Thirty-seven years after a man reported his 5-year-old nephew had been kidnapped outside a Mansfield convenience store, the man has been charged with the child’s murder.
Tarrant County court documents accuse Terry Lee Woodson, 64, of causing the death of his nephew, Anthony “Burt” Tyrone Woodson, by hitting the boy with an electrical cord or an unknown item. Woodson was charged Wednesday.
The boy’s remains have not been found, police say.
Woodson remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Monday with bail set at $200,000.
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Burt had been living with his aunt and uncle at the time he disappeared.
According to a Star-Telegram article published in September 1982 about the boy’s disappearance, Burt had first gone to live with his paternal grandmother after his parents were divorced in 1978.
The article says Burt’s mother had agreed to turn over custody to his grandmother if she would be allowed to retain custody of a younger son.
When the grandmother’s eyesight began to deteriorate, Burt was sent to live with his paternal uncle and his then wife. Burt’s father was in prison at the time..
Burt had been living with his uncle and aunt less than a year when he was reported to have been kidnapped on Aug. 29, 1981.
Terry Woodson told police he had gone to the 7-11 store at 1016 E. Broad but left the boy, who had climbed into the backseat, in the car to sleep.
He said that after a few minutes in the store, he returned to the car but did not realize Burt was missing until arriving home.
He told police he’d noticed another car pull up next to his in the convenience store’s parking lot but could not describe the driver.
Woodson declined to talk about his nephew’s disappearance for the 1982 article but a sister, Peggy Woodson, told the Star-Telegram that her brother and Burt were very close.
“Terry was real good to Burt. He didn’t have any children of his own and really loved his nephew,” Peggy Woodson told the newspaper at the time. “Burt used to talk about all the things he and Terry were doing and he acted like he really loved living with Terry.”
Police conducted an extensive search for the boy but Burt was never found nor heard from again.
In May 2017, Mansfield police began re-investigating the case.
“As the cold case investigation progressed, it was revealed that Anthony was not kidnapped out of his uncle’s vehicle,” Mansfield police officials said in a new release about the recent arrest. “Numerous interviews with the uncle, Terry Lee Woodson, revealed that Anthony was in fact beaten to death at the hands of Terry Woodson during the course of ‘discipline.’”
The release states information provided by Woodson “has been corroborated by witnesses and official statements.”
Woodson was arrested on a murder warrant on Aug. 16.
Walt Cleveland, Woodson’s court-appointed defense attorney, said Monday that he could not comment because he was not yet familiar with the case.
“I have not seen my client yet. I’ll do that in the morning. I have not seen any discovery yet or anything like that. All I’ve done is read the complaint and a couple of news stories.”
Anyone with information about the location of Anthony’s body or any other information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Tom Hewitt at 817-804-5710 or the department’s after-hours number at 817-473-0211.