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Colmesneil purchases new city truck

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A Peter Criss and Paul Stanley sighting in Colmesneil? Well, maybe not, but these two Colmesneil residents could’ve been mistaken as members of KISS at the recent homecoming parade. Can you guess who they are? There’s no prize or anything for the correct answer but give us your guesses and we’ll publish them in the next edition. COURTESY PHOTOA Peter Criss and Paul Stanley sighting in Colmesneil? Well, maybe not, but these two Colmesneil residents could’ve been mistaken as members of KISS at the recent homecoming parade. Can you guess who they are? There’s no prize or anything for the correct answer but give us your guesses and we’ll publish them in the next edition. COURTESY PHOTO

By Mollie LaSalle
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COLMESNEIL – The Colmesneil City Council held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday and packed a lot of information into a short period of time.

Mayor Duane Crews was excited to announce that the city has (finally) purchased a new truck. After months of looking and stressing the need for one, Mayor Crews found one at Weaver Brothers in Jasper, a 2022 Dodge Ram. The total cost for the new vehicle was $33,569 and the city got $2,000 on trade in for the old truck. Council voted to transfer funds from the general account to the water and sewer account to cover the purchase of the truck. Mayor Pro-Tem Billy Andrus congratulated Crews on all his hard work in getting the new vehicle.

Two agenda items dealing with ordinances # 124 & 125 were approved in short order. Ordinance#124 was the declining of the rate change request by Entergy and ordinance #125 was the cancellation of the November 8 election for the city due to no opposition. Entergy’s rate change request is declined every year by the city.

Council opted to approve the purchase of a new ice machine for the Community Center at a cost of $469, and City Secretary Wendy Bendy reported that August 19 was the last day that the city offered the check free pay service. To date, no other business in town has expressed an interest in taking this service on. Bendy also reported that the city has four CDs which will mature Oct. 7, and after that date, she has 10 days to decide if they want to keep them where they are (Citizens Bank) or try to get better interest rates by moving them elsewhere. She also announced that the Fall Festival will take place Oct. 29 form 6-8 pm. This will be the third year, and it just keeps getting better every year; the last two years were well-attended, and a good time was had by all; this year promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Colmesneil held a parade prior to last week’s homecoming, and judging by some comments from council members, everyone had a great time. 

After approving all reports and minutes from last month’s meeting, and discussing all agenda items, council adjourned at 7:25 p.m. Colmesneil City Council will meet again on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

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Colmesneil student charged with terroristic threat

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Chassin TauschChassin TauschBy Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating terroristic threats made by a Colmesneil ISD student.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies with TCSO responded to a report of terroristic threat on Wednesday, Sept. 21. 

Weatherford said that while on the scene, the deputies gathered multiple witness statements and video footage, and were made aware of a 17-year-old student, Chassin Tausch, who had allegedly made threatening statements.

Tausch, according to Weatherford, had allegedly made threats to shoot other students following an argument earlier that day. 

“Deputies then interviewed multiple students who corroborated this threat,” Weatherford said. Also, the video footage showed the student appearing to mimic pointing a rifle toward other students.

CISD issued a statement via social media on Wednesday concerning the incident, stating that the district was aware of the comments, and that “school officials are continuing to investigate the comments,” as well as local law enforcement.

A probable cause affidavit signed by Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe resulted in an arrest of Tausch, who was arrested the same day.

Tausch currently remains in custody, charged with Felony Terroristic Threat. No bond amount has been set at this time.

Following the incident, CISD stated that its goal is to ensure the safety of all students and staff throughout the school day.

“Thank you for your concern and efforts in this matter as we strive to keep all students safe tomorrow and every day,” the statement issued on Wednesday read.

In the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting in May, there has been an increased focus on safety in schools, and Weatherford committed to increasing the presence of law enforcement on all five of the county’s school districts.  

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Midland, Ft. Worth fugitives added to Most Wanted

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Fujitives Ashley Gonzalez

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has added two fugitives to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Lists. Antonio Gonzalez, of Midland, is now on the Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List, and John Ashley, of Fort Worth, is on the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders List. Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $7,500 for information leading to Gonzalez’s arrest and up to $2,000 for information leading to Ashley’s arrest. All tips are guaranteed to be anonymous.

Antonio Martinez Gonzalez, 41, is affiliated with the West Texas Tango gang and has been wanted since February 2021, after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a warrant for his arrest for a parole violation. In May 2021, the Midland County Sheriff’s Office also issued a warrant for his arrest for assault by impeding breath/circulation.

In 2006, Gonzalez was convicted of injury to a child and sentenced to two years of probation. That was later revoked and replaced with a six-month sentence in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facility. In 2009, he was convicted of assault against a public servant and received a two-year sentence. In 2017, Gonzalez was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and received an eight-year sentence. He was released on parole in June 2019.

Gonzalez is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He has tattoos on his head, neck, chest, abdomen, back, left shoulder and hand, fingers, both ears, arms, wrists and legs. In addition to Midland, he also has ties to Mexico. For more information or updates in the event of his arrest, view Gonzalez’s wanted bulletin.

John Edward Ashley, 33, has been wanted since December 2020, when the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest for a probation violation.

In December 2021, the Fort Worth Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest for failure to register as a sex offender. In May 2020, Ashley was convicted of sexual assault of a child after an incident involving a 16-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

Ashley is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 125 pounds. For more information or updates in the event of his arrest, view Ashley’s wanted bulletin.

