A TIMELINE IN THE MURDER OF A YOUNG BLACK WOMAN

 INVESTIGATORS RETURN TO MURDER SUSPECT’S APARTMENTPossible weapon found in dumpster

07:14 AM CDT on Wednesday, March 28, 2007
11 News Staff report Shern-Min Chow’s 11 News report| Raw video: Suspect’s aunt speaks out | Jason Whitely’s report on Shepherd’s court appearance | Raw video: Investigator’s search suspect’s apartmenthttp://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou070326_ac_suspectfamily.1bfa5ec.html

Harris County investigators returned to the apartment of Tim Shepherd, the ex-boyfriend of the Texas A&M coed who went missing March 15.

A crime scene unit from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was on scene as investigators pulled items from the murder suspect’s apartment Monday afternoon. A collection of tagged brown bags could be seen on the entrance porch of the apartment.
Investigators also brought out what appeared to be a roll of carpet and several large bags of evidence.

11 News

Harris County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators used an ultraviolet device to scan the porch of murder suspect Tim Shepherd’s apartment.

Sheriff’s investigators were also seen on the porch of Shepherd’s apartment using an ultraviolet device to scan the wooden surface. It was the type of device used to search for blood evidence. Neighbors had told police that the murder suspect was seen burning items in his barbecue pit and at one point they could smell what they believed to be burning hair.
Monday’s search came just as community activists are scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday morning demanding Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies search a landfill for the remains of Tynesha Stewart.

11 News

Timothy Sherpherd appeared in court again Monday morning. Later that day investigators combed through his apartment and used an ultraviolet device to scan his outside patio.

The activists say they don’t believe Shepherd’s story about the death of the young Aggie coed and think there could be more evidence to be found. Stewart’s family members though said Monday night that a search would be “too traumatic” and that they do not support the push for a new search.
The Harris County District Attorney was also not confirming or denying a report that a search of a trash dumpster last week uncovered a knife in a bag as well as a pair of sweatpants.
Meanwhile, Shepherd made his second court appearance Monday, but for the first time, more on his background was revealed.
Timothy Wayne Shepherd’s aunt said she thinks her nephew “just exploded” because he had not dealt with the death of his father and then murdered his ex-girlfriend.
Shepherd faces a murder charge for killing 19-year-old Stewart, then dismembering her body and burning her remains on his patio grill.
When Shepherd returned to court Monday morning for a brief appearance he had family in the audience. His grandmother, Shirley Shepherd sat in the fourth row of the 183rd District Court with her pastor, Tommie C. Phillips. She wept when he first walked in to court wearing a yellow jumpsuit. That color signifies he is on suicide watch.

11 News

Timothy Wayne Shepherd is charged with killing 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University student who was home for spring break.

Outside court, Janice Shepherd explained that Timothy was always good growing up but had difficulty getting along with his mother in his teenage years after discovering his stepfather was not his biological father. Janice Shepherd said Timothy’s father, Robert Miller Shepherd, died in a motorcycle accident in 1979 when his son was an infant.
“It’s a disgrace what has happened. It really is. He should have gotten a mental evaluation. He should have gotten some help. But his family turned its back on him. It’s a disgrace,” Shepherd’s aunt, Janice Shepherd, said.
Phillips told reporters the Shepherd family can’t explain why Timothy would do what he is charged with. The pastor also offered prayers for Stewart’s family and friends.
Stewart disappeared March 15. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Shepherd confessed to strangling her with his hands. Investigators say he then dismembered her body in his apartment and burned her remains in two grills on his second floor balcony.
“He was a very sweet kid. He really was. He just exploded. All that was down inside of him,” Shepherd said.
Saturday, Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said nothing remains of the 19-year-old’s body.
“It’s horrific. Absolutely horrific. The thought of it and how it’s going to affect the family is overwhelming almost,” Prosecutor Marie Primm said.
In court, his attorney did not ask for the $250,000 bond to be lowered.
“The family believes the best place for Mr. Shepherd is in the safety of the Harris County Jail,” Defense Attorney Chip Lewis, said.
Shepherd was reportedly active in his church’s youth group, but strayed from the congregation after high school.
He delivered pizzas for a while but was unemployed when investigators say he committed one of the most gruesome crimes Harris County has ever seen.
Shepherd could get up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine if he is found guilty of murder. Primm said the case will next go to the Grand Jury for an indictment during the next 90 days.
As for past run-ins with the law, Shepherd’s record indicates only one prior offense: an arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession back in 2002.
**********************************************************************************************

EXAMINING THE EVENTS IN THE TYNESHA STEWART MURDER
11:47 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

By Juanita Jimenez / 11 News

Timothy Wayne Shepherd remains in the Harris County Jail on $250,000 bond.He’s charged with murder in the killing of 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University student who was killed while home for spring break.

TIMELINE

March 15 – Tynesha Stewart last seen after she and Timothy Wayne Shepherd left her mother’s apartment in Humble. It’s believed the 19-year-old was dismembered and her body parts were burned in two barbecue grills on Shepherd’s northwest Harris County apartment patio. Shepherd’s neighbors said he was barbecuing at all hours for two days at a time, at his apartment.

March 16 – Shepherd’s neighbors become alarmed after seeing dark-colored smoke billowing from Shepherd’s patio. A firefighter and Harris County deputy arrives at the apartment; Shepherd says everything is under control.

