Brownwood "Cold Case" Murders & KXYL Media Bashing
Brown County sheriff opening old cases
No suspects indicted in '89, '96 homicides
By Celinda Emison / Reporter-News Staff Writer
June 3, 2005
BROWNWOOD - Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs is opening two unsolved homicide cases and hopes the Texas Rangers Cold Case Squad will offer assistance.
Two of Brown County's unsolved homicides involve Amanda Goodman, 13, who was found dead on a country road south of Brownwood in May 1989; and the shooting death of Leon Laurales in May 1996.
Grubbs said investigators ran into dead ends on these two cases.
''I investigated both cases when they happened, and I would like to see them solved,'' Grubbs said. ''It's like an albatross that I have carried for all these years.''
A motorist found Goodman's body about 12 miles south of Brownwood on Indian Creek Road about an hour after classes were dismissed at Brownwood Middle School on May 16, 1989. Witnesses reported seeing Goodman, an eighth-grader, walking home from school that day. Goodman died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Grubbs said several people were questioned at the time, but no one was ever indicted. Grubbs said the Goodman case has haunted him over the years and that her family deserves to know what happened.
''We believe she got in the car with someone she knew,'' he said. ''When she was found, she was laying on the side of the road with her school books next to her.''
Goodman's mother, Barbara Nejtek, 54, of Early, said she wants to make finding her daughter's killer her life's work. She is seeking information from anyone who knows something about the case.
''These kids (who were classmates of Goodman) are men and women now, and anyone who knew her at the time, I beg them to please come forward,'' Nejtek said.
Almost seven years later, on May 10, 1996, two motorists traveling on FM 2126 around 12:30 a.m. reported a car on fire. When firefighters arrived, they found the body of Leon Laurales, 29, a few feet from the car, dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
According to reports, Laurales was to have reported to his job at Kroger Food Store at midnight, but never showed up.
''We've had several leads and have investigated every tip we've heard of, but still we don't have a suspect,'' Grubbs said.
In 1996, Laurales' older brother George Laurales, of Bangs, hired a Dallas private investigator to help with the case. In 2002, the family offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. But no suspects have been identified.
''To me, whoever did this took advantage of my brother - he was bullied,'' said George Laurales, 51. ''I believe there is more than one person involved and I would like for them to be caught and brought to justice. I've been praying for that.''
Grubbs said both cases will be presented to the Cold Case Squad soon. Old evidence will be reviewed and new technology, such as DNA testing, will be used.
To report a tip in either case, call (325) 646-5510.
Contact Brownwood staff writer Celinda Emison at (325) 641-8804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note from Steve, The Brownwood Talking Heads at KXYL (Watts Communications) were heavily bashing the Abilene Reporter News this morning with the charge being led by Brown County Republican Party Spokesperson James Williamson. Thank God for the Abilene Reporter News, The Dallas Morning News (also heavily bashed this morning on the airwaves of KXYL) and other newspapers across the country who often report on "community issues and denial" that the local press refuses to cover. In 1996, when Leon laureles was murdered, who was "the bully of the airwaves" in Brownwood ? What "talkin head" was/is doing all the name calling, demonizing and gay bashing on his daily show ? Does the term "News and Views" ring a bell ? I guess some "Neo-conservatives" only believe in "negative influence" when it has to do with the evils of Harry Potter !