FEBRUARY 6, 2007

FEBRUARY 6, 2010
It was a strange Saturday night at the Walmart Supercenter in Porter, with firefighters and medics swarming in and customers heading out after an unknown irritant began to affect multiple customers.

Del Hart and her son were among them. Hart said they were looking for a short checkout line when she began to feel she was getting a sore throat.

“I looked around and everybody was coughing and I asked what was going on and they said they didn’t know,” Hart said.

When she asked a cashier if management had been informed that something was making people ill, the cashier said no, but then called for the manager.

“He came up and said there’s nothing I can do about it – I’ve already clocked out,” Hart said.

But someone called 911 and the Porter Fire Department responded.

Assistant Chief Carter-Johnson said they found four patients suffering from some type of irritant.

“We evacuated Walmart and brought in Harris County Hazmat to do some air samples,” Johnson said. “They were unable to find an irritant.”

Some customers suggested pepper spray might have been the culprit, but that was not confirmed.

FEBRUARY 6, 2011
At 7:36 a.m. this morning Caney Creek Fire Department was dispatched to a mobile home fire on Henry Harris Road just off FM 1485 north of Grangerland.

Montgomery County Deputies were first to arrive at the scene at 7:44 a.m. When they arrived a 10-year old child was attempting to pull his seventy-year-old great grandmother, Joyce Stenfield out the door. She had made several attempts to get to the little girl in the back bedroom and was finally overcome by smoke and severely burned.

A neighbor across the street saw the fire and after telling his wife to call the fire department he ran over and assisted the young boy. When Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office arrived they assisted getting the woman to the street away from the fire.

Montgomery County Hospital District arrived next with two ambulances and a supervisor and immediately started treating the woman who had second-degree burns over 20% of her body. PHI Air Medical was requested to the scene and landed at FM 1485 and Henry Harris. After stabilizing her she was flown to UTMB  in Galveston.

Bennette Estates truck was first in on the scene at which time fire was coming from every opening. The fire was to intensive to make entry to the home.

The 10-year-old was transported to Conroe Regional Hospital in stable condition. He was more in shock than anything else. Several times he said there were still two people inside.

Donna Atchison who lived across the street had her truck outside warming up to go to work when she heard a pop. Thinking her truck backfired she looked out to see the smoke and flames. She also called 911 to report the fire.

She was concerned that the fire equipment took a long period of time to respond. The first truck arrived on the scene from Bennette Fire Department at 7:52 a.m.

Montgomery County Fire Marshal , Jimmy Williams believes the fire started in the bedroom with an oil-filled space heater within a foot of the bed. He did caution though the investigation is still in the early stages.

The little girl, 16-month-old Anna Stenfield  was found in the bed where the fire started after it had been extinguished. Justice of the Peace Trey Spikes pronounced the baby dead on the scene and ordered Metcalf Funeral Directors to transport the baby to Dallas for autopsy.

The child’s mother was not home at the time of the fire but after receiving a call returned home and was given the news. She immediately went to Conroe Regional to be with the boy.

It was undetermined if smoke detectors were in the home. Neighbors said the family had moved into the home about a month ago after the mobile home was remodeled. At the time they believed the landlord had installed smoke detectors. That is also being investigated.

The Fire Marshal cautions landlords who rent homes to make sure smoke detectors are in working order and the tenant sign a document saying that at the time they occupied the home the smoke detectors were working.

He also cautions the use of space heaters and said anyone with gas heat should also invest in carbon monoxide alarms. Each floor should be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.

FEBRUARY 6, 2012
At 4:45 p.m. Monday afternoon MCHD and the Conroe Fire Department were dispatched to a reported major accident on South Loop 336 near Carl Barton Park. As units on arrived on the scene they found a 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse severely damaged and a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe with heavy front end damage.

The male driver of the Eclipse, identified as Jason Boatright, 40 had been ejected and was dead on the scene.

Becky Fisk, 35, was trapped in the driver’s seat of her SUV. Her 13-year-old son was also in the vehicle. Conroe firefighters cut her out. She was transported to Hermann Hospital in the Woodlands in critical condition and taken to surgery with leg injuries. Her nephew was transported in stable condition.

According to witnesses, the Eclipse was traveling eastbound on the loop between 80 and 100 mph. The Eclipse went up into the center turn lane where he lost control and started to travel sideways into the path of the Tahoe. Once he struck the Tahoe his vehicle spun at least three more times ejecting him.

Judge Spikes ordered Metcalf Funeral Directors to transport Boatright to the Montgomery County Forensic Center for autopsy.

Additional details on Boatright will be posted later tonight.

FEBRUARY 6, 2013
A dog was found in a garbage bag tied to a fence on a quiet road fighting for its life after being shot in the face.

