By Raymond Billy
SAN AUGUSTINE – The body of a missing women with connections to convicted rapist and former Jacksonville police officer Larry Pugh may have been found.
Although San Augustine County Sheriff Don Michaels was out of town and would not comment, two representatives from the San Augustine County Sheriff's Department said the body of Terri Renee Troublefield Reyes, 38, of Athens, was found by hunters on or near a Texas Forest Service road recently. She had been missing since May 21, 2006.
The sheriff's department would not confirm what condition the body was in when it was found.
Reyes was a witness in a rape investigation involving former Jacksonville Police Department officer Pugh. She and another woman, Shunte Coleman, disappeared while he was out on bond from federal court.
Coleman remains missing.
Jacksonville Chief of Police Reece Daniel cautioned the public not to jump to conclusions about Pugh’s possible role in the disappearances.
“I know there is intense speculation about their whereabouts due to their affiliation with Larry Pugh, but we have absolutely nothing at this time to indicate he had anything to do with their disappearance,” Daniel said. “However, that connection certainly adds a note of urgency to the need for us to locate both women.”
Pugh was arrested last August for allegedly assaulting another witness in the case.
In February and again last week Reyes’ mother Brenda Graham spoke to the Jacksonville Daily Progress and made a public plea for help in finding her daughter. Graham said she was worried about her daughter’s involvement with the Pugh case from the beginning.
“I told her she better shut up about it, but she said she wasn’t worried,” Graham said. “She trusted everybody.”
Pugh was sentenced to 144 months in federal prison on March 1.
Graham said the Athens Police Department had suggested Reyes’ lifestyle - which included a history of drug use - may have played a role in her disappearance.
“The police just tell me ‘Well, considering her lifestyle ... ,’ but I don’t give a damn about that,” Graham said.
Reyes had three children, ages 11, 15 and 19.
“You just do not know how difficult it is to not know where your daughter is,” she said prior to this week’s apparent discovery of her daughter’s body.
“I wish I had gone to the Jacksonville Police Department sooner,” she said. “I got no help from the Athens police.”
By Raymond Billy