December 7, 2022 10:39 am

Posted: 18.1.2020 22:41




JANUARY 18, 2007
Since the 1970s body after body has been discovered in or around Crater Lake, leaving locals to fear the nearly 600-foot deep man-made lake.
Most recently, the burned and decaying body of Yvette King was discovered on Albert Moorhead Road. She had been killed in her home near Grangerland and her body later dumped by her own daughter Brandi King and associate Rocco Martin Masselle.
Almost a month before that, the body of Darcus Penrice had been discovered on Crater Hill Road, her body stabbed several times. No one has been arrested in connection with her death.
A year before, Justin Shane Pruitt was found in a dumpster off of Coon Massey Road, also stabbed several times. Three men had been arrested in connection with his murder.
Three years before that, Sandra Stotler was found in the lake itself, shot to death. Her killer, Michael James Perry, was put to death for her murder.
Those are just the recent ones. Another body had been discovered in 1986 and was never identified. The man was shot, weighted down with cinder blocks, and tossed into the lake. Another young girl, Lisa Michelle Jackson, had apparently been found dead in a nearby field in 1979.
Why this lake? According to Montgomery County Sheriff Lt. Dan Norris, “It’s a secluded, very dark area that is not traveled a lot at night,” implying that the location makes for a perfect place to get rid of a body.
While Crater Lake might not be a place to get yourself killed, it’s most certainly a place you don’t want to end up.

JANUARY 18, 2010-
An early morning accident on US 59 southbound just north of Northpark has claimed the life of Lesley McDuffie age 43 of Houston. According to his wife, who ran up on the scene, he had been in Cleveland and left there earlier last night heading home.
Just before he reached Northpark, he ran off the road in his 2001 Dodge one-ton pickup. He then struck the guardrail with the left side of his vehicle turning it sideways. He continued sideways until he struck the support column holding the overhead Northpark exit approach sign.

He struck the column with such force that a generator, horse feed and an ice chest, along with the truck’s tailgate vaulted over 100 feet from the vehicle. A wrecker driver traveling along Hwy 59 spotted the accident after it happened and called 911.

Porter Fire Department responded along with MCHD EMS and determined that McDuffie was beyond help. The scene was cleared around 6:30 a.m. DPS was assisted by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Precinct 4 Constables, and the Porter Fire Department who also supplied a ladder truck to assist DPS in photographing the scene from overhead.

Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts responded to the scene and ordered Metcalf Funeral Directors to transport the body to the Southwest Forensic Center in Conroe for autopsy.

According to Trooper Ryan Clendennen who was assisted in the investigation by Trooper Pena and Sgt. Davis, speed could be a factor in this accident and will be determined from a vault test which uses a mathematical formula to calculate the weight and the distance the objects were thrown from the bed, which tells them the speed of travel at the time of the crash.

Clendennen also said even though Mr. McDuffie was not wearing his seatbelt, given the force of the accident, it may not have made a difference. This was the first recorded fatal accident in Montgomery County for 2010.

In 2009 five people were killed on January 10.


JANUARY 18, 2012
The northbound feeder of US 59 at SH 242 was reopened shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. Wednesday morning just after 9 a.m. Robert Smith Jr., 32, of Livingston was driving a Mack truck owned by Anderson Trucking. He left the West Montgomery County area with a load of burned timber heading for the mill in Cleveland. As he turned north on the feeder of US 59 at SH 242 his truck rolled over on its side. Smith, who was not wearing a seat belt was slightly injured but refused EMS transport.

As Patton Village and Woodbranch provided traffic control a DPS Commercial Vehicle Trooper stood by as the truck was righted to inspect it.

A truck from C and L Logging from Livingston was brought in to load the logs for the trip to the mill. The Anderson Truck was found to have several violations including the trailer brakes not properly set and a tire issue. Officials feel he just turned the corner to quickly. The load was chained down at the time of the crash.

Even though the load looked overweight it was just barely legal. During the fire, most of the moisture was removed from the trees causing extremely light loads but also a smaller payoff at the mill. With a permit, the gross vehicle weight of a truck of this type can be slightly over 80,000 pounds (40 tons).

