By Julie Vaughan
Law enforcement is urging the public “do not approach” Donny Lee Greenhow. “He is considered armed and dangerous,” Van Zandt County Sheriff R.P. “Pat” Burnett Jr. said.
Greenhow has been named the loan suspect in a double homicide capital murder case.
On the morning of August 3, the sheriff’s office was contacted in reference to a deceased person in a trailer house in Ben Wheeler.
“We were notified by a family member of one of the deceased,” Burnett explained.
When deputies arrived to Van Zandt County Road 4812, near Ben Wheeler, they confirmed one deceased person and upon further investigation revealed a second deceased person in the trailer house.
Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sam Mayer said during a press conference Monday morning it appears that both subjects died from gunshot wounds.
“Also at that time, officers found a vehicle in the driveway that did not belong to the deceased in the house. It was reported stolen out of Kaufman County,” Burnett said. “That was the first time that our suspect’s name came up when we contacted Kaufman County.”
Law enforcement was able to identify the victims as Peter Shick, 74, and Latricia Shick, 55, of Ben Wheeler.
Their vehicle was later found in Waco, and that was the last known whereabouts of Greenhow, a 32-year-old white male.
“The best we can tell, the victims had been in their trailer house for upwards of nine days when the family notified us,” Burnett said.
“The last known whereabouts that we have (of Greenhow) is that the suspect was in Waco in the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 1,” district attorney Chris Martin said. “I think it is important to know that we do not know of his whereabouts, so publishing his photograph is greatly appreciated.”
“He is a fugitive and we have a capital murder warrant for his arrest,” Burnett said. “This subject is dangerous. He is armed, and we do not know where in the state of Texas he is at this time.”
“We do not know what kind of vehicle he is in at this time. We do not know if the vehicle he is in will have the correct license plate. So we want you to concentrate on his face and not the vehicle,” Burnett continued. “We need this subject in before he commits another offense and there is a great likelihood that is going to happen.”
Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney Chris Martin, along with the Texas Rangers and the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office are all working together in looking for Greenhow, Burnett said. He further added that the U.S. Marshal’s may be contacted for further assistance in this case.
“We are going to use every resource we can to get this subject in without any further problems,” Burnett said.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of Greenhow.
“I know personally that Sheriff Burnett along with the Texas Rangers and the other local law enforcement around here have been working diligently in all hours of the night in order to get as much information as we can to tell us the whereabouts of Mr. Greenhow,” Martin said. “We anticipate he will be in custody soon, but we are going to need the help of everyone in the state of Texas to help us find this individual.”
When asked if he worked alone in the murder, Burnett said, “Currently he is the only suspect until the investigation reveals otherwise.”
“We are still trying to determine a motive,” Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sam Mayer said. “We have reason to believe Mr. Greenhow did somewhat know the victims and we are still trying to determine his motive behind the offense he committed.”
Mayer went on to say that through the investigation they were able to determine Greenhow did know the victims, but they are not aware how long it had been since the victims and Greenhow had spoken until their death.
When asked where Greenhow was from, Mayer said, “We’ve learned that he was pretty much from all over. He was raised for a while in Van Zandt County and he was currently living somewhat in Kaufman County and he was just moving around.”
Mayer said Greenhow does not have an extensive criminal history, “but nothing to lead you to this nature of an offense.”
“We’ve dealt with him as a juvenile in Van Zandt County and he was adjudicated for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,” Martin added. “At least as a juvenile he had some violent tendencies…but nothing to this magnitude…”
“We have recovered some weapons. In tracking him back, there have been several thefts in Kaufman County and here in Van Zandt County, and several guns taken from different places,” Mayer said. “That is one reason we consider him armed and dangerous at this time.”
“Through investigation we can say that over the last month he had committed several different crimes,” Mayer said; adding they are still working on a timeline.
“He is apparently a very good car thief,” Burnett said. “I don’t know what happened in this case. That is what makes this unusual because he has stolen cars before and never had to kill anyone. That is what makes this so vital to get this information out because he is willing to do that now.”
“Everyone that he has stolen a car from and burglarized has been someone he knew,” Mayer said. “He hasn’t been going up to random victims, at the same time the game kind of changes for him. We don’t want people to be lax though.”
“I’ve been sheriff almost 12 years and we’ve had one other double homicide. It happened to be a couple at a trading post,” Burnett said. “It was a clear motive of robbery. This is highly unusual because there is no clear motive. It is extremely unusual for Van Zandt County.”
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