March 17, 18 – Neighbor sees Shepherd carry the grill and the smoker to the garbage bin.

March 19 – Tynesha Stewart is reported missing. March 20 – The Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide division launched its investigation into Stewart’s disappearance.March 21 – Investigators interview Shepherd for 10 hours. After being released, he contacted community activist Quanell X. Quanell X persuaded Shepherd to tell him what happened to Stewart. He then led authorities to the garbage bin where he claimed to have placed Stewart’s body. That night Shepherd was charged with strangling Tynesha Stewart’s murder.March 22 – The sheriff’s office says it won’t conduct a search in a landfill for Stewart’s body.March 23 – HCSO reversed its decision not to search after public outcry. The department then says Shepherd may have been dismembered.

March 24 – Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas announces there would be no search because all the remains had been burned.

March 26 – Timothy Shepherd appeared in court again. The Harris County Sheriff’s Department detectives return to Timothy Wayne Shepherd’s apartment to further investigate the disappearance and reported murder of Tynesha Stewart. Shepherd’s attorney says his client should stay in jail for his own safety because of public outrage.

March 27 – Community activists call for authorities to search for Stewart’s body and say the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is inept to handle the investigation.

From the time this story broke almost three weeks ago, it has been a combination of turmoil for the deceased young lady’s family, cold, callous disregard from the sheriff’s department, anger and rage from the citizens of Houston, a call from a well-known rescue group to search for the young lady’s remains, to a defendant who constantly has changed his story again and again, from the time the public became aware of this missing young lady.

Tynesha Stewart was a pretty, young student attending the Texas A* M University. She had a promising life ahead of her. But, that life was cut short by her murder at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Timothy Shepherd.

The following is a composite of how her life ended, how her family reported her missing to the office of Sheriff Tommy Thomas, whose office told the family that the young lady probably went off away on her own, and that they, the family should come back the following Monday to report her as missing; how 3 days later, due to callousness because of inept follow-through, the sheriff’s department allowed precious time, and evidence , to be lost in not starting their investigation procedure sooner, rather than later; how the ex-boyfriend’s confession started out as his having put the young lady’s remains into a garbage dumpster near his apartment complex; how his story changed again, and again:   1. he killed her, and dumped her body in a garbage dumpster;  2. he killed her and dismembered her, putting her remains into plastic trash bags, and then put the remains into a garbage dumpster;  3. now this latest revelation, that he killed her, dismembered her, and burned her remains on a barbeque grill, on his apartment patio.

His apartment patio?

In broad daylight?

An entire human body burned and charred to ashes on a barbeque grill?

But, the question remains:

“Where are the remains of Ms. Stewart?

Surely no one can be expected to believe that Ms. Stewart’s remains were completely charred into ashes just from the flames of a barbeque grill. There does not exist any known mass-manufactered grills sold in America that can reach the temperature needed to reduce a human being’s remains to ashes, without the temperature reaching at least 2,000 to 2,500 degrees Farenheit.

And add to the fact that Sheriff Thomas refused to initiate a search for Ms. Stewart’s body at the two nearest dump sites (Atascocita and Brazoria), because he said that the cost to search would be expensive (around $500,000), and that Ms. Stewart’s remains would be buried ubder 35,000 to 45,000 tons of garbage, made the effort to search for her vain and futile, so he therefore saw no reason to search for this young lady’s body. His callous disregard alerted a huge public outcry at his and the sheriff department’s coldness in not  at least trying to conduct a search for this young lady.  This sheriff was more concerned with how much it would cost to search for this young lady, and the time in man-power that would be put into looking for this young lady’s remains under tons and tons of garbage. Meanwhile, her remains were being buried under more and more trash as the sheriff mulled over whether it was worth it to conduct a search for her.

In the mean time, anger at his department swelled.

Many citizens e-mailed news stations and the major newpaper and poured out their outrage at this man’s contempt for this young lady. Many were angered and questioned if this was the mayor’s son or daughter, would he or she be treated so wrongly, and no major search given for that person? Many called the sheriff and let him know how wrong his decision was not to even try and search for this young lady, not to mention the time the sheriff allowed to pass (3 days before the sheriff’s office would start a search for the young lady); the time the ex-boyfriend had to dispose of crucial evidence; and the total disregard towards the family when they brought their daughter’s disappearance to the attention of the sheriff’s office.

The two major dumpsites stopped all work procedures at their sites to allow for the search and to keep any further garbage dumps from accumulating more garbage on the possible areas where Ms. Stewart’s remains might have been found.

Texas A * M University offered to donate $500,000 to offset the cost to the county, to aid in the search for Ms. Stewart’s remains.

Equusearch, a volunteer search organization, offered their help to search for the young lady, even if the sheriff’s department did not deem it necessary or worthy of doing. Many citizens offered their help to search, even if it meant exposing themselves to germs and physical injury. They cared more for this young lady’s remains being found and returned to her family so that she could receive a decent burial and for her remains to be put to rest.

Their response to the sheriff’s department was that if there was even a slenderest of chances of find this young lady’s remains, at least TRY. Try to search for her, instead of writing her off as not worthy of being given validity as a human being.

Finally bowing to public presure, Sheriff Thomas capitulated, and decided to conduct the search.

But, then other events transpired to change this.

The ex-boyfriend then confessed that he had burned Ms. Stewart’s remain on of all things, a barbeque grill at his apartment, and then put her remains into the common dumspter. By then, the santitation trucks had taken Ms. Stewart’s remains to be distributed to various nearby dumpground sites.