JANUARY 18, 2013
At approximately 2:PM, Tuesday, July 26, 2011, Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report abandoned vehicle at an abandoned car wash in the 13900 block of Homestead Rd. The vehicle had been there for two days. A local business owner spotted the vehicle Monday, but wasn’t concerned because he thought it probably belonged to someone that was fishing in Greens Bayou.
When the man returned on Tuesday, the vehicle was still there. As he approached the vehicle, he could see the front passenger door window had been broken out. As he got closer and saw the amount of blood inside the vehicle he called 911.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the dark green 2004 Chevrolet Trail Blazer bearing Georgia license plates abandoned in parking lot. Upon inspecting the vehicle, deputies discovered a substantial amount of blood visible inside the vehicle. Investigators from Harris County Homicide were called in.
At first, it was believed to be just an abandoned vehicle with a large amount of blood inside. Mario Quintanilla’s supervisor contacted him and they looked at the vehicle and assessed the scene to determine if there had been any type of foul play involved. They determined that due to the amount of blood lost something bad had happened. Either the person had gone straight to a hospital or was probably dead.

JANUARY 18, 2014
When Jessica Winter had to say goodbye to her baby daughter, Victoria Isabelle Echols, in 2004 she never imagined there would be a way for someone to make her loss more painful. Unfortunately, someone did. While cemeteries were once respected as final resting places, they have become increasingly popular targets of thieves, looking for the metal they can cut up and exchange for money at salvage yards. Apparently, even children’s graves are not exempt.

“We came up here to visit her on her tenth birthday, which should have been peaceful,” Winter said. “We found a gaping hole where her vase should have been.”

The headstone and vase were not only reminders of her daughter, but symbols of the love and kindness Winter’s friends had shown.

“Our friends threw a benefit for us to be able to have a headstone and vase for her,” Winter said.

The grieving mother said she felt a mixture of sadness and anger.

“You come here for peace of mind, for a memory – It’s just really upsetting,” she said. “We don’t know how we’re going to afford to replace it.”

Cemeteries once provided insurance that would have replaced the vase, but the frequency of the thefts has become such, they are no longer able to do so.

“I don’t get how anybody could stoop so low,” Winter said. “It’s very upsetting find out friends of mine are missing vases too. It’s terrible.”

Also missing from the cemetery is a donated bronze statue of a little girl chasing a butterfly that was near where Winter’s daughter is buried.

“I can’t wrap my head around how anybody could do that,” she said. “It’s very upsetting. People don’t understand – You don’t heal from losing a child.”

“You don’t heal from it, and this is a place to come and memorialize your child, and to think anybody would do that to a grave, period, is just terrible.”

Winter said she has no idea how she and her husband will be able to replace what was taken.

At Conroe Memorial Park on Porter Lane, Megan Schmidt had a similar experience when she went to visit her baby sister’s grave at the end of November.

“It’s her birthday, and I came out here and her vase was missing,” Schmidt said. “It upset me pretty bad.”

“I didn’t know what to do besides cry,” she said. “That’s my little sister.”

Schmidt said she did not mention the theft to her grandmother until Friday afternoon because it would upset her, but she knew her grandmother would find out from the news report.

Blake Hightower of McNutt Funeral Home and Conroe Memorial Park said the thieves commit this heartless crime at night, because no one is around.

“We usually keep the gates locked in front of the cemetery, but they avoid the gates,” Hightower said. “They go around the gates and come in here and steal the bronze vases.”

Hightower said he has seen as many as 15 missing at one time and has called Conroe Police no less than five or six times in the past six months to file reports on the thefts.

“They’ve recovered quite a few and are actually helping to get them put back in our cemetery,” Hightower said.

That may sound like an impossible task, since vases are not typically engraved. However, Hightower said they keep a photographic record of the headstones and vases and can use it for comparison to try and replace them when they are recovered.

The vases range in price from $300 to $500, with the average being around $400, Hightower said. Because of the thefts, many are now choosing aluminum vases. He said the aluminum is cheaper, lighter and less likely to be stolen.

Hightower said the facility had a recent visit from a deputy who had arrested a couple of people that were in possession of numerous vases and the officer and colleagues were trying to find the cemeteries where the vases belonged.

