The recent case of a gun in an eighth grader’s backpack took an even more bizarre twist this week when investigators confirmed an adult placed the weapon there in an attempt to frame the student.
On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office arrested 26-year-old Heather Darlene Hodges of 1305 FM 1486 in Anderson. Hodges is charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon on Restricted Premises and Unlawful transfer of a handgun under 18 years of age.
According to Precinct 5 officials, who also serve as security for Magnolia ISD, on November 5, they received an anonymous call at 9:19 a.m. naming a male student who had a pistol in his backpack. Deputies immediately responded. When they arrived, administrators had already removed the student from class, and after searching his backpack found a 9mm unloaded pistol in the side pocket. The student was then taken into custody.
After several hours of questioning, deputies believed the boy had no knowledge of the weapon. However, he told officers his dad’s girlfriend, Darlene Hodges, might have put the gun in the backpack because she disliked him.
After further investigation, Precinct 5 Deputies traced the anonymous call to a payphone at an Exxon convenience store near the teen’s home. The store’s security video gave them a look at the caller. They could see Hodges’ vehicle enter the parking lot before Hodges got out and walked toward the pay phone.
Further investigation revealed Hodges was the live-in girlfriend of the boy’s father. Apparently, the student was correct when he said she wanted to get him in trouble. After dropping him off at school, she made the call to the Constable’s Office.
Hodges initially denied placing the handgun in the backpack, making the phone call, and being at the Exxon station where the call was placed. In a subsequent interview, Hodges admitted placing the handgun in the backpack. She stated that she was at the residence, and she removed cologne and deodorant from the side pocket of the backpack and placed the hand gun in that pocket. She also admitted calling the school, and said she placed the gun in the boy’s backpack to get him in trouble with his father. She denied the incident until she realized she was on video.
Investigators first had to determine an appropriate charge for Hodges. They again contacted Hodges who agreed to turn herself in, but she did not follow through. Instead, she reported to her probation officer where she was taken into custody.
Hodges had been on probation after her conviction on a Theft of property arrest on July 21, 2011 by Conroe Police.
With Hodges’ arrest the teenager has been cleared of any wrongdoing by law enforcement. His father has decided to relocate his children to a new school district for a fresh start.
Hodges, who is the mother of 4-year-old and a 7-year-old, remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a $10,000 bond for each charge and also faces probation revocation on the theft conviction.