Once again, Sheriff Thomas called off the search again. While watching the TV news reports, the look of relief that washed over his faced was unmistakeable. Now he did not have to search for her. Now he did not have to do the job he was elected for.

And by now, the ex-boyfriend and been arraigned.

Valuable time and evidence was lost because of this horrid handling of this young lady’s death.

And now we have a beautiful young lady whose promising life was cut short by a vicious, cold-bloodied murder. A young lady who will never get a chance to live, never get a chance to fulfill her potential.

And added to this sorrowful story is the utmost contempt shown by one human being (Sheriff Thomas) towards another (Ms.  Stewart).

But, there is one very important question not being asked in all of this:

If this was a young white woman who went missing, and her parents went to the sheriff to report her missing, would he have taken so long to start the search as he did for this young black lady?

Would he have shown so much obstinance in not immediately using all the resources at his command to search until he exhausted all leads to search for this young lady if she was white?

What do you think?

The following are news reports on from the time Ms. Stewart was reported missing until her ex-boyfriend was charged.

The stories have all been updated.

Missing Aggie’s friends: Ex-boyfriend was a stalker

06:58 PM CDT on Saturday, March 24, 2007

By Jeff McShan and Wendell Edwards / 11 News Raw video: Quanell X on body dismembered | Seized drug money used for search, Rucks Russell reports | Wendell Edward’s report from the vigil | Jeff McSchan’s update on search planFriends and family of missing Aggie Tynesha Stewart describe the man charged with her murder as jealous and controlling.They say Timothy Shepherd, who police said confessed to strangling and dismembering the young coed last week and throwing her remains in dumpsters, was stalking Stewart prior to her death.Authorities say the search for Stewart’s body could begin next Wednesday at a landfill in Houston and another in Brazoria County.The decision comes after intense pressure prompted county commissioners to approve emergency funding for the search.

KHOU – TV

 

The volunteer search organization Texas Equusearch announced Friday it was set to launch an extensive search for Stewart.

It was an amazing turn of events, because just a day earlier the Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced that a search would be too costly and practically impossible. However, an overwhelming response from the community, which at one point tied up the sheriff’s office phone lines, made a big difference.

Even Texas A&M’s vice president for student affairs called the sheriff’s office to say his office had been flooded with calls from former students offering to help – financially or otherwise – conduct a search.

KHOU-TV

Tynesha Stewart

The community’s message was clear: At least try to find Stewart.

Even national political leaders put on the pressure.

“I have to accept the community’s outrage. I accept it (and) I am ashamed by our initial steps taken by our law enforcement,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee.

In what could only be considered a change of heart Sheriff Tommy Thomas asked the Harris County Commissioner’s Court for $500,000 in drug seizure money to fund a search. Commissioners in an emergency called meeting gave unanimous approval to the expenditure.

More resources

Official: Ex strangled missing Aggie

Probable cause affidavit

To volunteer for the search call Texas Equusearch at (281) 309-9500. Both lines manned around the clock.

On Monday the sheriff’s office, Texas Equusearch and the landfills’ operator Waste Management will meet to go over a plan. Already an area of a landfill in Atascocita had been marked off in preparation for a search. The same was being done at a landfill in Brazoria County. Miller already put out a call for volunteers.

“Of course we would all like to start tomorrow, but that is impossible. Right now, we are for sure going to start Wednesday,” he said.

Those who will be directly at the site going through the tons of debris will have to take extra precautions.

“They’ll have to get proper vaccinations, proper certification as well as protective gear,” said Michael Lavengco of Waste Management.

Jackson-Lee said the planned search also sends another message. “Criminals can’t now dump in dumpsters and say that’s the way to get rid of my evidence because no one will ever search again,” she said.

Earlier in the day, the suspect in Stewart’s disappearance and likely murder, Tim Shepherd, appeared before a judge. Investigators said the woman’s ex-boyfriend had admitted to killing Stewart and dumping her body in trash bins.

Officials said too he is under a suicide watch after having tried to kill himself. Defense attorney Chip Lewis argued that Shepherd’s bond was too high.

Shepherd will appear in court again Monday.

Meanwhile dozens of Texas A&M students attended a vigil at the university campus in Bryan-College Station where Stewart was remembered as someone who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070323_ac_shepherdcourt.b22fe12.html)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheriff: Suspect dismembered, grilled Aggie’s remains

11:06 AM CDT on Sunday, March 25, 2007

Associated Press Click to watch videoHOUSTON — Law-enforcement officials said Saturday that there are no remains to be found in the killing of a 19-year-old Texas A&M University student last week because the suspect in the case burned the woman’s body in a grill at his home.“We have determined through this investigation that the defendant dismembered Tynesha Stewart and . . . he burned the body parts,” Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas announced. “As a result of this, there are no remaining body parts . . . There will be no search. There is no need for a search.”

11 News

Authorities believe Tynesha Stewart was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

The announcement closed a heated debate in the Houston area over whether law-enforcement officials should launch a massive and expensive search of the area’s overflowing landfills in hopes of finding any of Stewart’s remains.

That debate was triggered Thursday when the Sheriff’s Department announced there would be no search because there was little chance of success. At the time, the public had been told that Stewart had been dismembered, and that her body parts were scattered in commercial trash bins throughout the area, meaning they could be in several area landfills.

