Kaufman County officials dispute man's claims about homicide investigations

Posted Monday, Apr. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office said Monday that a man's comments were "inaccurate and unauthorized" that claimed some family members of slain Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were dissatisfied with the investigation.

Keller resident Chris Heisler, who heads the Honor Network, said Saturday that McLelland had doubts before his death that Kaufman County officials could solve the Jan. 31 killing of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. Heisler also said that some family members had concerns that not enough was being done to solve the slaying of the McLellands, who were found fatally shot in their home near Forney on March 30.

Lt. Justin Lewis, a Kaufman County Sheriff's Office spokesman, issued a news release disputing Heisler's statements and said officials had talked with family members who did not agree with his comments.

"While we appreciate and applaud Mr. Heisler's efforts to promote the honor and memory of this nation's fallen heroes and protectors, it must be remembered that Mr. Heisler is not a law enforcement officer and is not affiliated with the investigation into the deaths of Mike and Cynthia McLelland or Mark Hasse in any manner," Lewis said.

The deaths of the McLellands and Hasse are being investigated by the FBI, Texas Rangers as well as Kaufman County officials. Lewis said that all the agencies are focused on "investigating the crimes committed -- nothing more, nothing less" and that officials cannot constantly update family members about the status of the investigation.

"We understand and empathize with the desire of those concerned about the investigation to receive updates and information," Lewis said. "Unfortunately, that desire not only lies with the media, the public, and the family of Mike and Cynthia McLelland and of Mark Hasse. That desire also lies with the person(s) responsible for these murders and in those who would like to hinder the investigation."

Heisler is head of the Honor Network, a nonprofit group that draws attention to people killed while serving the public. He made his comments at a news conference at his home Saturday.

Lewis said that "any information released about the investigation by any other source, including Mr. Heisler, is not official and is purely speculative in nature."

At Saturday's news conference, Heisler said that county law enforcement authorities are too thin on the ground to provide security for local officials while investigating three deaths.

Heisler said that the McLelland survivors he was representing were not angry with law enforcement authorities in Kaufman County but that they just believe more help should have been brought in earlier.

"They are doing a great job, but there's not many of them," Heisler said at the news conference.

Heisler said if federal agencies had become involved sooner, there may have not been more killings.

After Hasse's shooting, the McLellands had some protection "but obviously not round the clock," Heisler said.

Bill Hanna, (817) 390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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