Some people may be fortunate enough to get their loved ones vase returned. Others, like Winter, will have to figure out how to replace the expensive items only to worry about them being stolen again.

Hightower said he now tells people to try and claim the loss on their homeowner’s insurance.

“Generally, when you have a vase stolen, we’d love to replace them for the family,” he said, “but because of the expense, we can’t afford to replace 50 or 60 at a time.”

Hightower said the thefts made him angry.

“I know that times are hard, but it’s very low for people to come out and steal things from the dead in order to survive and make a living,” he said. “You would figure there’s something else that they could do that would be better than that.”

These thefts were brought to light as a result of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s announcement earlier this week that two suspects were in custody and a third was identified and sought for theft of metal items from cemeteries.

The investigation began last October and came to include not only MCSO detectives but also agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Investigators recovered 13 grave markers, 144 cemetery vases, 8 brass vase rings, and 3 brass picture frames, with a combined estimated total of almost $57,000.

Their investigation revealed thefts were occurring at cemeteries in Montgomery, San Jacinto and Harris Counties.

Warrants were issued for all three suspects. Talina Westerman and Donald Brown were soon arrested. However, Michael Johnson Jr. (d.o.b. 08/08/1988) remains at large.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Michael Johnson Jr. is asked to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at (936)-760-5800, or Crime Stoppers at (800)-392-STOP (7867).

Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest or indictment of a felony crime. Call 800-392-STOP (7867). Anonymous tips can also be made through the Montgomery County Crime Stoppers WEB PAGE at

Editor’s note:

We know there are so many more stories regarding the pain of thefts from cemeteries. Feel free to post your story in the comments if you’d like to share it with others.

JANUARY 18, 2015
Sunday January 18, 2015 1:55 AM, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Patrol District 1 responded to shooting call at 2329 W FM 1960 at the “Kicks Sports Shack. It was reported that a male was shot in clubs parking lot and was later pronounced deceased by attending medical personnel.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide was summoned to the scene to conduct the investigation. Investigators learned that the victim was involved in an altercation inside the club with several males and was escorted out of the club. A confrontation between the victim and several males continued in the parking lot where the victim was shot. The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Houston Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS (8477) or the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division at (713) 967-5810


Tuesday April 14, 2015, Tyrrel Jerome Robbins Jr. was arrested for the January 18, 2015 murder of Jonathan Nash that occurred in the KICKS Sports Bar parking lot at 2329 FM 1960.

JANUARY 18, 2015
Just before 5 a.m. Sunday, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported robbery and shooting in the 15000 block of Blue Ash at Baron Springs, which is just south of FM 1960 and west of Interstate 45. The first units on the scene found a black male shot five times in the arms and legs.

Cypress Creek EMS arrived on the scene and transported the victim to Memorial Hermann in the Houston Medical Center in stable condition. The victim told deputies he was robbed of his money in the apartment complex and shot. He was unable to describe the shooter.

JANUARY 18, 2015
Just after midnight, Spring Fire Department responded to a reported major accident involving a van and building in Old Town Spring. They arrived at the Painted Pig Antique and Gift Shop at 118A Midway to find a Chevrolet Astro van had struck not just the building but a very large oak tree. The vehicle also broke the main water line for Old Town Spring.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded and took the male driver into custody for suspicion of impairment.
The building suffered minor damage.
According to a witness walking down the street a block away, the van passed them at a rate of speed and then appeared to just have lost control



JANUARY 18, 2015
On Sunday, January 18, 2015, at approximately 2145 hours, Carlos Solis was operating a grey 2002 Honda Accord westbound in the 500 block of E Cypresswood Dr. Mikayla Santos was operating a grey 2003 Infiniti G35 eastbound in the 500 block of E Cypresswood Dr. Solis failed to yield right of way and attempted to turn left into the Spring Park apartment complex parking lot, located on the south side of the roadway. The front left of the Honda struck the front left of the Infiniti. Solis was found on the scene with no signs of life. This case remains open and is under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Division.

The Houston product liability law firm Perdue & Kidd, LLP filed a lawsuit against Honda Motor Co. and Takata Corporation yesterday claiming the airbag in Carlos Solis’s Honda Accord was defective and killed him after deploying in a minor collision. At least six fatalities and more than 100 injuries have been linked to Takata airbags.

