Sunday, April 5, 2009




  Lost boater found
Searchers recover body of Cross Roads High School senior at Richland Chambers
Special to The Monitor
Aaron Reed, Texas Parks and Wildlife

NAVARRO COUNTY– After a week-long search of waters near the U.S. Highway 287 bridge on Richland Chambers Reservoir, Texas game wardens and officers from the Tarrant Regional Water District recovered the body of 17-year-old Jerrod Rachel at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday.
Rachel, a senior at Cross Roads High School, in Malakoff, and his grandfather, Jerry King, 72, of Athens, were reported missing March 24.
Divers from the Texas Department of Public Safety recovered King’s body March 27.
King’s pontoon boat was found lodged in standing timber near Hickey Island north of the U.S. Hwy 287 bridge on the 41,000-acre lake in Navarro County.
A fisherman at Oak Cove Marina reported seeing King’s pontoon boat drift past the afternoon of March 24 but initially thought the occupants were just out of sight.
The boat’s global positioning system indicated that it began drifting approximately one-half mile south of the bridge.
Game wardens reconstructed the boat’s track across the lake using the GPS and focused search efforts along a broad swath of water along that path.
Texas game wardens, the Tarrant Regional Water District, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety all participated in the search.

Honoring a heart of compassion
Citizens rally in tribute to Ron Shields – a child’s defender
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

HENDERSON COUNTY–A man motivated to preserve the future by looking out for the abused children of Henderson County is winding down his career.
He has built a legacy in the form of the hundreds of police officers he’s taught and children’s lives he’s saved that bodes well for the future of Henderson County and Texas that will extend far into the future.
His name is Ron Shields.
Courtesy photo
Ron Shields with his grand-daughter. Shields believes children are the “most important commodity the United States of America has.”

Many know him as their mentor, teacher and a “cop’s cop.” Others know him as their defender and hero.
Currently the police chief in Brownsboro, Shields teaches police officers at the East Texas Police Academy in Athens and has served the county for more than 20 years.
He is best known for his 10 years of investigative work on child abuse and sexual assault cases.
A gathering of Henderson County citizens is set for 2 p.m. Sunday (today) at the Cain Center to honor Shields and to shower him with gratitude and respect.
The 81st Texas Legislature approved a resolution commending Ron Shields for “exemplifying the highest ideals of the law enforcement profession” and for his service in adding to the safety and well-being of his fellow Texans.”
The resolution was presented by Rep. Betty Brown.
“I am privileged to honor Chief Shields,” Brown said. “His contributions to our country and our community are immeasurable, and I want him to know how much his service is appreciated.”
Coworkers describe him as one of the finest men they’ve ever known.

Courtesy photo/Athens Review/Aaron Skinner
Ron Shields (left), Brian Nutt, Justice of the Peace Milton Adams and Ray Nutt (right) at the home of slain Athens attorney John Key Jr. published Nov. 27, 1995.

“His greatest contribution is his dedication to the kids of this county,” former sheriff’s deputy Wayne Carrell said. “He gave it his all. I can’t say enough good things about Ron. It was a privilege to work with him.”
Carrell and Shields patrolled the east side of the county as sheriff’s deputies until 1999, when Carrell retired from law enforcement.
“He’s a great guy, like a brother to me,” he said. Now, Carrell manages the county fairgrounds. “I always knew I could depend on him. We’ve backed each other up in numerous occasions, especially on domestic violence calls,” Carrell said.
Before Shields joined the Sheriff’s Office, he was a successful businessman, operating Shields TeleCom in Athens for eight years. But when personal tragedy hit at the same time rapid changes in the telecommunications industry began, Shields changed course and found his true calling.
Courtesy photo/
Sheriff Howard

“Slick” Alfred (left) congratulates Ron Shields for one of the many commendations he received over his 20-year career with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department.

His close associate at the time, Wayne Pitts, oversaw reserve police officers, and talked Shields into giving law enforcement a try. Shields soon learned that he loved the work.
His true calling
All of his intellect, drive and passion were employed in getting as much training as he could to become as effective as he could as a sheriff’s deputy.
“I helped train him and taught him a great deal,” Sheriff Ray Nutt told The Monitor. “But the truth of it was, I was learning from Ron, too,” he said.
As a rookie, Shields got to cut his investigative teeth on a famous capital murder case in Cherokee Shores, which took two years to solve.
Betty Beets, who had staged her fifth husband’s death as a lake accident, was finally brought to trial and convicted for the murder of Jimmy Don Beets, whose body was discovered buried under an ornamental well in his front yard.
The body of a second man, identified as Doyle Wayne Barker, Betty Beets’ fourth husband, was also found under a shed on the property.
Betty Beets was executed after world publicity of her sentencing and 16 years after J.D. Beets was reported missing in August, 1983.
Shields served the county as an investigator for 14 years, leading the investigations of 40 homicides, clearing all but one by arrest.
Nutt recalls a homicide case he and Shields worked on, while Nutt was a Texas Ranger. Shields’ investigative skill developed a usable fingerprint that led investigators to the abductor of a young, pregnant military wife, Melissa Dawn Dixon.
“Ron had the training, skill and patience to find that latent print on one of the window screens,” Nutt said.
“It belonged to the suspect, and we were able to get him. The fact that Ron was talented enough and trained to develop that print speaks volumes about his professionalism,” Nutt said.
“That was one of the bigger cases Ron worked,” Chief Deputy Dan Parker told The Monitor. Parker was a patrol sergeant then and remembers receiving the missing person’s report.
“But it didn’t matter if it was a major case or mail stolen from a mailbox, he brought the same attention to each one,” Parker said.
Compassionate Investigation
For 10 years, Shields served as a full-time investigator of physical and sexual abuse of children, resulting in an average of 50 arrests per year.
It takes a special dedication and professionalism to investigate such heart-rending situations day in and day out, year in and year out. Shields is said to have been the “front line in the capture and prosecution of criminal child abusers.”
In a 1995 interview with the Athens Review, Shields shared where his commitment to these types of cases came from. “In my opinion, children are really the most important commodity the United States of America has,” he said. He regards them as the nation’s future and his mission to protect them.

