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Regional manhunt continues for murderer

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Matthew EdgaraMatthew EdgaraBy Chris Edwards
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SABINE COUNTY – A manhunt continues for a Sabine County man who was sentenced in January to 99 years in prison for murder.

Matthew Hoy Edgar, a 25 -year-old Hemphill man, has been at large since he failed to show up for day four of his trial on Jan 27. On that day, he was found guilty, and subsequently sentenced. Despite his absence, the trial continued through his attorney. He was last seen on the previous day.

Edgar was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Livye Lewis on Oct. 31, 2020. According to Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox, the search continues and “has intensified and broadened” as of Sunday, he said in a news release. 

While Edgar has remained at large, Maddox has reported on social media as well to regional media outlets that there have been leads followed as to Edgar’s whereabouts, but all 10 leads were cleared and closed with no contact with the convicted killer.

“As these investigative leads come in, they are assigned to a deputy or completed by the lead investigator for the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office,” Maddox said. Several of the leads to date involve leads from East and Northeast Texas as well as Western Louisiana.”

Last week, Maddox said that the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office has checked out sightings of Edgar in Jasper and Orange counties.

Maddox said for any Sabine County residents, as well as anyone in the region who has seen Edgar, or has knowledge of his whereabouts, to contact either the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office at 409-787-2266 or to call 911. He said that anyone who sees him should not try to contact or try to stop him. He is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as having short brown hair, blue eyes and is approximately six feet tall. 

Maddox said anyone who sees Edgar can also contact the US Marshals’ Office through its website at https://www.usmarshals.gov/tips/index.html.

Maddox provided a recent photo of Edgar, which was taken during his trial, exiting the courthouse. Most photos of Edgar available on regional media are of his booking photo, which show him with shoulder-length hair.

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Fugitive arrested near Fred

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EssaryEssaryBy Chris Edwards
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FRED – Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest in the Fred area of a man who had an active warrant for burglary.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, while deputies were out patrolling on the morning of Saturday, March 5, at approximately 12:15 a.m., they stopped a red Pontiac for a traffic violation near the 92 Restaurant.

The driver, whom they identified as Kyle Allen Essary, a 23-year-old Spurger man, was discovered to have an active blue warrant out for Burglary of a Habitation, which was issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division.

Essary was also cited for having no driver license. He was arrested and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, where he awaits the TDCJ Parole Division.

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Western Weekend continues festival

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Bull RiderBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – With the Festival of the Arts in the books to kick off the Dogwood Festival’s three weekends of   celebrations, the second weekend, Western Weekend, is now upon us.

Tyler Countians and visitors, alike, will be able to enjoy two evenings of rodeo, sponsored by the Woodville Lions Club, along with plenty of other events.

Friday and Saturday will both play host to the rodeo out at the 4-H/FFA arena, located west of Woodville on highway 190. 

The rodeo, which is being produced by Branded for Christ Rodeo Productions, is a CPRA-sanctioned event, and will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Events at the rodeo include bull riding, mini bareback riding, calf roping, barrel racing and team roping. During the intermission of both days, Cody Widner and the Lonestar Souvenirs will perform. 

Widner, who came off a lengthy hiatus, is a Tyler County native, who made waves on the Texas County circuit in the early 2000s. 

Saturday morning will include a trailride parade through downtown Woodville, which will end at the arena. 

The roots of the Western Weekend date back to 1958, when 75 horseback riders joined the Dogwood Festival parade. That tradition continued for 10 years, and due to the increasing numbers of horseback riders, the trail bosses requested a parade of their own.

As a consequence, according to the Dogwood Festival Publicity Committee, the first Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend was held on March 23, 1968. 

A Western Teenage Dance and Western Adult Dance were held that evening.  The regular Dogwood Festival was held the following Saturday, March 30, 1968.  The Western Trailride Parades at one time included more than 1,500 horses and has featured famous groups and celebrities. 

A big part of the Western Weekend activities are trailrides, according to the festival’s directors, which are kept up in an effort to preserve the heritage of the East Texas cowboy and to enjoy the natural beauty afforded by the region. More than 2,000 trailriders, on average, travel by horseback and wagon to Woodville during the final weekend in March. 

