Sheriff, Rangers investigate Forestburg death

The Montague County Sheriff’s staff and an officer with the Texas Rangers are investigating the Oct. 25 death of a 63-year-old Forestburg woman.
Chief Deputy Jack Lawson said the emergency call came in at 9:08 a.m. on Oct. 25 after Darlene Harrell was found deceased at her home. A possible cause of death is from a gunshot wound, but an autopsy was ordered.
Lawson said Harrell’s son, Terrell Johnston, called the sheriff’s office after finding his mother. He told investigators he had been at her home earlier around 6 a.m. which he said was the time they regularly drank coffee together.
“Any unattended death is considered homicide or suspicious until a determination is made otherwise,” explained the chief deputy. “The bullet has been located and the trajectory is being examined along with photos. A Ranger came in to assist and gather additional evidence. At this point, it may be self-inflicted, but it is being investigated.”
A funeral service for Harrell took place on Oct. 30 in Forestburg. A graduate of Forestburg High School and Texas Women’s University, she worked at United Healthcare for 19 years as a medical-surgical technician.

1 Comment on Sheriff, Rangers investigate Forestburg death

  1. Montague County District Attorney & Sheriff,
    If this a true homicide, please please please for the sake of justice and integrity, please handle this case correctly. Mr. Thomas, Montague Co Sheriff,you are a very qualified man with all your experience in the field of law, especially having previously retired as a Texas Ranger yourself. Also the current Montague County District Attorney Casey P has proved herself as a go getter. The only thing going against this case is the current District Judge. Who is concerned and I will quote, “Do you realize how much money it would cost the tax payers for a murder trial?”. According to the Attorney General’s Office that is NO excuse and there are ways for receiving assistance from the Texas government if a trial is needed. Please, please, please DO NOT “repeatedly” send the criminal to the Vernon State Hospital to attempt to have said criminal claimed as insane. That is IF said criminal is not. PLEASE handle this case with integrity and NOT allow it to turn into such a down right travesty as my parents’ murder/shooting on 9/4/1994 in Bowie. Jack McGaughey will say it was the decision of the DA before Casey P, but if he should say that, it’s a lie. He allowed said criminal stay in the county jail for approx 8 years, and that was under him. I came to him to question that and actually during said meeting gave him more evidence with a witness present, and he explained to me he was moving up to District Judge very soon, he added his comment over his concerns about cost and informed me that the upcoming DA would do whatever he said. Sadly, she did. It was suppose to be TWO counts of murder, not one, per Tim Cole who was the DA before JM. JM was suppose to proceede with the case accordingly, but due to his choice of cost, he chose not to. Maybe it could have been lack of experience in murders. That is a lowsey excuse too.
    An investigator told me in ’94 and another investigator when the criminals were caught in ’05-’06 that a large % of homicides are family/domestic related. Please DA Casey P,register the Forestburg family’s victims of violence properly as any DA’s office should do. As you know this will keep the family informed of any and all steps of this misfortune. PLEASE do not leave the victim’s family high and dry with no support when it’s available. I am writing this as I am a victim of this type of violence and I know first hand how it can tear a family up. Sheriff Thomas as well should know this on a personal basis. I have been legally counciled to keep speaking up until the day I die. I so wish Tim Cole had of stayed in office when he initially resigned. I do believe my family’s case would have been handled properly. Glory tell we would have had a victory as the teenage Ringgold murder case several decades back.
    Thank you,
    Leisa Cooksey

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