Thursday, November 1, 2007







2-year-old found dead
in caregiver’s arms

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–It’s the second time in the last two months that brutal slayings of children have hit the front pages of local newspapers.
Early last month, a 6-year-old girl was found hung in the garage of her Navarro Mills home.
This time, it hits closer to home.
A 2-year-old boy was discovered dead in a Royal Oaks trailer home Thursday night.
It was obvious to authorities that he suffered a great deal before he died.
The little boy’s caregiver at the time – Michael Whitman, 37 – has been charged with capital murder and is in the Henderson County jail being held on a half-a-million dollar bond.
He was reported to be the grandmother’s boyfriend. Whitman has a criminal history dating back to 1994.
Tool assistant police chief Martha Decker released information Friday.
The Tool police responded to a 911 call around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
When they arrived, Tina Smith, the boy’s grandmother, met authorities and indicated her grandson was deceased in the house.
The boy’s mother, Tamara Overturf, was outside the front door, visibly upset.
When Decker entered the house, she found Whitman holding the dead child.
Overturf became distraught to the point of having seizures, and Decker called for an ambulance and back-up.
The child, who authorities have not identified, but who has been reported to be called Malaki, had bruises, contusions and ligature marks.
Official cause of death will not be known until Southwestern Institute for Forensic Medicine in Dallas completes an autopsy.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock pronounced the child dead at the East Texas Medical Center in Gun Barrel City that night.
Overturf, was taken by ambulance to ETMC-Athens, where she was admitted into intensive care.
His father was identified as Michael Dick.
One Dallas news organization quoted Dick as saying when he saw his son, “he was blue from the neck up, as if he had been choked.”
No information was released as to the parents or grandmother’s whereabouts on the evening in question.
A second child, belonging to Smith – a 9-year-old girl – was removed from the home by Child Protective Services, while it conducts its investigation.
The Texas Rangers are investigating the murder case.

Heritage Cove: ‘We have flushes’
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The final signature was affixed and the check paid to hook up sewer service to the Heritage Cove project Friday.
“It started with the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District, and it’s ending with them,” Curtis Webster commented afterwards.
The ECCFWSD board unanimously agreed to supply service when the Economic Development Corporation offered a $35,312.58 check to pay the impact fee.
The fee compensates part of the cost of the ongoing wastewater treatment plant expansion, and was calculated based on projected use by the tenants of Heritage Cove.
The controversy started about a year ago, when members of the water district board attended a meeting of the EDC and said that no one had informed them of the project’s expectation for sewer service from the district.
“It’s good to get this project back on track, so we can go on to bigger things,” Gun Barrel city manager Gerry Boren said.
In other business, directors:
• approved sewer installation for Josh Veach at 136 Marina Drive.
The decision followed a conference with legal counsel, who warned directors to be careful about setting a precedent.
Veach’s property had been served by a gravity sewer system, which no longer can be maintained, general manager Bill Goheen told directors. However, someone had paid for the sewer tap in 1980, he added.
Further complicating the issue, was no easement was procured for the laying of sewer lines to the property.
“I recommend we pay for the material to restore that connection,” Goheen said.
Veach has activated that account and has been paying since March of this year, he added.
The cost to the district is estimated to be $3,500, Goheen said.
The plan calls for upgrading the system, getting an easement to serve the two bordering properties in exchange, and digging a 240-foot trench to the force main.
“I don’t believe it would set a general precedent,” director Harry McCune said, and made a motion favoring approval.
The measure passed with one Carol Meyer opposed. She saw it as paying for something the property owner should pay for.
• approved an outlay request for expenditures attributed to the 2007 Series Bond for the Brookshire Clarifier project to Lamarc totaling $42,720.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Steve Webster, representing the Gun Barrel City
Economic Development Corporation, hands a check
for $35,312.58 to East Cedar Creek Fresh Water
Supply District board president David Burch Friday.

Nurse Campbell? Oh my!

Monitor Photo/David Cason
Friends of the Animals Clinic volunteer
Joy Simmons gets a hug from warmhearted
“Nurse Glen-da Campbell, DVM” before
beginning the day’s spay and neuter surgeries
Tuesday in Gun Barrel City.