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

But Thomas said he knew then, but could not disclose, that there were no body parts to find. He said investigators were unable to release that information to the public or to Stewart’s family at the time because of the ongoing investigation. Stewart’s family has since been advised, and understands why there will be no further search, Thomas said.

Investigators say Timothy Wayne Shepherd, 27, confessed Wednesday to strangling Stewart, his former girlfriend, because he was angry she had begun a new relationship. Stewart was home in Houston on spring break at the time of the killing. Shepherd, who is charged with murder, is being held on $250,000 bond. His attorney, Chip Lewis, has not returned calls for comment.

HCSO

Tim Shepherd remains on suicide watch in jail.

Thomas said Stewart’s family had requested privacy and would not respond to media inquiries.

Officials first thought that Shepherd had disposed of the body in a large commercial trash bin that had since been emptied, but they now say Shepherd dismembered the body at his home and burned it in a grill on his patio.

Although human remains generally require extremely high temperatures to destroy, Thomas said nothing remains of Stewart. He would not discuss how the body could be entirely destroyed.

Also online

Official: Ex strangled missing Aggie

Probable cause affidavit

Thomas said he had received numerous angry e-mails and messages as a result of his decision Thursday not to search the landfills— “probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my career,” he said.

Six of the Sheriff’s Department’s 19 full-time detectives were assigned to the case, which attracted widespread interest throughout the area because of the gory details and the sympathy generated for Stewart’s family when it was believed her body may have been dumped in a landfill.

“This certainly turned out to be one of the most heinous crimes I’ve ever seen in my 38 years (in law enforcement),” Thomas said.

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070324_mh_stewartburned.13ac0702.html)

 

 

 

 

Neighbors horrified by coed’s death

05:52 PM CDT on Sunday, March 25, 2007

Associated Press Click to watch videoHOUSTON — The acrid aroma billowing from the two barbecue grills on the balcony of Apartment 224 didn’t smell like barbecue.  And the black smoke rising from the leaping flames didn’t look like a normal cookout.What, neighbors at the Red Oak Place apartments wondered, was going on in the second floor apartment where 27-year-old Timothy Wayne Shepherd lived? What was he burning at all hours, for at least two days?

11 News

The search for Tynesha Stewart’s remains was abandoned after authorities said there was nothing to be found.

The answer turned their stomachs.

According to law enforcement officials, Shepherd had been

burning the body of his former girlfriend, Tynesha Stewart, a 19-year-old Texas A&M University student. Nothing remains of Stewart’s body, Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said at a press conference Saturday.

“I just don’t know what to think about it,” said Louis Evans, whose balcony faces Shepherd’s in the quiet tree-lined enclave in northern Houston. “I thought he was a nice normal person. I guess you never know what your neighbors are doing.”

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

Shepherd has confessed to strangling and dismembering Stewart, who was home on spring break, because he was angry that she had started a new relationship.

Officials first thought Shepherd had disposed of the body in a large commercial trash bin that had since been emptied, launching a heated debate over whether the Sheriff’s Department should conduct a massive and expensive search of area landfills for Stewart’s remains.

HCSO

Tim Shepherd remains on suicide watch in jail.

Shepherd, who is charged with murder, is being held on $250,000 bond in the Harris County Jail. Telephone message left with his attorney, Chip Lewis, were not immediately returned. On Sunday, the door to Shepherd’s apartment was covered with plywood boards.

Thomas, the sheriff, said Stewart’s family had requested privacy and would not respond to media inquiries.

Stewart was last seen March 15 and was reported missing March 19. The next day the Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide division launched its investigation.

Also online

Experts detail red flags for relationship violence

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Official: Ex strangled missing Aggie

Probable cause affidavit

That same day, March 16, neighbors first noticed the unusual activity—and the unpleasant odor—on Shepherd’s balcony.

“The smell was awful,” said Evans, who also became alarmed after seeing a blaze shoot out from the grills. “I was wondering:

What is he burning? Not cooking, but burning. There is a difference.”

At times, Evans said, the flames from the grills leapt dangerously close to the roof of the balcony. Evans says he called 911, but when firefighters arrived, the flames had calmed and Shepherd assured them everything was under control.

A leasing agent at the apartment complex also noticed the thick dark smoke and the intense flames and asked Shepherd what he was doing, Evans said. Shepherd told one neighbor that he was barbecuing food for a wedding.

But Evans says his suspicions were immediately aroused after he learned that Shepherd’s ex-girlfriend had disappeared.

“When I found out someone was missing, I put two and two together myself,” said Evans, who said neighbors have been stunned by the grisly nature of the crime. “This has thrown everything off for those of us living here.”

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070325_tnt_aggielatest.174e9f1a.html)

 

 

 

 

Neighbor’s horrified by coed’s death

11:02 AM CDT on Monday, March 26, 2007

Associated Press Karla Barguiarena’s 11 News reportThe acrid aroma billowing from the two barbecue grills on the balcony of Apartment 224 didn’t smell like barbecue.  And the black smoke rising from the leaping flames didn’t look like a normal cookout.What, neighbors at the Red Oak Place apartments wondered, was going on in the second floor apartment where 27-year-old Timothy Wayne Shepherd lived? What was he burning at all hours, for at least two days?

KHOU-TV

Tynesha Stewart

The answer turned their stomachs.