Another tradition for Western Weekend is the Western Weekend Sweetheart and Junior Sweetheart contests, in which girls aged 10-13 years are eligible for Junior Sweetheart and those who are 14-23 years of age are eligible for the Senior Sweetheart. The contestants are all judged on their horsemanship, appearance and interviews. The sweetheart horsemanship competition takes place on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. 

Next week, the Booster is releasing a special, tabloid-sized commemorative section for this year’s Dogwood Festival. It will be inserted in each issue of the newspaper, and also available at the Booster office during the Queen’s Weekend parade for anyone who might want one as a keepsake.

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TCSO recovers stolen car

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SchaeferSchaeferBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office turned up drugs and a stolen car during a stop last week.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies were called out in reference to a suspicious vehicle on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 8. The vehicle in question, a white Volvo passenger car, was parked near US 190 and CR 2175, and occupied by a white male individual.

The deputies made contact with the man and identified him as 31-year-old Zachary Schaefer of Houston. Weatherford said that when the deputies spoke with Schaefer, they learned the car was reported as stolen out of Lousiana. 

The deputies detained Schaefer and searched the vehicle, from whence they turned up a Glock .380-caliber handgun and a pill bottle which contained several different types of pills.

Schaefer was transported to the Tyler County Justice Center and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance.

A criminal background check revealed that earlier this year, a judge in Lousiana ordered Schaefer to not purchase, or be in possession of, any firearm while he is on probation.

Schaefer remains in Tyler County custody with bonds set at $17,500 by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.

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Dogwood Festival of the Arts celebration is this weekend

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In this file photo from the 2018 Festival of the Arts, a chair caner practices his artform. This, along with blacksmithing and spinning and weaving, are among the many demonstrations festivalgoers can take in this weekend. JIM POWERS | TCB In this file photo from the 2018 Festival of the Arts, a chair caner practices his artform. This, along with blacksmithing and spinning and weaving, are among the many demonstrations festivalgoers can take in this weekend. JIM POWERS | TCB

By Chris Edwards
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It’s Dogwood Time in Tyler County, and for the next three weekends, the celebration factor is high. The Festival of the Arts is the first in that trilogy, and there are many things to see, do and taste at Heritage Village. Most notably, the traditional Sunday Dinner on the Grounds event will return this year, after a two-year hiatus.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., both days, a full schedule of demonstrations, live music and great food is all on the agenda. 

On Saturday, the day is mostly devoted to demonstrations and music on the Village Green stage. Arts and crafts enthusiasts will have plenty to see, and lots of potential new finds to buy and take home. The demonstrations will range from quilting to jewelry making. 

Regional authors Betty Oglesbee and artist collaborator Kim Whitton will also be on hand, selling and signing their books. Oglesbee, a San Augustine-based historian, recently appeared at the Allan Shivers Library as part of the “Coffee, Conversation and Discussion” series to promote the book I’m Samson (Maybe a Dog), a children’s book, which Whitton illustrated.

As far as literary offerings go with Festival of the Arts, festivalgoers will also be in for a treat when fourth-grade student Kassidy Hadnot reads from her book Introducing Doc Bean, an e-book for ages 9 and under.

The book focuses on encouraging kids to become doctors and nurses and teaches good health practices. Hadnot will read from the stage on Saturday.

The following day is the traditional Dinner on the Grounds day, and a real treat to lovers of good old-fashioned country cuisine. The menu will include everything from tasty smoked brisket and sausage to sides like dirty rice, cornbread and cabbage and baked beans. There will also be homemade bread and plenty of dessert items.

Adult tickets for the dinner are $10 each and $5 for children under 12 years of age. Tyler County Heritage Society members will start serving the food at 11 a.m., and the meal will last until 2 p.m.

During the dinner, live entertainment including Jason Birkner; Shelby Tillery; Rocky Ellis and Brent Harrison, will provide diners with top-notch country and gospel sounds.

For those who want to take in some history of the Dogwood Festival, there is an exhibit in the exhibit room behind the gift shop that features memorabilia from the past 78 years of the festival.

Along with photographs of past Dogwood princesses, there are dresses, festival programs and other items on display that showcase the rich history of this Tyler County tradition. 

Tickets for Festival of the Arts are available at the gate during the event, or at the Village Gift Shop; the Pickett House; at Sullivan’s Hardware; the Tyler County Booster or from any TCHS member.

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