Menu

News

Colmesneil works toward adopting Emergency Management Program

by Michael G. Maness

The first reading of Ordinance #100 by the Colmesneil City Council set the stage for the adoption of its Emergency Management Program at its Tuesday evening meeting Jan. 14.
After convening with a quorum at 7 p.m., the council approved the minutes and proceeded with the first reading of their proposed program, which had been in the works jointly with Tyler County and Emergency Coordinator Dale Freeman. The ordinance established the mayor as the city's Emergency Management Director with indemnified powers to direct the city employees and even delegate powers to a coordinator like Freeman. The plan includes the intent to cooperate with the county and state. Funds associated with any emergency will still need city council approval.

Associated with the program's first reading was a first reading of the Joint Resolution Establishing an Inter-Jurisdictional Emergency Management Plan between Colmesneil and Tyler County, to be signed by the mayor and county judge, the plan allowing each entity to withdraw with 60 days notice. The goal of both the city's program and the joint resolution was to work together at progressive stages within a comprehensive strategy to keep the people of the city and county safe through the efficient use of resources.

City Secretary Carrie Edwards reported that the state had not sent the money yet to pay the contractor for the road repair, but inquiries from the state assured that the money was en route.

During the freeze after the new year, several leaks caused some minor inconvenience. The worst was a six inch main near the telephone company. A few elderly residents complained about dirty water. Mayor Don Baird himself checked out the water quality, which was nothing a flushing of the pipes could not cure.

Two dead in shooting at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church

Updated 1-23-2014 - 6:40 p.m.

Update—The recent murder of Nathan and Crystal Maddox during a pending child custody case has prompted the court to grant Child Protective Services an order to remove the daughter of Nathan Maddox and Kristen Westfall from the home of her maternal grandparents, who have custody of the child.

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department reports that removing the child is a safety issue.

“For the safety of the child, CPS got a court order to remove the child from the maternal grandparent’s residence,” said Chief Deputy Phil Ryan “We cannot say where the child will be placed as that is a matter for CPS.”

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department and investigators have also sent sixteen items of evidence in the case for forensics testing. 

Updated: 12:30 P.M. CST - Reward increased to $2,000 for information.

Updated: 1-21-2014 (Added Photo)

by Emily Waldrep

 

The recent murder of Nathan and Crystal Maddox during a pending child custody case has prompted the court to grant Child Protective Services an order to remove the daughter of Nathan Maddox and Kristen Westfall from the home of her maternal grandparents, who have custody of the child.

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department reports that removing the child is a safety issue.

“For the safety of the child, CPS got a court order to remove the child from the maternal grandparent’s residence,” said Chief Deputy Phil Ryan “We cannot say where the child will be placed as that is a matter for CPS.”

The Tyler County Sheriff’s Department and investigators have also sent sixteen items of evidence in the case for forensics testing. 

On January 18 at approximately 12:25 p.m., Tyler County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call  reporting that gunshots had been fired at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church and that one person was down. When Tyler County Sheriff's Deputies arrived they found two subjects down at that location. Both were pronounced dead just a short time later on the scene.

Nathan and Krystal MaddoxNathan and Krystal MaddoxThe two deceased victims were identified as Nathan Bradly Maddox, age 35 and Krystal Renee Maddox, age 30.

The actor or actors had fled the scene before deputies had arrived. Tyler County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers are processing the scene and interviewing witnesses and persons of interest at this time.

Nathan and Krystal Maddox were at the scene at the time complying with supervised visitation with Nathan Maddox's child. There was a pending child custody case between the deceased Nathan Maddox and his ex-wife, Kristen Westfall Maddox. According to Tyler County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Phil Ryan, both victims were ambushed directly in front of the Mount Carmel Baptist church steps upon leaving the visitation.

"All leads are being followed at this time and more information will be released as details are gathered," Ryan said. "As of this time, no arrests have been made."

Maddox's child was still in the building during the shooting and was not harmed.

"There were no witnesses at the church who saw any shooters," Ryan said. "We do have a ton of leads we are following."

According to officials, the autopsy on Nathan and Krystal Maddox was completed on Monday evening.

The Sheriff's Department is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone who gives information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the actor or actors in this case.

Any tips can be called into 283-2172.

Colmesneil man arrested on firearms charges

by Emily Waldrep

A Colmesneil man identified as Jason Ferguson has been arrested on a warrant issued after it was discovered that he owned several firearms while he had a protective order filed against him.

Witnesses reported some meth sales and stolen property in the Colmesneil area, and several deputies went to the area near the reported residence to look for suspicious traffic.