On January 18, 2015, Carlos Solis, IV was driving a 2002 Honda Accord in Spring, Texas when he was involved in a minor wreck with another car. The driver side airbag engaged and inflated in the collision. A large piece of metal from the airbag inflator exploded through the airbag. The shrapnel entered Solis’s neck, severed his carotid artery and jugular vein, fractured his windpipe, and lodged in his shoulder and cervical spine. The lawsuit details these findings from the autopsy by the Harris County Medical Examiner, who retrieved the metal disc from the body and described it as a “foreign object (airbag inflator component).” The metal went so deep no one responding at the scene could see or feel it. Scott Solis, the brother of Carlos, came and attempted to apply pressure to the wound and comfort his brother as he bled and eventually died.

Nicole Solis, Solis’s widow and administrator of Solis’s estate, is suing both Takata Corporation and Honda Motor Co. for the allegedly defective airbag. The lawsuit alleges that Honda and Takata have known about exploding airbag inflators and resulting injuries and deaths for over a decade. The filing claims that Honda and Takata knowingly chose ammonium nitrate, the same highly explosive chemical used in the Oklahoma City bombing, to inflate their airbags.

“No other airbag manufacturer uses this chemical. Honda and Takata put a ticking bomb inside these vehicles and just waited to see how many would go off,” said attorney Jim M. Perdue, Jr. Honda and Takata allegedly became aware of explosive events in Honda vehicles as early as 2004. After testing, Honda and Takata allegedly ignored or hid the test results, and delayed recall efforts for the rest of the decade.

Solis’s car was bought used in 2014 at a Houston area car dealer. While the car had been recalled in late 2011, it had never been repaired. Solis never received any notice of any need for repairs.

This is one of many lawsuits filed against Honda and Takata over their defective airbags. The lawsuit related to Carlos Solis’s death has been filed in Harris County, Texas.

Nicole Solis, Carlos Solis’s estate, and Scott Solis are represented by Jim M. Perdue, Jr. and Donald Kidd of Perdue & Kidd, LLP in Houston, Texas.

Perdue & Kidd is a national law firm of Personal Injury and Drug Injury Trial Lawyers. The firm represents individuals and businesses across the country who have been harmed personally and financially injured. Perdue & Kidd, LLP is based in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit or call 713-520-2500.

SOURCE Perdue & Kidd

Related Links

JANUARY 18, 2015
Two people were hurt after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in southeast Houston.
It happened around 10:18 pm last night at the apartment complex in the 400 block of Hutcheson.
One victim was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital to be treated for second and third-degree burns over forty percent of his body.. A second victim was treated for smoke injuries on scene.
HFD got the fire under control by 10:46 pm. Arson investigators are now working to determine what started the fire.

JANUARY 18, 2015
A stolen ATM was recovered in a home in northeast Houston Monday morning. Now, five people are in custody.
According to Humble Police, the ATM from the Timewise Shell gas station in the 1000 Block of FM 1960 in Humble was bashed in. Several men used a stolen truck to ram into the side of the gas station and steal the ATM while the store was open.

Humble Police also discovered additional evidence in the home which could be linked to other cases.
Police also say a wrecker driver followed the suspects to the area of the home in the 11000 Block of Vailview Drive in northeast Harris County. An internal GPS confirmed it. When Houston Police arrived on the scene the driveway and road were littered with commercial grade broken glass and tire tracks rutted the front yard to a side gate. An officer saw the ATM over a fence and when he confronted the residents of the home who were behind burglar bars they refused to come out to talk and refused access to the backyard.

After getting a search warrant, police arrested five people, including one person who tried to hide in the attic, but fell through the ceiling when police arrived.
Neighbors say the family had only been living there a few months.
The suspects will be charged with aggravated robbery. More charges could be filed.

The ATM which had been moved into the house took Humble officers who responded awhile to get out. Due to the weight Humble Wrecker Service was utilized to load the ATM and with police escort transport it back to Humble.

