Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 January 2012 21:23 )
After making an over 200-mile one-way trip to Louisiana Thursday, Fannin County law enforcement officials did not find the bodies of three Leonard residents who are missing - but, they did not come up empty handed. The latest press release from Fannin County Sheriff Donnie Foster states that additional evidence was located inside the vehicle and utility trailer of 52-year-old Thomas Taunton, who is suspected of murdering his mother, 79-year-old Sue Harpst, his step-father, 73-year-old Harold Harpst; and his sister, 48-year-old Regina Taunton.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 January 2012 21:24 )
Jan. 19, 2011
A source close to the investigation into the disappearance of three Leonard residents confirmed late Thursday that Thomas Taunton, 50, was taken into custody in Louisiana at an automobile dealership. Taunton, however, has not been arrested or charged with any crime - he is only wanted for questioning in the case. Taunton's Ford truck and a utility trailer being pulled behind it were taken into possession by authorities in Louisiana, but authorities were awaiting a search warrant by Fannin County Sheriff's Office to open it.
The case began Wednesday after police received information that there may be three people missing from the county. Officers went to the location on State Highway 78 north of Leonard, but were unable to make contact with anybody at the residence. After gaining entrance and searching the property, they still were unable to locate anybody at the home, but did see several suspicious things that led them to believe foul play was involved. Due to the fact that no bodies have been found, police have deemed the investigation a missing persons case.
Missing from the home are the elderly homeowners - Harold and Sue Harpst - and their grown daughter who resided with them. Harold Harpst is a double leg amputee and suffers from diabetes. He works from home and when he does leave home, he usually informs his neighbors so they can watch over his property. Sue Harpst was a seamstress who did alterations. Thomas Taunton is Sue Harpst's son.
A Shreveport newspaper reported that Taunton had broken down in Louisiana on Wednesday, and by the time he returned to the dealership where he took his truck on Thursday, authorities had tracked him down and he was taken into custody there. According to their report, he stated he didn't know what was going on and that the trailer contained his personal belongings. Another source reported that he was using his sister's cell phone that police were able to ping and find out his location as he traveled. This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
Last Updated ( Monday, 26 December 2011 17:01 )
Dec. 22, 2011 - Early Sunday, Dec. 18, the Leonard, Bailey and Wolfe City Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to a structure fire on FM 816 in Bailey. After battling the blaze and watching it spread, the firefighters believed the home couldn't be saved. They entered the front of home where the Christmas tree was located and removed all of the presents for the family of seven. The house didn't burn down after all, but it isn't livable, and Christmas was saved for the Killgo family.
The home belonged to Robert Killgo, his wife, Frances, and their five girls ages fourteen to six. Robert's mother, Linda Lines, reported that the fire started in a detached garage behind the house and grew so large that it spread to the residence.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:41 )
Nov. 10, 2011 - Flags at Leonard City Hall flew at half-staff and the regular monthly meeting of the Leonard City Council was canceled this past Tuesday night as the news that Leonard Elementary teacher and Leonard City Councilwoman Tammy Barnes was tragically killed in a head-on collision earlier in the day. Many found it hard to find the right words to say, and the faces in the school halls carried looks of sorrow and tear stains from her fellow staff members, students and student’s parents deeply grieving for their friend.
Barnes will be remembered for many things - her beautiful smile, her huge heart, her passion for teaching kids, her angelic voice that just about everybody in Leonard had heard at one public event or another, her appreciation for all types of music, and her all-around love for people.
Leonard's oldest business, The Leonard Graphic, is now back under hometown ownership, effective Tuesday, Nov. 1. Jason and Betsy Blevins purchased the business from Echo Publishing Company, the parent company of the business since late 2006.
"We have thoroughly enjoyed and felt quite privileged to be a part of the Leonard community for these past several years," Scott Keys, president and chief operating officer of Echo Publishing Company, said Tuesday afternoon. "Leonard has such a bright future ahead of it as a growing community. While we would have loved to be a part of that growth through The Graphic, we felt the best opportunity for the newspaper was to be owned by someone living, working and playing in the community."
Last Updated ( Monday, 25 July 2011 11:47 )
Leonard Police Chief Rex Clark released the following statement Friday morning about the fatality accident that occurred north of Leonard Thursday evening, July 21:
June 23, 2011 - The first order of business at the monthly meeting of the Leonard City Council last Tuesday, June 14, was to swear in newly elected/appointed council members. Mayor Bill Yoss gave the oath of office to returning council members Steven Bolin and Larry Thompson and to new council members Tammy Barnes and Darrell Grintz.
New City Administrator Allecia Booher had a document drawn up showing the City Secretary answers to the City Administrator and not the City Council and the council passed the new ordinance unanimously.
June 23, 2011 - In one week's time, Leonard officers handled four cases on traffic stops where the drivers had been drinking prior to getting behind the wheel. In three of the cases, the drivers were arrested and taken to jail.
The first case came on Sunday, June 5, when an officer observed a gray Chevrolet Malibu cross the center line of traffic, and initiated a traffic stop for that offense. The officer observed a large box of beer in the back seat of the vehicle, smelled alcohol and noted that the driver appeared nervous. After first denying having had anything to drink, the driver, a 22-year-old Leonard resident, later admitted he had after the officer found five empty beer cans in the vehicle. Standard field sobriety tests were administered, and the driver was able to complete them satisfactorily. The officer attempted to take a breath test, but the breathalyzer was not working correctly. The driver and his vehicle were released to another adult.
June 16, 2011 - On Hunt County Road 1054 - in the old Orange Grove city limits - is a 44-acre farm with ten acres planted in garden and 34 in hay. The owners, Charles and Bess Glasscock, have been married since December 1956 and have two children, Steve and Shelly, both grown and on their own now. Early in 1966, a momentous year for the Glasscock family, Charles bought two acres of land where his father had farmed over 300 acres for most of Charles' life. Charles later inherited 42 acres from the estate of J. E. Glasscock, his father.
June 16, 2011 - On June 8, the Leonard ISD School Board of Trustees met at 6 p.m. with a quorum of board members. The meeting began with the swearing in of reelected board members Bill Watson and Buster Sudderth, with district business manager Janna Layman performing the ceremony. James Watson made a motion to keep the same officers for the board and the motion was seconded and passed. Those officers are Bill Watson, president; Jack Bonds, vice-president; and Amy Boggs, secretary.