At that time, deputies initiated a traffic stop in the area on a driver out of the Houston area named Francisco Guerro, who stated he came to Colmesneil to meet a friend named Jason Ferguson, who has an extensive record with drugs.

Guerro was driving with a suspended license and gave deputies consent to search his vehicle. At that time occupants of the vehicle, including a nine year old girl, stated that they gave a white powdery substance to Ferguson in exchange for money.

Shortly after, on December 23, a search warrant was served for Ferguson.

"Ferguson was not home at the time of the search but it appeared someone had left in a hurry," said Chief Deputy Phil Ryan of the Tyler County Sheriff's Department. "No narcotics were found, but deputies discovered three firearms, which included the description of one that witnesses had seen."

The firearms were taken into evidence and a warrant was issued for Ferguson for violation of a protective order. Ferguson has since been arrested.

Suspect in custody after three Woodville midnight burglaries

by Emily Waldrep

A suspect is in custody after three midnight burglaries occurred on West Bluff Street in Woodville on January 10.

The string of burglaries began when an alarm was activated at the State Farm Insurance office in the 400 block of West Bluff Street. Officers responded to the alarm at approximately 12:45 a.m. When they arrived at the business they discovered someone had broken the rear window of the building in an attempt to gain access through the window, but was unable to make entry.

According to Woodville Police, it appears the suspect attempted to enter through the back door but left after the alarm was activated. Officers recovered evidence at the burglary scene, which included blood evidence that was observed in the interior of the building, along with shoe prints from the suspect on the exterior of the building.

Later that same morning, officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of West Bluff Street to two more business burglaries, which were discovered when they opened that morning. Gail's Jewelry Box and Sanderson's Bookkeeping had both been burglarized and sustained a fair amount of damage, due to doors and walls being kicked down, along with broken glass.

"It appears that the suspect broke a window to gain entry into the building, which is a complex of several store fronts," said Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department. "Once inside the building the suspect rummaged through all the offices and desks looking for what we believe to be money."

The suspect entered Gail's Jewelry Box through the wall of Sanderson's Bookkeeping and rummaged through the building, taking a large list of items, including $4,000 in cash inside of the register, along with purses, costume jewelry and nail supplies.

Gail Snider, owner of Gail's Jewelry Box, said that it has been a challenge to keep up with sales and sales tax on paper without her register that was stolen.

According to McCulley, evidence collected at the scene connects all three January 10 burglaries. Officers also suspect they all happened around the same time frame.

Officers found surveillance video of a suspect in the area just prior to the alarm being activated. Shortly after reviewing the footage, officers received a call from Livingston Police Department stating that they had apprehended a suspect involved in some business burglaries and that he was discovered to have some of the property missing from the Woodville burglaries. He was also reported to have had fresh cuts on his arms and hands, which would match up with the blood in the State Farm burglary.

The suspect, currently in custody in Polk County, is also a person of interest in the burglary in Woodville. He is also a wanted fugitive from the parole board.

His name is not yet released, pending the investigation.

"That was just a little bit of luck and communication with other agencies," McCulley said. "That is what helps solve these crimes sometimes, and that is exactly what this case is."

There have also been two prior burglaries reported by the State Farm Office in 2013, and officers are looking into whether the same suspect could be involved in those burglaries as it is confirmed he was in the area during that time period. The method of entry was also similar.
The Booster will provide updates on the case as they are available.