Tami Augustyn’s neighbor was driving down Bulldog Lane in Conroe Saturday morning when a contractor’s garbage bag was spotted tied to a t-post. The neighbor noticed the bag moving and stopped to investigate. Another neighbor had seen the bag on his way to work around 2:45 AM but thought it was just trash. When the bag was ripped open a wounded dog covered in blood crawled out and managed to walk about two yards before collapsing on the ground.

Neighbors called animal control but got no response. That’s when they turned to Tami for help. Tami is known for rescuing distressed animals and immediately went to investigate once she received the call.

Tami knew all the veterinary clinics would be closing at noon on a Saturday and after seeing the condition the dog was in she took him to Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe on West Dallas. Since the dog was completely covered in blood she initially thought it was a “Bait Dog”. It was later determined the dog had been shot in the face with buckshot in the middle of a cold night, shoved in a garbage bag, and left along the road to die.

Tami, who has dedicated much of her adult life to rescuing animals, isn’t surprised. “Dogs love unconditionally. You’ll never find anyone or anything that loves you like a dog. Why would you injure something like that? I don’t understand’, Tami said. She says people don’t care about their animals, they allow them to run free and don’t spay / neuter. Others dislike dogs and shoot them when they find them on their property.

Buck, as the dog has been named, is a mixed breed weighing 60-70 pounds and approximately 3 years old. Buckshot lodged in his face, neck, shoulders, mouth, gums and in his eyes. When Tami arrived at the clinic with the dog, he was suffering from hypothermia after spending at least 10 hours alongside the road in a garbage bag. Luckily, she got Buck there in time and Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe was able to stabilize him. The clinic is a state of the art facility and has been providing after-hours and weekend emergency care for wounded animals in the Conroe area since 1978.

Dr. Ron Hendrick, a Veterinarian with Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe says he sees animals wounded as badly as Buck about once a month and injured animals on a daily basis. Dr. Hendrick said Buck is a sweet dog and his prognosis is good, but both the dog’s eyes contain buckshot and damage is most likely permanent. Buck shows signs of hearing loss and may have sustained brain damage that affects his mental capacity. Buckshot is usually removed from wounds, but not from the eyes. Buck will see a specialist Monday morning to help determine the extent of his vision loss. He will also be x-rayed to see why he is experiencing difficulty walking and moving.

Tami says Buck has perked up a little today and is able to lift his head but still can’t move properly. She faces rapidly increasing medical bills in her effort to save this dog. Current veterinary charges are estimated at over $3,000, and at least another $2,000 will be needed to continue providing specialized medical care for Buck. Tami is asking for donations to help with costs.

To make a donation:

· Call Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe at 936.539.3800

· Donate via PayPal to [email protected]

A Facebook page “Buck Needs Bucks for his Buckshot Injuries” documenting pictures of his wounds and medical bills has been created.


FEBRUARY 6, 2015
Just before 5 pm and after over one dozen witnesses for the day the Montgomery County Prosecutors announced that the State was resting. Defense will now start calling their witnesses on Monday in Galveston.

After a long morning with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Detective Thommy Duroy on the stand, the afternoon moved quickly with at least ten Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inmates who were brought in. These inmates were incarcerated in 1998 in the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center and many recalled the time. Over the past few months, investigators fanned out to find them at that time juveniles who were in the facility and interviewed them. Most of the inmates were promised letters to the parole board telling them of the cooperation with Montgomery County officials. To some, the inmates who will not be identified said it didn’t matter. One man said he has sixty years and it wouldn’t help him, another is to be released within 90 days as his sentence ends. All of the inmates expressed the fear of returning to TDCJ after testifying. They were told by the judge that they would not be identified by the media and she requested the same cooperation of the media. One inmate was said o have refused to go to the general population when he returned from TDCJ to Montgomery County to testify. He insisted on segregation, a small cell shared by nobody with no television. He feared being killed by other inmates. Others asked to be put in other TDCJ facilities on their return as to not be labeled as snitches. Yet another said he had now what was called a jacket on him for helping the state and could lead to injury or death.

Another inmate said he returned to Montgomery County and called his mother. She told him he better not lie on the stand. He told the jury if he did lie about Collins that it would be disrespecting his mother.

Of all the inmates most had accounts of the same type of Collins.

Donald was cocky and arrogant and told one inmate several ties he did not want to get told on after he molested Middleton so he tied him to a tree and set him on fire.

Another had two sons Middletons age and said to testify was the right thing to do.  He said he was in juvenile in 98 when news crews arrived and were doing a story on the center. Don Collins told this inmate that the crews were there for him, he said he set a kid on fire after he thought Middleton was going to tell on him.  Collins told the inmate, “I burned him real good”. The inmate said Collins was acting like Teflon Don, or a kingpin with a sinister chuckle. “He has to be one screwed up individual”, the inmate said.

Another inmate said Collins said he did it because he wanted to see what a burned body looked like.

One inmate went to the juvenile guards in 1998 and told them Collins talked about burning Middleton but never heard another thing about it.

