According to Weatherford, a .25 caliber pistol with the serial number filed off of the frame was also found in the suspect vehicle. Bohler was arrested and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center.
Bohler was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance; 4.5 grams of Meth, a second degree felony, as well as Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon, which is a Class A Misdemeanor.
A house fire that occurred on Sunday, January 17 destroyed the home of a Tyler County resident and took the life of his dog. The home, located on County Road 3140, was owned by Robert Wilson, who was home at the time of the fire.
According to Tyler County Sheriff Deputy Phil Ryan, Wilson was the only person home and was able to get out of the house, but soon realized that his dog did not follow him out so he tried to re-enter the home and rescue his dog. Wilson was unsuccessful and his dog did perish in the fire.
"Wilson was checked by Dogwood EMS at the scene for injuries but was not transported to the hospital," Ryan said. Colmesneil Volunteer Fire Department, Woodville Volunteer Fire Department, and the Tyler County Sheriff's Department all responded to the fire.
According to Ryan, there was an extreme hazard in battling the fire because a "live" electric line near the home slowed the efforts of those on scene. The home was a total loss.
"I was concerned for all of the first responders and the home owner who were in such a hazardous situation," said Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. "I am proud of everyone involved for a job well done and I am thankful that everyone is safe."
On Monday, January 18, 2016, at approximately 2:45pm, Tyler County Deputies responded to County Road 4005, located a mile East of Woodville, just off of highway 190. Deputies were advised that a 911 caller stated that a woman had been killed at a residence.
Ronald "Ronnie" MooreAt the residence, deputies discovered blood throughout the home and observed that some type of struggle had occurred. Family members told deputies that Jessica Berry, age 20, was unable to be located and that her brother, Ronnie Moore, when confronted by family members, admitted to killing his sister, Jessica.
Family members told deputies that Moore fled the area in a Gold 1997 Jeep. The Tyler County Sheriff's Office immediately released a state-wide alert to all Law Enforcement Agencies in an attempt to locate the vehicle and Moore. Members of the Tyler County Sheriff's Office began to search the area for Berry as well as preserve and process the scene. It was unknown at the time if Berry was in the vehicle with Moore.
Investigators were able to collect items of evidence including a bloody knife.
"A short time later, the body of Jessica Berry was located by deputies underneath her wood-frame home," said Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. "Jessica had died from apparent stab wounds."
Jessica was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Milton Powers.
Around 6 p.m. that same evening, Judge Powers issued a Murder Warrant for the arrest of Ronald "Ronnie" Moore. At approximately 8:30 p.m., deputies located the Gold Jeep driven by Moore, abandoned on Highway 69, approximately 5 miles South of Woodville. Approximately 30 minutes later, Deputies observed a man matching the description of Moore walking South on Highway 69, 1 mile South of Warren.
Moore was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center. Moore, age 23, remains in jail, charged with Murder, under a one-million dollar bond. An autopsy on Jessica will be performed today in Beaumont.
A house fire on Pitzer Street in Colmesneil completely burned the home and vehicles of a Tyler County resident, according to Colmesneil Volunteer Fire Department.
"We got the call at about 7:30 a.m," Dorsey said. "We arrived on scene approximately 6 minutes after we got the call and the house was fully involved. Two cars were also fully involved." Dorsey then called for Woodville Volunteer Fire Department to assist, since two other homes located near the burning house were being threatened.
"We got the fire extinguished in about an hour and a half with another hour or so of clean up time," Dorsey said. "There was nobody injured and I'm unsure if anyone was home at the time the fire occurred."
Tammy Martin lived at that home at the time of the fire and other sources say her and her two children were home at the time the fire started and the adult son helped to rescue his mother and sister.
"Since it was an older home, it was made out of rich lighter pine and it burned pretty hot," Dorsey said. "It was one of the hottest ones I've been on in a while."
Thankfully, the structures beside the home only received minor damage, and with the help of Woodville VFD, were spared from the flames.
"I just appreciate the help from my guys and Woodville's guys," Dorsey said. "I'm glad we can work together."