AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.
In Travis County, while working with the United States Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Christopher Michael Garcia in Austin on February 23. Garcia had an outstanding warrant for murder issued by the Austin Police Department.
In Ellis County, Brandon Douglas Wilder was arrested in Midlothian on February 23. Wilder had an outstanding warrant for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact issued by the Midlothian Police Department.
In Smith County, while working with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Jordan Syncere Hankins in Tyler on February 23. Hankins had an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Robbery issued by the Tyler Police Department.
The Texas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Unit made one arrest in relation to sexual assault of a child.
In San Patricio County, Gabriel Gonzales, 56, of Mathis was arrested on a sexual assault of a child warrant. This case was received as a tip from the Polaris National Hotline, as well as a request for assistance by the Mathis Police Department. During the investigation, it was determined that in 2020, Gonzales sexually assaulted a child in Mathis. Gonzales was taken into custody without incident and was transported to the San Patricio County Jail with a $40,000 bond.
Elledge murder and child abuse cases involve 40 witnesses
COLUMBIA, MO – At a status hearing for murder suspect Joseph Elledge on Friday, the state filed motions to endorse 40 witnesses for multiple charges against the defendant.
Elledge, 24, is charged with first-degree murder as well as unrelated charges for child abuse, child endangerment and third-degree domestic assault. He’s accused of killing his wife, Mengqi Ji, in October of 2019.
On Friday, the state asked that 23 witnesses in the murder case and 17 in the child abuse case be endorsed.
Ji’s body has not been found.
As previously reported by the Missourian, Columbia police recently resumed the search, continuing the excavation of a levee in the Lamine River, where investigators have said they have reason to believe Ji’s body might be found.
Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight said the trial could take up to a month, because of delays related to COVID-19 and translating witness testimony. Many of the witnesses called to testify speak Chinese.
In another layer of complication for the case, processes for selecting and impaneling jurors have become protracted because of reduced occupancy limits in courtrooms and the need for safe social distance.
No trial date has been set. A bond hearing was scheduled for Nov. 30, and Knight said at that point the court may have a better idea when the trial will begin.
Father charged with homicide, Child Abuse after emaciated teen son found dead
MERCER COUNTY, PA – A Pennsylvania father is facing charges after his 14-year-old son who only weighed 70 pounds was found dead.
The emaciated teen was discovered outside of the family’s home Thursday morning.
Police say his father Antonio Juan Gonzalez is the one who called 911.
The teen was homeschooled and lived in the home with his father and his 4-year-old sister.
Police say their mother died years ago.
The little girl was average weight and seemed to be in good health.
She’s now in state custody.
Police say they can’t believe the conditions the children had to live in.
Lt. Dan Ekis/state police crime section commander:
“It was squalor conditions. It was in a country setting. The victim was found just inside the trailer,” said Lt. Dan Ekis, the state police crime section commander. “We couldn’t begin to understand what this child went through in fourteen short years, but obviously the way he died, especially at the hands of his father, is especially disturbing.”
Paul Bacorn, a friend of the father, is also facing charges for endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy.
Meanwhile, authorities are waiting for an autopsy to confirm the teen’s cause of death.
Man charged with murder, Child Abuse in Midland toddler’s death
MIDLAND, MI – A Kalamazoo County man is charged with murder in connection with the death of a Midland toddler.
Damian A. Garrett, 23, of Augusta, on Friday, Sept. 20, appeared in Midland County District Court for arraignment on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. Both are life offenses, with the former mandating no possible parole if convicted.
The arraigning judge denied granting Garrett bond.
Police had arrested Garrett in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 19. Two days prior, at about 3:05 p.m., police responded to an apartment in the 5200 block of Hedgewood Drive for a report of a child not breathing. They arrived to find emergency medical responders in the process of rendering CPR to an unresponsive girl.
The 21-month-old girl, identified by Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks as Skylar N. Papple, was transported to Mid-Michigan Medical Center where staff pronounced her dead.
Garrett was in a dating relationship with the child’s mother, police have said.
Brooks said Skylar died due to drowning and also suffered some secondary head trauma. Garrett had been home alone with Skylar, giving her a bath, Brooks said.
At some point, he ran to neighbors’ homes seeking help, then flagged down a UPS driver, who called 911, Brooks said.
Garrett is to appear for a preliminary examination at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
2,246 fetal remains found in Illinois home
of abortion doctor
After Dr. Ulrich Klopfer died in rural Crete, Illinois, on Sept. 3, authorities found “2,246 medically preserved fetal remains” in his home.
Klopfer performed thousands of abortions in northern Indiana clinics before his medical license was revoked in 2016. But it’s unclear where the fetal remains came from, though the Will County, Illinois, Sheriff’s office said in a news release there was no evidence that Klopfer performed abortions on his Illinois property.
Public records show that Klopfer had not been licensed to practice medicine in Illinois since 1990, when he failed to renew his license. Records do not show Klopfer holding any other state’s medical license after the Indiana suspension.
Authorities are not saying if they think Klopfer, 79, transported the remains from Indiana, how the fetal remains had been preserved or why the remains may have been in his possession in the first place.
Kathy Hoffmeyer, Will County, Ill., Sheriff’s spokeswoman, on Monday called this a sensitive investigation and declined to release details.
Indiana records allege the doctor, first licensed in 1979, had a history of bad record keeping in his clinics.
According to a complaint filed by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, Klopfer worked in clinics in South Bend, Gary and Fort Wayne from 2012 to 2015.
The board in 2016 found that Klopfer failed to properly file paperwork regarding abortions performed at the clinics, including some that were dated the same day as the procedure, a violation of Indiana’s 18-hour waiting period.
The licensing board found he performed abortions on two 13-year-olds without filing paperwork within three days as required by law.
The allegations regarding the 13-year-olds led to misdemeanor criminal charges in two counties, which Klopfer was facing at the same time he fought to keep his medical license, records show.
He was charged with failing to timely file a public report and admitted wrongdoing in St. Joseph County in 2014 and Lake County in 2015, according to the licensing board’s complaint. Under terms of the pretrial diversion agreements, the misdemeanor charges were later dismissed.
None of the Indiana allegations against Klopfer were related to fetal remains. How such remains ended up on Klopfer’s property are a mystery.
In the news release, the sheriff’s office said a lawyer for the Klopfer family first told officials about the discovery of the fetal remains. IndyStar left a message on Monday for the attorney, identified by WMAQ-TV (Channel 5) Chicago as Kevin P. Bolger.
Klopfer’s family had no idea the fetal remains were inside the doctor’s rural home, Bolger told WMAQ on Saturday.
“No one has any answers,” Bolger told the station. “The family is cooperating 100%.”
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill told IndyStar on Monday that the discovery of the fetal remains “shocks the conscience.” Hill said his office will work with the office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on an investigation into the “grisly” findings.