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MARY MEAUX — Diligence with help of public, police can solve cold cases

Crime happens.

From a rowdy party that led to a disturbance and one group firing shots into the air in Nederland as they left, to two police chases and the drive-by shooting of a home owned by a Port Arthur area justice of the peace — all happened locally.

And all were reported on.

  • The disturbance and subsequent city ordinance violation of firing shots into the air happened at approximately 1:18 a.m. Saturday in the 400 block of South 29th Street in Nederland. Police are still investigating the altercation.
  • Then on Sept. 1 police in Nederland tried to stop a car but the driver led officers on a chase into Port Arthur, where the man reportedly crashed into a pole and fled on foot before being apprehended.
  • Just five days later, a man led Nederland police on a chase where the suspect struck not one but two vehicles before crashing out and being taken into custody.
  • The drive-by shooting happened on 17th Street in Port Arthur and police are still trying to identify suspects.

Of course all of the suspects in the above mentioned crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

However, it’s not just current crimes that are on our radar. Port Arthur Newsmedia is looking into cold cases as well.

I recently filed two separate Freedom of Information Act requests with the city of Port Arthur seeking information about two decades-old unidentified persons cases.

The idea stems from a check of the Missing Persons Clearinghouse, which is managed by the Texas Department o Public Safety. The website offers information on Texas missing persons or people from different states that are believed to be in Texas.

But it also offers information, sometimes just a sliver, of unidentified deceased individuals, and this is where my search began.

I am hoping the stories lead to finding names for the two men whose cases I’m exploring, giving them and their respective families some sort of peace.

While that is a lofty goal, it will be the public and the police who play the main roles.

One of the upcoming stories centers around the discovery of the body of a Black male near Texas 73 back in 1993. He was tall — between 6-feet-3 and 6-feet-5 and weighed between 210 and 230 pounds.

Officials estimate he had been dead for up to four weeks at the time he was discovered.

The second case is of a White male whose body was found in the Intracoastal Waterway in 1979. The circumstances of how he was found lead Port Arthur Police to believe his death was a homicide.

We pay attention not only to the crimes of the present but the past, as well.

The cold case stories of the two unidentified men will run at a future date.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.