According to law enforcement officials, Shepherd had been burning the body of his former girlfriend, Tynesha Stewart, a 19-year-old Texas A&M University student. Nothing remains of Stewart’s body, Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said at a press conference Saturday.

Shepherd was in court Monday morning. He is charged with murder, for which he could get life in prison, and his bond remains at $250,000. No future court date has been set.

“I just don’t know what to think about it,” said Louis Evans, whose balcony faces Shepherd’s in the quiet tree-lined enclave in northern Houston. “I thought he was a nice normal person. I guess you never know what your neighbors are doing.”

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

Shepherd has confessed to strangling and dismembering Stewart, who was home on spring break, because he was angry that she had started a new relationship.

Officials first thought Shepherd had disposed of the body in a large commercial trash bin that had since been emptied, launching a heated debate over whether the Sheriff’s Department should conduct a massive and expensive search of area landfills for Stewart’s remains.

HCSO

Tim Shepherd remains on suicide watch in jail.

Shepherd, who is charged with murder, is being held on $250,000 bond in the Harris County Jail. Telephone message left with his attorney, Chip Lewis, were not immediately returned. On Sunday, the door to Shepherd’s apartment was covered with plywood boards.

Thomas, the sheriff, said Stewart’s family had requested privacy and would not respond to media inquiries.

Stewart was last seen March 15 and was reported missing March 19. The next day the Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide division launched its investigation.

Also online

Experts detail red flags for relationship violence

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Official: Ex strangled missing Aggie

Probable cause affidavit

That same day, March 16, neighbors first noticed the unusual activity — and the unpleasant odor — on Shepherd’s balcony.

“The smell was awful,” said Evans, who also became alarmed after seeing a blaze shoot out from the grills. “I was wondering:

What is he burning? Not cooking, but burning. There is a difference.”

At times, Evans said, the flames from the grills leapt dangerously close to the roof of the balcony. Evans says he called 911, but when firefighters arrived, the flames had calmed and Shepherd assured them everything was under control.

A leasing agent at the apartment complex also noticed the thick dark smoke and the intense flames and asked Shepherd what he was doing, Evans said. Shepherd told one neighbor that he was barbecuing food for a wedding.

But Evans says his suspicions were immediately aroused after he learned that Shepherd’s ex-girlfriend had disappeared.

“When I found out someone was missing, I put two and two together myself,” said Evans, who said neighbors have been stunned by the grisly nature of the crime. “This has thrown everything off for those of us living here.”

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070326__ac_aggielatest.e73615.html)

 

Investigators return to murder suspect’s apartment

Possible weapon found in dumpster

12:26 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

11 News Staff report Shern-Min Chow’s 11 News report| Raw video: Suspect’s aunt speaks out | Jason Whitely’s report on Shepherd’s court appearance | Raw video: Investigator’s search suspect’s apartmentHarris County investigators returned to the apartment of Tim Shepherd, the ex-boyfriend of the Texas A&M coed who went missing March 15.A crime scene unit from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was on scene as investigators pulled items from the murder suspect’s apartment Monday afternoon. A collection of tagged brown bags could be seen on the entrance porch of the apartment.Investigators also brought out what appeared to be a roll of carpet and several large bags of evidence.

11 News

Harris County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators used an ultraviolet device to scan the porch of murder suspect Tim Shepherd’s apartment.

Sheriff’s investigators were also seen on the porch of Shepherd’s apartment using an ultraviolet device to scan the wooden surface. It was the type of device used to search for blood evidence. Neighbors had told police that the murder suspect was seen burning items in his barbecue pit and at one point they could smell what they believed to be burning hair.

Monday’s search came just as community activists are scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday morning demanding Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies search a landfill for the remains of Tynesha Stewart.

11 News

Timothy Sherpherd appeared in court again Monday morning. Later that day investigators combed through his apartment and used an ultraviolet device to scan his outside patio.

The activists say they don’t believe Shepherd’s story about the death of the young Aggie coed and think there could be more evidence to be found. Stewart’s family members though said Monday night that a search would be “too traumatic” and that they do not support the push for a new search.

The Harris County District Attorney was also not confirming or denying a report that a search of a trash dumpster last week uncovered a knife in a bag as well as a pair of sweatpants.

Meanwhile, Shepherd made his second court appearance Monday, but for the first time, more on his background was revealed.

Timothy Wayne Shepherd’s aunt said she thinks her nephew “just exploded” because he had not dealt with the death of his father and then murdered his ex-girlfriend.

Also online

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Neighbors horrified at coed’s death

Probable cause affidavit

Shepherd faces a murder charge for killing 19-year-old Stewart, then dismembering her body and burning her remains on his patio grill.

When Shepherd returned to court Monday morning for a brief appearance he had family in the audience. His grandmother, Shirley Shepherd sat in the fourth row of the 183rd District Court with her pastor, Tommie C. Phillips. She wept when he first walked in to court wearing a yellow jumpsuit. That color signifies he is on suicide watch.

11 News

Timothy Wayne Shepherd is charged with killing 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University student who was home for spring break.

Outside court, Janice Shepherd explained that Timothy was always good growing up but had difficulty getting along with his mother in his teenage years after discovering his stepfather was not his biological father. Janice Shepherd said Timothy’s father, Robert Miller Shepherd, died in a motorcycle accident in 1979 when his son was an infant.

“It’s a disgrace what has happened. It really is. He should have gotten a mental evaluation. He should have gotten some help. But his family turned its back on him. It’s a disgrace,” Shepherd’s aunt, Janice Shepherd, said.