The Monitor file photo
Members of the police academy salute the colors during the annual police officer memorial held in Athens June, 2008.

“There’s a whole different psychology at work interviewing children and parents,” co-investigator Gary Kirkwood said in the same 1995 article.
“Ron excels with the kids. He obviously cares about them and knows how to get them to open up,” he said.
Shields described that psychology as a “combination of training and being a grandfather.”
In the article he said, the training includes more than 400 hours of course work, specifically related to these types of cases. He also credited Sheriff Howard “Slick” Alfred for his support of training and education.
One of the saddest facts in cases of abuse and neglect is that those who are raised in an atmosphere of violence accept abuse as normal, Shields said. And families don’t want to talk about it.
When asked how he gets through the emotional toll, investigating such cases, Shields responded, “I’ve got a very supportive family that helps me deal with it.”
“His wife, Lois, deserves a medal for all she’s put up with due to his dedication to the force and teaching at the academy,” Parker said. “They have a great relationship.”
Lois may not have gotten a medal but she remembers a well-worded letter from the Sheriff which read: “Behind all good men, there is an excellent woman.”
“I let those words warm my heart for months and months,” she told The Monitor.
Lois Shields has been married to Ron for 45 years, come August.
Though she doesn’t know any names, she says there are countless young women who have come up to her while she’s shopping to hug her and thank her for all Ron has done for them.
“He’s made such a big difference in their lives,” she said.
Beth Renberg heartily agrees. She was one of Ron Shields’ students, who now works for the Child Advocacy Center.
“It wouldn’t have been the same county had he not done everything he did,” she said.
The East Texas Crisis Center (ETCC) awarded Shields the 2008 Hope Award for the impact his work has had on victims of domestic violence. Shields has worked closely with the center over the past eight years.
“The award was a longtime in coming,” Center director Donna Johnson said.
“He has been a huge asset to me in my role as a legal advocate,” she said.
The ETCC trains law enforcement in the dynamics of domestic violence and conducts First Responder training about three times a year, she said.
“Law enforcement is all heart and soul. If you don’t have that, don’t waste your time,” Shields says to his police academy cadets. “He’s very direct and pulls no punches,” former student Teresa Ogburn told The Monitor.
“He’s what every cop wants to be. We want to be Ron Shields when we grow up,” Ogburn said.
Shields began teaching at the academy in 1999 and had seven students. Since then, hundreds of law enforcement officers have gone through his eight-month instructional programs for basic, intermediate and advanced training. Today, an average of 30 students enroll for each of two sessions he teaches annually.
“I was afraid going into law enforcement because of its tendency to be cold and callous,” former student Jim McKee told The Monitor.
“But Ron Shields demonstrates a man of heart. His example gives me permission to be myself, just as he does,” McKee said.
Shields punctuates his instruction with memorable one-liners that guide his active duty officers in what to do and how to stay safe.
In addition, he refers his students to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, a copy of which he carries with him daily and teaches his students to do the same.
“When I go to work, it’s like I have a little Ron Shields on my shoulder telling me what to do,” Ogburn, a Kaufman County deputy, said. “It’s because of the way he teaches and lives – and the words he uses. We just soak it up like a sponge.”


Man shot after violating protective order
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Henderson County deputies Ray Yockey and Cliff Arnold responded to a shooting call off County Road 3508 in the Murchison area Wednesday.
They found Eric John Hatton, a white male, 31, inside a residence with a single gunshot wound to his leg.
Eric Hatton was at the location, in violation of a protective order signed by Judge David Holstein July, 2008.
Investigator Bryan Tower determined Hatton was shot by his father, Freddie Hatton, 74, after a disturbance at the residence.
Deputies recovered a .44 magnum handgun used in the offense.
Eric Hatton was transported to ETMC Athens and is reported in stable condition.
No arrests were made and an investigation is ongoing, according to a department news release issued by Sheriff Ray Nutt.
He also reported two arrests in Brownsboro following an attempted traffic stop.
Tuesday, special deputy John Daniels arrested Johnnie King at his Horton Street residence when he pulled in to the driveway.
King allegedly evaded Daniels’ attempts to pull him over earlier. He was placed under arrest for evading arrest detention.
After the vehicle was searched and a quantity of methamphetamine found, an additional charge was filed for possession of controlled substance under one gram.
Both charges are state jail felonies. King posted $10,500 bond and was released the same day.
Also, Colby Wall, 30, was arrested inside the King residence on two probation violation warrants out of Anderson County. He is currently in jail on these warrants.

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