Alabama-Coushatta Inaugurate Chiefs

Alabama-Coushatta Inaugurate New Chiefs

Updated 1-10-2014

by Gregg Peak

INDIAN VILLAGE – In a ceremony steeped in tradition, history and spiritualism, two new chiefs for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas were inaugurated on New Year's Day.
Colabe III Clem Fain Sylestine, who had served as the second chief since Jan. 1, 1995, was elevated to the role of principal chief, while Herbert Johnson, Sr., was installed as the new second chief.
Because those elected by the tribe to wear the chief's headdress serve for life, last week's ceremony was an historic event for the tribe.
Chief Colabe, 86, replaces Principal Chief Oscala Clayton Marion Sylestine, who died on Jan. 31, 2013.
Alabama-Coushatta tradition dictates that after a period of mourning, the new chiefs are elected by the tribe and installed on Jan. 1 in conjunction with the start of a new year.
"We're beginning a new chapter," Chief Colabe said after the ceremony. "We can't really know what's going to happen but my goal is to work to make sure that we move forward. I don't know what form the progress will take, but I want to help guide us forward so we can come to the same conclusion."
Johnson noted that, as second chief, he will be learning from Chief Colabe about his new role.
"I've got a ways to go but I'm going to do the best that I can to work for our people," he added.
Earlier during the ceremony, Johnson also thanked all those who came to take part in the event. While most of the remarks to the audience by Chief Colabe and Johnson were in their native language, Johnson did tell them in English how much their presence meant to him.
"North, east, south and west, you all came here today. I appreciate you for being here. Bless you all and have a happy new year," he said.
State Rep. James White also was on hand to present special proclamations on behalf of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, which granted formal recognition of each of their positions with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.
In presenting the proclamations, White also praised the tribe and its members for their dedication to preserving liberty.
"Whenever liberty has been threatened, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has been there to keep the light of freedom burning," White said.
He noted that as far back as the Texas Revolution, members of the tribe have been there to assist in times of need. From the Runaway Scrape during the revolution, to World War II, to Iraq, tribal members stood with their fellow Texans.
"On behalf of the State of Texas, I want to thank you for your service," White added.
During the ceremony, the new chiefs met privately with the elders from the tribe's 10 surviving clans (two clans are now considered extinct), before returning to publicly undergo the formal inaugural ceremony.
As part of the process, the chiefs were cleansed by Spiritual Leader Walter Celestine, using purified water and an eagle feather. The legs of the chiefs were then wrapped to symbolically protect them from the snakes – or the evils of the world -- as they journey through the swamps in search of the Great Spirit Abbo Mikko.
During the ceremony, the spiritual leader also briefly presented each chief with a staff adorned with eagle feathers representing their leadership role; with a tomahawk representing their authority and the protection they each must provide to the tribe; with a bow and arrow representing the need to provide food for the tribe; and with a peace pipe.
One of the final steps in the inauguration process is the crowning of the chiefs with their eagle-feathered headdresses, a process which is assisted by two military veterans from the tribe.
After the formal installation ceremony, a peace pipe ceremony was held as a gesture of friendship with visiting chiefs, including Loveland Poncho, who is chairman of the Coushatta Tribe in Lousiana.
Chief Colabe was born Nov. 4, 1927 on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in Polk County as a member of the Granddaddy Long Legs Clan. He is the son of the late Bronson Cooper Sylestine, who served as principal chief from 1936-1969, and the late Mozanna Thompson Sylestine.
He also is a direct descendant of Sub-Chief Colabe, who served as second chief along with Principal Chief Antone around 1806.
His late wife, Leona Abby Sylestine, who a widely known artisan in traditional and contemporary beadwork.
Chief Colabe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College in Sherman and served as an educator and coach in the Southmayd, Holland, Shepherd, Woodville and Goodrich school districts. He retired in 1988.
He served the tribe on the tribal council and as tribal council chairman before being elected as second chief on Oct. 19, 1994.
Johnson, a member of the Beaver Clan, retired in 2012 as the tribal security director following 21 years of service. During his security work, he earned certifications from Kilgore College and the Angelina Criminal Justice Center. He also attended Jacksonville Baptist College on a basketball scholarship and in 1963 was honored as an All-American.
He has served two terms on the tribal touncil and has been a volunteer on the tribe's fire department and served for a number of years as Tribal Softball and Basketball League manager.
The new second chief also continues to serve on the Big Sandy Independent School District's board of trustees, a position he has held for 43 years.

Reward offered for tip on Sept. 19 Ivanhoe theft

by Emily Waldrep

Germania Insurance Company is now offering a monetary reward to anyone with information on a large-scale burglary that occurred in Ivanhoe at approximately 9 a.m. on Twenty-seventh Street on September 19.

The victim in the burglary had left her residence for the weekend to stay with family, leaving Sunday morning at approximately 8 a.m. Upon her return on Monday, she noticed that her back yard gate was unlocked and that entry had been made into her home through a back window by breaking the glass.

"Deputies were able to recover tire and partial footprints at the property," said Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. "Photographs were taken of the impressions and the tire marks in the back yard. Deputies also talked with neighbors that said they didn't see anything unusual."
Some of the items stolen included a large amount of jewelry, several shotguns, pistols and rifles, power tools including a chain saw, DVD players, Riggs and Stratton Generator, laptops, and other various items.

According to the homeowners, the power tools all held identifying markers.

"Germania Insurance Company is offering a reward up to $500 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the theft and vandalism at the insured property," said an official from Germania Insurance.
Anyone with any information on the crime can contact the Tyler County Sheriff's Office at 283-2172.