New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 15, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,2005
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I Readers have their say | about supporting local resi-j dents, double taxation and I helping evacuees. Page 4A
Grand jury indicts Suzanne DeWalt for kidnapping
Michael DeWalt says ‘thank you’
Father: Jeremy is handling transition well
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Canyon graduate Thomas Keresztury leads theTexas State offensive line.
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
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Vol. 154, No. 255 12 pages, 2 sections
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By Ron Maloney
Suzanne DeWalt’s legal problems mounted Wednesday when a Comal County grand jury indicted her on a kidnapping charge — and 207th judicial District Judge lack Robison raised her bail to $1.1 million.
DeWalt, 42, fled Robison’s court Oct. 25, 2002, rather than turn her son, Jeremy, over to her ex-husband, Michael, at the conclusion of a two-week custody trial she lost.
She had alleged Michael DeWalt and two of his adult relatives sexually abused the boy on a trip to Florida in 2001. The allegations were investigated by several agencies including New Braunfels police, the FBI and the Naval Investigative Service and found unfounded.
Friday, Suzanne DeWalt was captured in central Mexico and returned to New Braunfels, where Jeremy DeWalt, who turns 8 next month, was returned to his father.
Suzanne DeWalt was charged after her arrival here with two counts of interfering with child custody and one count of hindering the apprehension of a known felon, her mother, who was convicted of helping her escape.
Her parents, Edward Keams, 73, and Margaret Kearns, 69, pleaded guilty in April 2004 to interfering with child custody and hindering the apprehension of a felon for their part in enabling DeWalt to flee authorities at the conclusion of the custody trial.
Ed Kearns was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and was placed on deferred adjudication probation for IO years.
Margaret Keams pleaded guilty to state jail felony interfering with child custody in exchange for a one-year sentence and IO years deferred adjudication probation.
If convicted on the custody charges, Suzanne DeWalt faces up to two years in a state jail. On the hindering apprehension charge, she could spend between two and IO years in state prison. DeWalt faces die same exposure on the new charge, wliich is a third-degree felony punishable by up to IO years.
A final goodbye
New Braunfels firefighters bury one of their own — former chief Jack Wilson.
By Ron Maloney
Jeremy DeWalt returned to New Braunfels Wednesday with his father and grandparents to meet and have lunch with some new friends.
They dined at Huisache Grill, where his grandparents, Char and Ralph DeWalt, shared a salad. I lis father, Michael DeWalt, sipped 7Up and shared photos of the last few days, which he has been able to spend with his son for the first time in nearly three years.
Jeremy DeWalt laughed, joked, smiled and told tongue-twisters such as “Peter Piper" in three languages and said he was having fun with his father and his grandparents.
He talked about “Star Wars” and played a “Star Wars” game on a cell phone offered him by Herald-Zeitung photographer Mandy Reary.
The “friends” were District Attorney DibWaldrip and New Braunfels police Lt. Mike Rust, detective Mike Penshorn and crime analyst Ubby Rinehart. Jeremy DeWalt was never told what their jobs were.
“Jeremy, this is Dib," Michael said. I Ie then introduced the detectives, who share his first name. “It’s a lot of Mikes,” he said.
DeWalt ttimed away to talk quietly as liis son ordered french fries, chicken strips and a cup of milk.
“I Ie doesn’t know what they did," DeWalt said. “But they’re the greatest friends you can have.”
What Jeremy DeWalt doesn’t know is that they spent nearly three years looking for him.
A couple miles away, Jeremy’s mom, Suzanne DeWalt, sits in Comal County Jail, awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping, interfering with child custody and hindering the apprehension of a known felon for spiriting the boy, 7, away to Mexico rather Alan surrender custody of him to her ex-husband, who she alleges sexually abused him in 2001.
With the help of the Child Rescue Network, private investigator Philip Klein, the FBI and Mexican authorities, tile DeWalts were found
Photos by MANDY REARY Herald-Zeitung
Michael DeWalt, left, and his son, Jeremy, take a moment away to themselves to play a game during lunch Wednesday afternoon. Below, Jeremy, center, plays a quick Star Wars game during a lunch with, from left, New Braunfels Detective Mike Penshorn, District Attorney DibWaldrip, Michael DeWalt and Lt. Mike Rust.
Thursday in a town in central Mexico. They were deported Friday, and Suzanne DeWalt was arrested when she arrived in New Braunfels.
Several law enforcement agencies, including the Naval Investigative Service, The Department of Public Safety Special Crimes Division, the New Braunfels Police Department and the Orlando, Fla., police department, have investigated tile allegations she made against her ex-husband and ruled them unfounded.
Monday, FBI Special Agent Rene Salinas in San Antonio said the case was closed.
“We have no interest in Michael
See DeWALT, Page 3A
Business Trade Show outgrowing civic center
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By Ron Maloney
Cheryl Guest rushed down to the New Braunfels Business Trade Show Thursday where she tried to help people with beat feet.
Guest, owner of Pain Away Footwear on Business 35, was one of 59 local businesses represented at the 17th annual Business Trade Show conducted at the New Braunfels Civic Center.
Guest’s business sells “Z-Coil” shoes and sneakers, which have a large coil spring under the heels and do much more than add bounce to your step. They are designed to reduce impact pain, she said.
“They look unusual, but they’ll save your life," Guest said. “They absorb about 50 percent of the impact and return about 40 percent of the energy."
The business, which has operated for two years, also sells other therapeutic foot-ware, including Crocs clogs, Dansko and Ecco shoes. Ifrtxl-ucts at the store range in price from about $30 to around $200.
Guest has shoes that offer extra arch support or could be worn in water or as boat shoes.
“They’re for anybody who is on their feet a lot," she said.
Wednesday was Guest’s second trade show.
Its valuable, she said, because she could expose her products to potential new customers and she could network with other members of the small business community.
“It’s a shame this civic center is so small,” she said. There are many new businesses that
See TRADE, Page 3A
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Lottery scam troubles New Braunfels, Seguin
By Bryan Kirk
SEGUIN — An investigation into a possible lottery scam shows scammers may be targeting victims in Seguin and New Braunfels.
The Seguin Police Department released video footage from Seguin State Bank and Trust of a young woman who allegedly attempted to scam a 73-year-old Seguin woman out of $7,000.
Police believe the same woman could be involved in a scam that resulted in a Seguin woman being duped into paying $5,000 for fake diamonds, and they are looking at store video from Wal-Mart Stores in Seguin and New Braunfels.
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Seguin Police Lt. Mike Watts said similar tactics were used in both cases.
In both incidents, the victims were approached by a woman they did not know while shopping in the shoe department, and both victims told authorities the women who approached them claimed to have worked in the hotel industry.
The victim in the second case, who asked not to be identified, spent 23 years working for Tyson Foods in Seguin and has been living off her savings.
On Friday, she was at Wal-Mart in New Braunfels to drop off a prescription and
See SCAM, Page 2A
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MANDY REARY Herald-Zeitung
Heather Henderson, right, shops through a Danskin catalog with the help of Zandra Aguilar, a Z-Coil shoe representative, at the BusinessTrade Show Wednesday afternoon in the civic center.