Phillips told reporters the Shepherd family can’t explain why Timothy would do what he is charged with. The pastor also offered prayers for Stewart’s family and friends.

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

Stewart disappeared March 15. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Shepherd confessed to strangling her with his hands. Investigators say he then dismembered her body in his apartment and burned her remains in two grills on his second floor balcony.

“He was a very sweet kid. He really was. He just exploded. All that was down inside of him,” Shepherd said.

Saturday, Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said nothing remains of the 19-year-old’s body.

“It’s horrific. Absolutely horrific. The thought of it and how it’s going to affect the family is overwhelming almost,” Prosecutor Marie Primm said.

In court, his attorney did not ask for the $250,000 bond to be lowered.

“The family believes the best place for Mr. Shepherd is in the safety of the Harris County Jail,” Defense Attorney Chip Lewis, said.

Shepherd was reportedly active in his church’s youth group, but strayed from the congregation after high school.

He delivered pizzas for a while but was unemployed when investigators say he committed one of the most gruesome crimes Harris County has ever seen.

Shepherd could get up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine if he is found guilty of murder. Primm said the case will next go to the Grand Jury for an indictment during the next 90 days.

As for past run-ins with the law, Shepherd’s record indicates only one prior offense: an arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession back in 2002.

(http://www.khou.com/news/olcal/stories/khou070326_ac_suspectfamily.1bfa5ec.html)

Understanding the mind
of a possible killer

11:32 PM CDT on Monday, March 26, 2007

By Nancy Holland / 11 News Watch Nancy Holland’s reportThe possible murder and dismemberment of Texas A&M coed Tynesha Stewart likely has many asking, “how could anyone do that?”A psychiatry expert suggests even in cases with odd twists murder is not so hard to understand.“This rage that was building inside him just went berserk and he just wanted to lash out on her,” said Dr. Patricia Averill of the University of Texas’ Harris County Psychiatry Center.That rage does not sound too dissimilar to what Timothy Shepherd’s aunt said the day the murder suspect appeared in court. She said her nephew, “just exploded.”

Also online

The latest on the Tynesha Stewart case

How did a young man who people called a “nice guy” not just murder his ex-girlfriend, but then coolly dismembered and burned her remains on his patio as police suspect and other sources said he confessed to doing.

Shepherd’s aunt traces it back to when he was a teen and discovered his real father died in a motorcycle wreck. To really understand said Averill you need to go even further back.

11 News

Timothy Wayne Shepherd is charged with killing 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University student who was home for spring break.

To one’s childhood.

It is in those earliest years she said she would look for the real clues.

“I would look for somebody who possibly was, as a child, cruel in some ways to those who were less capable than themselves. Maybe animals. Just some mean streaks, not being empathic or concerned for hurting others,” said Averill. “I would look for that kind of anti-social behavior because typically for somebody to do this there had to be very little empathy for her and very much on focus on himself. That usually starts early in life.”

Then again, maybe there were no clues at all.

After all most of us break up with a string of people in our lives and the result is nothing really happens.

“It’s very scary, because you can’t predict,” said Averill.

Perhaps he was just a nice guy who was also a time bomb.

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070326_tj_sherperdsider.45dd4ae.html)

 

Group slams handling of Stewart case

05:23 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From 11 News staff reports Community leaders slam handling of case | Raw video: Suspect’s aunt speaks out | Raw video: Investigators search suspect’s apartmentA group of community leaders Tuesday slammed the Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the Tynesha Stewart case.The press conference was called by members of the Nation of Islam, NAACP and Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee’s office.The group said they wanted to clear up what they called a series of half-truths, reports of what they say may or may not have happened to Stewart. They said unless there is a search, no one will really know what happened.Stewart’s ex-boyfriend, Timothy Shepherd, is said to have told authorities last week that he killed Stewart and put her body in a Dumpster.

11 News

Harris County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigators used an ultraviolet device to scan the porch of murder suspect Tim Shepherd’s apartment.

Authorities said he allegedly dismembered her body and burned it, quashing a search.

But the call came Tuesday that a search must continue.

“We want the truth,” the Rev. Robert Mohammad said. “No matter where that truth leads us, we want the truth. We respect the wishes of the family, but we too are a family and we too have been traumatized by the rollercoaster that we, the community and the greater public have been put upon — not only by the heinousness of the crime that has been described to us in all of the public pronouncement, but also in the unqualified incompetence of the mishandling of this case by the sheriff’s department.”

The department has not yet commented.

Stewart’s family members said Monday night that a search would be “too traumatic” and that they do not support the push for a new search.

Stewart Family and KHOU – TV

 

Another search for evidence

Harris County investigators returned to the Shepherd’s apartment Monday.

A crime scene unit from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was on scene as investigators pulled items from the murder suspect’s apartment Monday afternoon. A collection of tagged brown bags could be seen on the entrance porch of the apartment.

Investigators also brought out what appeared to be a roll of carpet and several large bags of evidence.

Sheriff’s investigators were also seen on the porch of Shepherd’s apartment using an ultraviolet device to scan the wooden surface. It was the type of device used to search for blood evidence. Neighbors had told police that the murder suspect was seen burning items in his barbecue pit and at one point they could smell what they believed to be burning hair.

11 News

Timothy Sherpherd appeared in court again Monday morning. Later that day investigators combed through his apartment and used an ultraviolet device to scan his outside patio.

