Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


June 21, 2014

Remains ID’d as missing woman

JACKSONVILLE — On Friday, the San Augustine Sheriff's Department confirmed that remains found in March were those of a Jacksonville woman missing since 2006.

Shunte Coleman was reported missing in August 2006 by her grandmother, Margaret Anderson. At the time of Coleman's disappearance, she was thought to have connections to former Jacksonville Police Officer Larry Pugh.

In the summer of 2006, Pugh accepted a plea deal in federal court for two counts of sex assault while on duty and retaliation against a witness. He was awaiting trial at the time Coleman was reported missing.

Anderson told the Daily Progress in 2006 she believed her granddaughter was dead.

"Word was put out in Jacksonville that if anybody testified (against Pugh), they'd be dead," Anderson said in an article published Oct. 9, 2006, in the Daily Progress.

San Augustine's Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said Anderson was notified about Coleman's remains Thursday night.

"We are actively investigating the case," Cunningham said.

Cunningham said DNA evidence concluded Coleman had been dead more than one year but less than 10 years. Her skeletal remains were found March 12 near the intersection of FM 1196 and CR 347 in San Augustine County. According to a press release, the remains were found by a forester in a thickly wooded area.

Another woman with connections to Pugh who was reported missing in May 2006 was found dead in June 2007. The remains of Terri Renee Reyes of Athens were found near a Texas Forest Service road in San Augustine County in June 2007.

Pugh was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison in March 2007. According to police officials, he remains in jail. According to reports, nine women claimed to have been sexually assault by Pugh. Pugh denied all claims of sexual assault. In June 2007, the woman who was retaliated against and sexually assaulted was awarded $300,000 in punitive damages.

The San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI, recovered Coleman's remains and had them examined by a forensic anthropologist at Sam Houston State University.

The remains were then delivered to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, where DNA extracted from the remains were entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

San Augustine and Jacksonville officials were notified Thursday that the remains belonged to Coleman, the release said.

"We are making no comments or making any speculation, because we are not going to impede any other agencies investigation," Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said Friday. "We had a missing person’s case that is now cleared, and we will cooperate with the agencies involved if they request our assistance."

Coleman was last seen in Cherokee County in early July 2006, and was 26 at the time of her disappearance, Cunningham said.

The investigation into Coleman’s death is being continued by the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

Text Only
  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo