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May 23, 2013

Double murder remains unsolved

GREENVILLE — Despite seven years having passed with no arrests, Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said he does not intend to give up until he finds whoever killed Cora McAbee and Brandon Howell.

“This case is very personal to me as I knew one of the victims and both families of the victims,” Meeks said.

The 2006 double murder remains as one of Hunt County’s most notorious unsolved cases and Meeks makes a plea as the anniversary of the brutal killings approaches each year, asking for the public’s help.

Howell, 29, and McAbee, 42, were found early on the morning of May 25, 2006 inside McAbee’s home on Private/County Road 2174, just off of Farm-To-Market Road 1903 south of Greenville. The murders were believed to have occurred as the couple slept, sometime between 11 p.m. May 24 and 6:38 a.m. May 25. Both victims had been shot at close range multiple times.

Cora, the mother of five children, was the owner of  the former Cora’s Country Café on Highway 34 South in the Cash area. Brandon was the owner of a Greenville lawn and garden business. McAbee and Howell had been dating for about a week.

“The case was diligently followed up on during the following months and despite all the efforts of the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office Investigators and the Texas Rangers, all leads dried up and the case went cold,” Meeks said Wednesday.

Meeks said an investigator has been assigned to all of the department’s cold cases, specifically the double murder.

“The investigator began his process by combing through every piece of evidence that had been collected and tested to ensure that the proper tests had been requested,” Meeks said. “Several items have been sent back to the Texas Department of Public Safety Lab and another fully certified forensic lab and all lab results are currently being reviewed and scrutinized. The investigator has also reviewed hours upon hours of video recorded interviews that had been conducted over the years and a list of persons is currently being compiled that are of interest to him for additional questioning.”

Meeks admitted it has been a frustrating case.

“We are so very close to breaking this case and I believe that we will have enough evidence to make an arrest in this horrible crime,” Meeks said. “I regret that we were unable to make an arrest before Cora’s mother, Wanda Wallace, passed away. However, I will never give up on solving this senseless homicide until the person and/or persons responsible are put in jail.”

Anyone with information concerning the murders has been asked to contact Investigator Jeff Haines with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at 903-453-6809, or through email at haines@huntcounty.net or Hunt County Crime stoppers at 903-455-2020 or 903-453-6898.

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