The Harris County District Attorney was also not confirming or denying a report that a search of a trash dumpster last week uncovered a knife in a bag as well as a pair of sweatpants.

Shepherd faces a murder charge for allegedly killing 19-year-old Stewart, then dismembering her body and burning her remains on his patio grill.

When Shepherd returned to court Monday morning for a brief appearance he had family in the audience. His grandmother, Shirley Shepherd sat in the fourth row of the 183rd District Court with her pastor, Tommie C. Phillips. She wept when he first walked in to court wearing a yellow jumpsuit. That color signifies he is on suicide watch.

Also online

Timeline of events

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Neighbors horrified at coed’s death

Probable cause affidavit

Outside court, Janice Shepherd explained that Timothy was always good growing up but had difficulty getting along with his mother in his teenage years after discovering his stepfather was not his biological father. Janice Shepherd said Timothy’s father, Robert Miller Shepherd, died in a motorcycle accident in 1979 when his son was an infant.

“It’s a disgrace what has happened. It really is. He should have gotten a mental evaluation. He should have gotten some help. But his family turned its back on him. It’s a disgrace,” Shepherd’s aunt, Janice Shepherd, said.

Phillips told reporters the Shepherd family can’t explain why Timothy would do what he is charged with. The pastor also offered prayers for Stewart’s family and friends.

11 News

Timothy Wayne Shepherd is charged with killing 19-year-old Tynesha Stewart, a Texas A&M University student who was home for spring break.

Stewart disappeared March 15. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Shepherd confessed to strangling her with his hands. Investigators say he then dismembered her body in his apartment and burned her remains in two grills on his second floor balcony.

“He was a very sweet kid. He really was. He just exploded. All that was down inside of him,” Shepherd said.

Saturday, Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said nothing remains of the 19-year-old’s body.

“It’s horrific. Absolutely horrific. The thought of it and how it’s going to affect the family is overwhelming almost,” prosecutor Marie Primm said.

In court, his attorney did not ask for the $250,000 bond to be lowered.

“The family believes the best place for Mr. Shepherd is in the safety of the Harris County Jail,” Defense Attorney Chip Lewis, said.

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

Shepherd was reportedly active in his church’s youth group, but strayed from the congregation after high school.

He delivered pizzas for a while but was unemployed when investigators say he committed one of the most gruesome crimes Harris County has ever seen.

Shepherd could get up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine if he is found guilty of murder. Primm said the case will next go to the Grand Jury for an indictment during the next 90 days.

As for past run-ins with the law, Shepherd’s record indicates only one prior offense: an arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession back in 2002.

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070327_ac_stewartfamily.6a8d069.html)

 

Activists want landfills searched for Stewart’s remains

05:29 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

By Jason Whitely / 11 News Jason Whitely’s update| Community leaders slam handling of case | Raw video: Suspect’s aunt speaks out | Raw video: Investigators search suspect’s apartmentThe murder of Texas A&M student, Tynesha Stewart, has taken a new twist almost daily.

KHOU-TV

Tynesha Stewart

Now community leaders are slamming the Harris County Sheriff’s Office over the handling of the case.

The NAACP and the Urban League say they think deputies bungled the Stewart investigation from the beginning by waiting three days before accepting a missing person’s report from the 19-year-old’s family.

“They insulted them by simply saying not enough time had passed and she was a grown woman and she’d probably show up. That was on Friday. They went back on a Saturday. No one was available to take a missing persons report they were told to come back Monday,” said Nation of Islam’s Minister Robert Muhammad.

The Sheriff’s Office says there’s no record of that.

Also online

Timeline of events

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Neighbors horrified at coed’s death

Probable cause affidavit

Two days later deputies arrested Stewart’s boyfriend, Timothy Wayne Shepherd for her murder.

Investigators say Shepherd strangled his ex-girlfriend, dismembered her and then burned her remains on two patio grills.

Shepherd, who said he was angry that Stewart had started a new relationship, is being held on $250,000 bond.

The sheriff’s office went back and forth before deciding not to search a landfill where Stewart’s body parts are believed to be.

But now those upset say deputies should at least make the effort especially since county commissioners approved $500,000 for the effort.

It’s doubtful that will happen though.

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

Tuesday the Sheriff’s Office said it released the area that was staked out for a search back to Waste Management.

Equusearch, said Tim Miller, backed out, too. “The family contacted us and basically said ‘You know what, we’re trying to put our lives back together. It’s going to be way too painful if the search goes on so would ya’ll just please step back away from it and not do the search.”

At least two prosecutors in the case have said they don’t need Tynesha’s remains to go to trial.

Whether they can win despite these issues is what worries many.

The D.A.’s office is not revealing what other evidence it has in this case.

Neither are detectives.

They picked up new forensic evidence from Shepherd’s apartment Monday night.

The 27-year-old murder suspect returns to court April 26.

For more background on the Tynesha Stewart case and to hear from the suspect’s family click Details.

(http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070327_jj_a%2mstudentmurder.7f4659a.html)

 

Landfill seaches not uncommon

10:34 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

By Jeremy Desel / 11 News Jason Whitely’s update| Community leaders slam handling of case | Raw video: Suspect’s aunt speaks out | Raw video: Investigators search suspect’s apartmentFrom the beginning, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it would not search for the body of Tynesha Stewart.