Another inmate who appeared extremely nervous and said he was now a security risk if his name was published told the jury that Donald Collins told him in 98 about the fire and bragged how only the skin between his toes was not burned.

Robert Middleton’s sister Heather also testified Friday afternoon. She said in February of 1999 when Robbie w out of the hospital he said to her that he was going to his friend Humberto and was halfway down the trail when Collins grabbed him from behind and splashed gas in his face, he also felt it running down his back and then realized he was on fire.  She said Robert was not just a brother but a best friend and confided in her. He told her of being sexually assaulted by Collins but didn’t want his mother to know. However, Heather did eventually tell her years later. Robert said he was embarrassed.

Robert wanted to go to the family attorney to find out why the investigation stopped.

The day ended with a young man who was 8-years younger than Donald at the time of the burning of Middleton. He testified that while in his bedroom playing, Collins had a gun, he didn’t know what kind of gun, real, squirt or bb but it was a gun and he was scared of Collins. Collins sexually assaulted him for forty-five minutes and ended it with the statement that if this young man told. They were friends due to the fact Donald Collins was older and would get snuff and cigarettes for him. Collins told him that if he told anybody he would kill and burn him like the other boy.

Two days later the young man stated his mother somehow found out and tricked him into admitting it. His mother took him to Texas Children’s Hospital where it was verified by medical staff. There was also the record from back then on the investigation, however, Collins was still a juvenile.

A raw videotape from KRIV-TV was played which was recorded on June 30, 1998. In it the crew interviewed Collins as he stood on the other side of the fence. In the interview, Collins told reporters that when Middleton came out of the woods on fire Billie Jo asked who did it and told Middleton he wouldn’t get in trouble. Collins told the crew that Middleton said Rex did it. When Collins asked what he thought about what he stated Rex was a bully and Rex had been swimming maybe 30-35 minutes but it was a lie as it took Middleton at east 15 to get out of the woods.  Collins also told reporters that he had nightmares because of the event and how horrible it was. Collins said the next day they tried to raise $200 to open a bank account for the family and they had planned a band and party to raise money for the family.

Collins was also interviewed by KHOU-TV and was not shy about talking to reporters.

Monday morning the defense attorneys will start calling their witnesses.

FEBRUARY 6, 2015

FEBRUARY 6, 2015
At approximately 9:20 am on February 6, 2014, a house fire was reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Volunteer firemen and trucks from Livingston Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 165 Olivia Lane (off US-190 East), to find the front of the large brick home partially engulfed in flames. Americare Ambulance Service was dispatched to the scene. According to witnesses, Jodi Rupersburg (female), 42, of Soda, was rescued from the home. She was found in the vicinity of where the fire appeared to have started, and was passed out by her bed from smoke inhalation and also had burns on her body. Due to low visibility, Rupersburg was transported by Ambulance to the New Caney Fire Station where Life Flight was able to land and was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Another home occupant was also transported by ambulance to CHI Livingston Memorial Hospital with undisclosed injuries. Firemen from Livingston were soon backed up by Alabama Coushatta, Scenic Loop, and Onalaska VFDs. The owner of the home, Jeff Rupersberg doesn’t have homeowner’s insurance. Deputies John Cabiness and Terri Mayer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office began a preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire. At the time of the press, the cause of the fire is not known to The home is possibly totaled from fire, smoke, and water damage.

FEBRUARY 6, 2016
Just after 9 pm Saturday, Northeast Fire Department received a call for a fire on Lions Gate Drive in the Kenswick Subdivision just outside of Humble. The first trucks in were met with very heavy fire conditions. An adult male and female were both removed from the home by firefighters. With firefighters still searching for additional victims Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Richardson performed CPR in an attempt to save the male victim’s life. Richardson had been on patrol in the next subdivision over when he heard the call dispatch. He arrived just as the fire department arrived and ahead of EMS and additional fire crews. Cypress Creek EMS arrived moments later and worked to stabilize the female victim. The male was transported to the hospital in critical condition where he passed away. The female victim was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center by Life Flight. She remains in critical condition. Northeast Fire Department was assisted by Eastex, Spring and Aldine Fire Departments, The house suffered extensive damage. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

FEBRUARY 6, 2018
Just after 2am Porter firefighters responded to a reported abandon house fire on Inca Drive off Holly Ridge and Sorters Road. They arrived to find a 2-story home fully involved. Additional units from EMC, Caney Creek, and South Montgomery County Fire responded to the scene. The home was a total loss.

FEBRUARY 6, 2021
At 9:57 pm Caney Creek, North Montgomery County, East Montgomery County, and Needham Fire Departments were dispatched to a mobile home fire in the 12900 block of FM 1485 just north of FM 2090. On arrival, heavy fire conditions were in one end of the home. No injuries were reported. The Montgomery County Fire Marshals Office is investigating.