I wake every morning reliving July 12, 2011 and fast forward to today........ I am sad yet hopeful that everyday when I wake that this will be the day we see an arrest for Candance's murder.
As I explained in my Blog, I will use "real" names there is only one name I will leave out, if you feel I am judgemental or unfair in my writings about you please let me know we need to have a conversation.
This is my truth and my experiences dealing with some of the officials in Bell County.
Shortly after Candance was murdered I spoke with Jill McAfee at the Bell county District Attorney's office, her advice to me was to keep a journal and to make sure I write everything down. Little did she know I had already started a journal after Candance was murdered. I wondered why she would say that? Now I know why. Memory is a peculiar thing, monumental things that happen in our lives are easily recalled but the details can get skewed as the years pass.
I had originally written a four page manifesto to post here ousting the Bell County officials who I have encountered. I think most should retire or search for another occupation as they seem to be extremely discontented.
Upon reading my manifesto, I realized it would not be beneficial to Candance's case if I were to tell all. Besides, I had been told by the original investigator if I told everything I would be arrested for obstruction of justice.
So for now I will not tell all..............eventually the truth will come out, it always does.........................
Here we are today.
My last contact with District Attorney Garza, 1st Assistant DA McWilliams at the District Attorney's Office, Detective Harris with the Killeen Police Department was well over a year ago. Not one of them will return my phone calls or any messages.
Lisa Hatfield the Victim Liaison has not returned any of my calls since May 7, 2018 she had left me a voice mail on May 8, 2018 but has not returned a call since.
Most of you are not aware but, Detective Harris solved Candance's case in late 2015. Her case was submitted by email to 1st Assistant District Attorney McWilliams in early January of 2016 naming the suspect. No call from the Killeen Police Department was ever made informing us of this great news. I have to take onus of not staying diligent with my monthly calls to the Detective on Candy's case.
Truth be told, I got so frustrated and so tired of fighting an endless battle trying to get anyone to talk to me, it didn't matter how many messages I left, I NEVER received a call back. I stopped calling, I could not deal with with it any longer and resigned myself to the fact that the detective will call me if he had made any advancement or news on Candance's case. How wrong I was.
Although we have moved a few times we made sure our phone numbers never changed.
Because of that Candance's case sat in 1st Assistant District Attorney McWilliams email inbox for over a year, until I found out and started calling, if DNA testing needed to be redone, if a new DNA program came out and they wanted the tests redone.....(as they claim).........why wait until I started calling and questioning what is going on with Candance's case to do anything? You would think there would be a better way the DA's office can keep track of the case files submitted into their portal from KPD. As the mother of a murdered victim, I do not know the suspects name so as it was explained to me.....we only know if the case was declined by the suspects name. Nobody knows who has what case file or the date it was received. It took 2 days for them to locate Candance's case file.
Amazing to me that there doesn't seem to be a system in place to properly document these cases. It also seems there is a clear disconnect with communication between the District Attorney's office and the detectives at Killeen's police department.
Bell county is one of 2 counties in the whole state of Texas where the Detectives cannot make a felony arrest until the District Attorney's office "screens" the case and then if they believe it to be a solid case with enough evidence to prosecute, they will then take the case to the Grand Jury to review, the grand jury consists of 12 citizens who serve for certain period of time. After hearing the case the 12 will vote for an indictment (at least 9 need to vote for indictment). This will be recorded at the court house as a True Bill then an indictment will be written for the arrest of the suspect. This process in my opinion could be good and bad, good in the fact that you know if it does get approved and it goes to trial there will most likely be a conviction. The bad would be if the DA "screening" the case does not feel there is enough evidence it will not go to grand jury, it would be declined, the Detective should then be informed of the reason why.
I question this process and the decisions to turn down cases that clearly indicate that a named suspect committed that specific crime. I wonder if they are so complacent in their jobs that they will not take on certain cases. This puts the public in harm's way, which is a huge problem for the law-abiding citizens in Bell County.
How much evidence is needed for an arrest? The detectives work hard with due diligence on these cases and to have the DA decline for some absurd reason is baffling. The DA's office seems to rely heavily on DNA which they have from Candance's case, but no arrest has ever been made even though this suspects DNA ratio is 1 out of a billion! They seem the use the DNA retesting excuse an awful lot. Could take months to get results back...........Seriously? Maybe that is why no one in Killeen will talk to me...I ask too many questions.
I don't think there will never be a circumstantial case tried in Bell County as long as the "screening" process is in place, I don't think they would know what to do.............maybe that is what is going on with Candance's case. (Please note this is only my opinion).
This leaves the murderers, rapists, drug dealers and robbers on the streets to do what they do, which is why Killeen has been on the FBI's most dangerous cities to live in list for years.
I am not an attorney, just a citizen with a little common sense.
I read an article the other day from the Killeen Daily Herald written in July 2017, I could not believe what I was reading.......................... The story was about a young man 17 years old named Jason Smoot murdered in 2015. His mother as it turns out is living our nightmare with the Bell County District Attorney Office.
Questions to ponder......
How many cases continue to sit in someone's inbox, unread and forgotten? How many cases need additional DNA testing? Why does the DA feel the need to do their own "investigation"? I may be wrong here, but I thought that is what the Detectives at the police department do. If the DA needs to do their own investigation on these cases why even involve the detectives? How many grieving families will never see justice because of the "screening" process in Killeen? And how many families are threatened with arrest if they speak out?
The original Detective on Candance's case was Detective Ortiz, now currently employed as an investigator at the District Attorney's Office.
The Justice of the Peace was Potvin.
I will write about them in my blog.