KHOU-TV

Tynesha Stewart

It was no doubt going to be a gruesome and daunting task. A body or possibly body parts buried beneath thousands of tons of trash.

“Just the tons of trash that has been dumped in the past week, there’s a very slim possibility being able to locate anything significant,” said sheriff’s office spokesman John Martin.

Despite the slim possibilities, there are examples of where such searches have been successful.

Also online

Timeline of events

Sheriff: Suspect grilled coed’s remains

Neighbors horrified at coed’s death

Probable cause affidavit

In Denver last year, authorities spent 52 days searching for a murder victim who had been missing for six months. The search covered not one, but two landfills including one of the largest in a 10 state region.

After nearly two months of searching, a body was found.

Tynesha Stewart

Send your condolences to Tynesha Stewart’s family Sign our Guestbook | View our Guestbook

In San Diego, Calif., authorities searched a landfill for the body of a two-year-old boy, declaring, “No one should be buried in a landfill. Ever.”

In September, Lubbock police searched a landfill for two months finally finding the body of 16-year-old Joanna Rogers who had been missing for two years.

The search for Lori Hacking in Salt Lake City, Utah made national news after her husband admitting to dumping her body in a trash bin. After several weeks, her body too was found.

In Aruba, Houston’s own Texas Equusearch looked for weeks for missing Alabama teen Natalee Holoway. That search included a landfill. Equusearch founder Tim Miller said he was ready to begin searching here too.

Equusearch has done it before, including the search for Kendrick Jackson in a Baytown landfill.

The list of where police have taken on the daunting task of searching a landfill is long.

Oceanside, Calif.; Harrisonburg, Va.; Vintondale, Penn.; Menominee, Mich.; Trenton, N.J.; Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Jacksonville, Fla. There is even a search taking place in Virginia that is now in its fourth day.

In all but three recent cases, victims were recovered despite the odds.

It is doubtful those cases will influence the decision to search or not to search for Stewart.

At least two prosecutors in the case have said they do not need the Texas A&M coed’s remains to go to trial.

Whether they can win despite these issues is what worries those demanding a search.

The NAACP and the Urban League said they think deputies bungled the Stewart investigation from the beginning by waiting three days before accepting a missing person’s report from the 19-year-old’s family.

“They insulted them by simply saying not enough time had passed and she was a grown woman and she’d probably show up. That was on Friday. They went back on a Saturday. No one was available to take a missing persons report they were told to come back Monday,” said Nation of Islam’s Minister Robert Muhammad.

The Sheriff’s Office says there is no record of that.

The groups were demanding a search be conducted.

But, Stewart’s family was in agreement with investigators that a search was not warranted.

With that, Equusearch backed out too.

“The family contacted us and basically said ‘You know what, we’re trying to put our lives back together. It’s going to be way too painful if the search goes on so would ya’ll just please step back away from it and not do the search,’” said founder Tim Miller.

The D.A.’s office is not revealing what other evidence it has in this case.

Neither are detectives.

They picked up new forensic evidence from Shepherd’s apartment Monday night.

The 27-year-old murder suspect returns to court April 26.

For more background on the Tynesha Stewart case and to hear from the suspect’s family click Details.

(http://www.khou.news/local/stories/khou070327_jj_a&mstudentmurder.7f4659a.html)

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “A TIMELINE IN THE MURDER OF A YOUNG BLACK WOMAN

  1. stephaniegirl

    To Ann,

    Thanks for putting the whole account of the murder of a very beautiful and promising young Black woman student on your blog. People need to know the details of what had happened to Tynesia Stewart. To the people at the apartments who noticed the suspect’s burning grills who didn’t bother to do anything about it, they can just jump in the lake. As for the police and sheriff who thought Ms. Stewart isn’t worth searching for, he too can jump in the lake as well. This sordid and violent affair speaks volumes about the continued devaluation of Black women in America. Black women are killed daily and not a peep from the press, police, and society in general. They treat this as being business as usual. As long as Black women are treated in a gynocidal manner, no woman is safe period.

    As for Ms. Tynesia Stewart, may her soul rest in peace until the resurrection.

    And for the misogynist perp., I hope he gets death for the horrific crime.

    May God watch us all,

    Stephanie B.

  2. Pingback: Women of Color Blog » While I’ve Been Gone: What I’ve Been Reading

  3. anonymous

    timothy shepherd was a good friend of mine. and i know he has done a terrible thing and my prayers go out to ms. stewart it’s sad that this has happened and such a young lady with so much potential has been a victim of his outburst due to stress, depression, and confusion. and so much more. i pray for all those that have been affected even timothy. he will have a long time to think about what he has done. he never showed symptoms of an angry man that would do something like this and i hope that justice can be served all the way around.

  4. Teach your kids early on the signs of abuse. Sometimes we make mistakes and most of the time the kids won’t listen then its to late. They should make videos for families to make it more of a visible learning experience so we don’t have to try and teach them our selves. Theres no way of knowing if there is’nt signs cause i would know if a person is passive aggressive and always nice they have to get mad someday now! I could’nt imagine how the family of the beautiful college student Tynesha feels, its something we all never want to go through. I can only hope she’s in heaven now this world is so cruel it’s like hell with all the things going on these days . People killing there own babies im really tired of hearing about this stuff. I hope they find her remains it’s very selfish of him to not have approved the search and if it were his own he would have it’s just not fair.

  5. Pingback: UPDATE ON MS. TYNESHA STEWART « BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

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