JANUARY 15, 2015
Just after 4 a.m. Sunday, 911 call takers began receiving reports of a Chevy Suburban traveling west in the eastbound lanes of I-10 near N. Main. Several Baytown Police Department units rushed to the freeway, but it was too late.
One of the officers saw traffic slowing and immediately knew what had happened. As he approached the scene, he saw a PT Cruiser that was struck by the reported Suburban and was on fire. Several motorists stopped and were already putting out the fire. The officer was able to knock out the last of the flames with his fire extinguisher.
Air Medical responded for the driver of the PT Cruiser and the driver of the Suburban. Both were in extremely critical condition. The passenger of the PT Cruiser was pronounced dead on the scene. There were no other occupants in the involved vehicles.
An Assistant Harris County District Attorney responded to the scene to assist Baytown with the investigation.
I-10 was closed until just before 10 am


JANUARY 18, 2017
Just after 130am Wednesday, a southbound 18-wheeler loaded with disinfectant wipes slid off the freeway in very heavy rains. The truck slid down the embankment to the feeder below. The I-45 southbound feeder between Shepherd Hill and Calvary was closed until 5 am. The driver was transported to Conroe Regional Trauma Center in stable condition. ESD #1 firefighters spent almost an hour i pouring down rain attempting to contain leaking diesel mixing with runoff. HAZMAT International arrived on the scene and started setting up containment booms. Milstead Heavy Duty arrived on the scene and went right to work. The trailer which was fully loaded had a broken support beam along the roof near the front of the trailer. Milstead was able to secure the wall as the trailer was righted, keeping the trailer intact. Wreckers worked in heavy rains including up to chest-deep water in the ditches. Just before 5 am the southbound feeder was reopened.

JANUARY 18, 2018
On January 18, 2018, the Montgomery County Precinct 5 Constables along with agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division conducted a search warrant at 18623 Patricia Lane in Magnolia. During the search warrants, deputies found over 12 pounds of marijuana, 8 rifles, 1 shotgun, 16 pistols and over $171,000 in cash. The Precinct 5 Constables will also be seizing 3 vehicles, 2 Harley Davidson motorcycles, 2 trailers, and a John Deer tractor all purchased with proceeds from the sale of marijuana throughout several years. Constable David Hill stated, “I would like to thank Commissioner Riley, County Judge Doyal and commissioner’s court for allocating the manpower to help protect the citizens of Precinct 5”. Donald Conrad, 60, and Cloetta Conrad, 59, were arrested and charged with 2nd-degree Felony Possession of Marijuana, and 2nd-degree felony money laundering. William Nevil, 53, from Indiana was also arrested for possession of marijuana. All three have been transported to Montgomery County Jail where they are awaiting bond.


JANUARY 18, 2018
On Thursday afternoon Angela Ruth Mallone, 47, pleaded guilty to manufacture and delivery of 15 ounces of meth. Judge Michalk accepted her plea and sentenced her to life in prison. Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer said DPS stopped her on SH 105 East on June 23 of last year and was found to have 15 ounces of meth in her possession. She was booked into the Montgomery County Jail and soon used A-1 Bail Bonds to bond out of jail. She then fled and did not appear in court for a scheduled hearing. Judge Michalk issued a felony bond forfeiture. Several weeks later the Silsbee Police arrested her at a Walmart Store. She was in possession of 8 grams of meth. She was then transported to the Hardin County jail where she was held on the new charge and a warrant issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the drug charge. This was not the first time Mallone had been in trouble for drugs. Freyer said Mallone made regular trips from the Woodville area top Houston to transport drugs to East Texas Communities. In March of 1996, she was arrested and given probation which was later revoked, and she was sent to TDCJ. She was again arrested in August of 1996 by Houston Police for possession. Then in January of 2001, she was again arrested in Houston for possession between 1 and 4 grams. All 3 charges were combined as she was sent to TDCJ. Then in late 2003, she was arrested in Montgomery County for possession again. This time she was given 10 years in TDCJ. Then in 2011, she was again arrested by Martin County Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana for possession of between 4 and 400 grams. She was given 4 years’ probation. In August of 2015, she was once again arrested by the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office for possession of between 4 and 200 grams and evading arrest. She was convicted of the evading charge and sentenced to 1-month in jail. Along with the plea the Federal Government and Hardin County agreed to drop their charges.