Manhunt On For Parolee
Woman Murdered, Eldest Daughter Kidnapped, Youngest Daughter Raped
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN-Authorities in Kaufman County have mounted a massive manhunt, involving the U.S. Marshal's Office and Texas Rangers, for a murder suspect, who is also believed to have kidnapped the 19-year-old daughter of the murder victim.
According to two younger teenage daughters, who were able to free themselves from their bonds, the suspect also sexually assaulted the youngest daughter Monday.
Authorities say the suspect is Daniel Joseph Griffin, 34, described as 5-9 with reddish-brown hair, and weighing about 172 pounds.
Griffin also has several tattoos on his arms and chest.
Griffin reportedly left the scene in a powder blue 1994 Plymouth Voyager minivan with Texas license plates T55-PPL, taking Christina Harrison with him.
Harrison's sisters told a neighbor she was taken by force.
Police are describing Griffin as extremely dangerous and possibly armed.
The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office dispatch reported receiving a 9-1-1 call at 2 p.m. Monday.
When authorities arrived to the Silverado Estates between the city of Kaufman and Elmo on County Road 101, officials found the body of Cheri Lynn Duggan, 38, inside a single-wide mobile home.
"It is believed Ms. Duggan was killed earlier in the morning, around 7 a.m.," according to a press release.
Though the cause of death has yet to be determined by a medial examiner, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported the victim had received a stab wound to the neck.
The same article stated neighbor Chuck Stradley reported the two youngest daughters told sheriff deputies that Griffin was looking for money, and became angry when he didn't find any. He then killed Duggan, and raped the youngest daughter, Stradley reported.
Stradley also said Griffin was Harrison's boyfriend.
"He tried to cash one of the family's checks this morning at a local store, but they wouldn't cash it," he told the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
The Telegraph reported Griffin, a parolee, has a lengthy criminal history, having been convicted of burglary, felony escape from confinement, and felony theft and credit card abuse.
Harrison is described as a white female, 5-3, weighing about 185 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.
First Heavy Rain Calls for Cautious Driving
Monitor photo/Pearl Cantrell
The first heavy rains to break the recent dry spell at Cedar Creek Lake also prompted the first hydroplaning accident on the State Highway 334 causeway just minutes after the rain started coming down in earnest. Driver Kimberly Jean Nichols of Seven Points lost control of her 2003 Dodge Stratus at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Her car spun around twice, hitting the guardrail and smashing up the front. The impact was hard enough to deploy both front seat air bags. No other cars were involved. A passing motorist placed an emergency call. Nichols was transported to ETMC Gun Barrel City. No serious injuries were reported.
Kemp PD Solves Rash of Burglaries
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP-Kemp police have made four arrests in connection with a rash of 13 burglaries, which occurred during a five-day period Aug. 27-31.
Three 19-year-olds and one juvenile have been arrested, and are awaiting their court date.
Jerry Moye, Brandon Stewart and Erica Jones, all with Kemp addresses, were arrested.
"We believe they were involved in most of them," Capt. Steven Lambert told The Monitor. "They all knew each other and hung out at the same places."
Moye and Jones are known to have performed at least one burglary together, and took the goods to Stewart, who was charged with tampering with the evidence (stolen goods), Lambert said.
The burglaries involved two businesses, six houses and five vehicles.
Cash and small portable items were taken.
Police recovered several of the stolen items, including a rifle taken from a house.
Firefighters Honored at Appreciation Dinner
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK-It was inspired by the bold performance and cooperative effort of 11 local fire departments July 31, when they battled a blaze that left Mabank's historic Market Street with a gaping hole where four connecting buildings once stood.
Then, area residents had a front-row seat to the everyday heroics volunteer firefighters perform - and were witnesses to how much worse it could have been, except for the strenuous efforts of local firefighters working in blazing heat.
It struck a chord.
So, the Pacesetters Club decided something had to be done to publicly recognize and show appreciation to the many volunteer firefighters and their spouses for putting themselves in harm's way to protect life and property.
"We were discussing the fire at one of our meetings," Pacesetter Bruce Easily of Capt'n "B" Florist recalled.
"We marveled at the fact most all the firefighters are volunteers - on call for hazardous duty, and even mundane duties. The discussion snowballed, and we felt it was time these special volunteers were recognized," he explained.
The Pacesetters got busy planning and recruiting others to their cause, and the result was a touching tribute Monday night, which just happened to be the beginning of National Firefighters Appreciation Week.
"So many hands and hearts came together to produce the appreciation dinner," Easley said.
About 125 firefighters from 10 local fire departments, along with their spouses, were the honored guests at a barbecue dinner with all the trimmings, catered by Slab Happy BBQ of Eustace.
A full array of beverages and three huge decorated cakes rounded out the offerings.
Mabank city workers set out tables and chairs for some 200 and took them down again afterwards.
The evening's program was directed by former Dallas Fire Department Chaplain Denny Burris, who explained the origin of the Maltese Cross, which has come to represent firefighters nationwide.
Donations came from the Rotary Club, Gun Barrel City, Mabank, Kemp and Seven Points Branches of the area chamber, First State Bank, Franklin Bank and Teague Enterprises.
Also, Capt'n "B" Florist, the Civic League, Pinnacle Women's Club, Wal-Mart, Brookshire's stores, Ole West Bean & Burger, Victorian Lady Tea Room, Trinity Valley Electric Co-op, Papacita's, Ranch House, Sparklettes Water, American Ice, The Bread Store, AB Graphics (who did a beautiful job on the program), Ben E. Keith, Olena Boner, Jim and Jody Deller and Sally Rambo.
Elected officials were also on hand to honor the volunteer firefighters.
District 4 State Rep. Betty Brown presented proclamations of appreciation from Gov. Rick Perry to representatives of each department marking their excellent service.
Other dignitaries included Henderson County Judge David Holstein, Eustace Mayor Robert Pickle, Enchanted Oaks Mayor and assistant fire chief Don Warner and Enchanted Oaks City Councilman Dick Stein (also a firefighter), Precinct 4 Kaufman County Commissioner Jim Deller and Kemp EDC president Jody Deller, Precinct 2 Henderson County Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock, Mabank Mayor Pro-Tem Johnny Adams and Mabank City Council member Judy Junell-Miller.
After stuffing themselves with great food, being waited on hand and foot, and receiving accolades and proclamations, firefighters "got down" with the hip musical stylings of Dino "Danger" Perelli and enjoyed a night of carefree entertainment.
Eustace Marks Fire Prevention Week
Monitor Photos/Pearl Cantrell
ABOVE: Kindergarten teacher Kathleen Buie climbs a 55-foot ladder last Friday with the help of two Payne Springs firefighters for a bird's-eye view.
BELOW: Payne Springs Fire Rescue squad treated Eustace kindergarteners to their first close-up view of firefighting equipment Friday.