Texas Crime Stoppers, which is funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division, offers cash rewards to any person who provides information that leads to the arrest of one of Texas’ 10 Most Wanted Fugitives or Sex Offenders. So far in 2022, DPS and other agencies have arrested 50 people off the lists, including 19 gang members and 27 sex offenders. In addition, $75,000 in rewards has been paid for tips that yielded arrests.

To be eligible for cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities using one of the following three methods:

Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). Submit a web tip through the DPS website by selecting the fugitive you have information about then clicking on the link under their picture.

Submit a Facebook tip by clicking the “SUBMIT A TIP” link (under the “About” section).

 All tips are anonymous — regardless of how they are submitted — and tipsters will be provided a tip number instead of using a name.

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MacGinnis trial begins

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Trial Graphic

By Chris Edwards
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PORT ARTHUR – The trial of a Warren man, with a history of numerous sex crime convictions, began on Monday, for a 1988 murder.

Sixty-three-year-old Daniel Andrew MacGinnis, who was arrested in August of 2019 for the murder of Patricia Ann Jacobs, is being tried for first-degree murder in the Jefferson County Criminal District Court, with Judge John Stevens presiding. If convicted, MacGinnis faces up to life in prison. 

At the time of his arrest, Jacobs’s murder had been cold for 30 years. He has been held in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on no bond since his arrest.

In 2019, the Texas Rangers and the Port Arthur Police Department discovered items of evidence that were subjected to DNA testing that was not available when the crime 

occurred.

Jacobs, a 36-year-old Hardin County woman, was found dead in the Neches River beneath the Rainbow Bridge in Port Arthur on Oct. 6, 1988, according to Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham. 

The discovery of Jacobs’s body came a day after she was reported as missing. She had not returned home from a meeting at the Silver Spur Tavern in Hardin County, where she was employed. 

An autopsy revealed that Jacobs died as a result of drowning and had sustained trauma to her head and face. The manner of death, according to Wortham’s statement, was listed as “probable homicide.”

According to a story published in the Silsbee Bee at the time of the murder, Jacobs was a native of Winnfield, La., and had lived in Silsbee for 18 years at the time of her death. 

MacGinnis was a suspect in the initial investigation, which was conducted at that time by the Texas Rangers, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and Port Arthur PD, however the investigation revealed no previous contact between Jacobs and MacGinnis, according to Wortham. Numerous witnesses identified MacGinnis as a suspect, and he was interviewed in California by Texas Rangers. During the interview, he denied any knowledge or involvement in the crime. “The investigation languished for lack of evidence,” Wortham said.

The recent DNA testing came by way of the Texas DPS Crime Lab, which developed a DNA profile from the recently discovered evidence that matched MacGinnis, who is a registered sex offender.

MacGinnis is listed on the DPS’s Texas Public Sex Offender Registry for three convictions dating back to 1984, and as recent as 2004. They range from aggravated kidnapping to rape by force, and the crimes occurred in Texas and California.

Following MacGinnis’s arrest on Jacobs’s murder, DPS announced that investigators were looking into other cold cases with which he might be connected. One of them was the 2004 death of Nelda Widener, in Jasper County, which was ruled a suicide at the time. 

According to reports, one of Widener’s friends contacted authorities to alert them that the two had possibly been dating at the time of her death. No charges have been filed, at present, connecting MacGinnis with Widener’s death.

A month after his August 2019 arrest, MacGinnis was handed down a life sentence in Tyler County’s District Court on unrelated drugs and weapons charges, which stemmed from a 2017 arrest.

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Abuse at daycare facility confirmed

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Documentation from the state concluded that abuse took place at the Early Birds Learning Center in Woodville.

The facility has been the subject of investigations by the Texas Child Care Licensing Investigative Unit and the Woodville Police Department.

In a letter, dated Sept. 7, forwarded to the Booster, to one of the parents of one of the alleged victims, from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the report, which was filed on July 23, states that the child, whose name is withheld, “was alleged to be a victim of Physical Abuse (sic) while in the care of Early Birds Learning Center.” The disposition determined the child is a victim of physical abuse.

The results of DFPS’s findings were provided to the Child Care Regulation division of the agency. 

According to the licensing records on the DFPS website, Early Birds was found to have five violations upon an evaluation of individual standards, dated August 15, 2022. 

Those violations range from a required annual sanitation inspection to non-compliance for background checks on employees, as a caregiver was found to not have an initial background check, but is no longer with the facility. The abuse findings are not listed on the website, at present.

While Woodville PD is handling the criminal investigation aspect, the state agency in charge of licensing the facility, has asked that the owner to voluntarily close down until the issue is resolved, and the owner complied with the request.

According to Woodville PD Captain Jathan Borel, there is more than one allegation of abuse concerning Early Birds.

Kelly Bass, the director of the facility, has denied the allegations aimed at the facility and its employees, and alleged that a disgruntled former employee has made the claims; that no wrongdoing has been done.

Once Woodville PD concludes its investigation it will be presented to District Attorney Lucas Babin, and up to him to decide whether or not to bring it before the Grand Jury.

According to records on the facility from the state department of Health and Human Services, Early Birds is licensed to serve infants up through school-age children. 

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