Thursday, 19 March 2015
The Ultimate Camping Story
Editor's note: The following is a guest post by Julie Rench
In light of recent events that have occurred I feel it is time that I step up and share some information with all of you. On the podcast Sasquatch Chronicles there were some podcasts concerning a National Park called The Big Thicket in Texas. It was claimed that a Bigfoot had attacked and killed two people and one survived and was sent to a hospital. A video had been posted on the internet by a respected researcher name Mr. Bob Garrett. He happened upon an abandoned campsite, recorded it and posted it to youtube. At the time he called 911 to report the abandoned campsite. Evidently, afterwards this video was confiscated for whatever reason by law enforcement. The podcast stated that obstructing justice charges had been filed related to the video.
I have family members who live in Texas and they go to the Big Thicket frequently. You can imagine my concern after hearing these claims. I decided since the podcast was not providing any evidence of these claims that I would set out and find my own. So, at the end of December, 2014 and into the beginning of January, 2015 I began by calling the five Sheriff Offices that cover the Big Thicket to ask about the event. When I began to call I did not document the names of who I talked to until I realized after about 6 phone calls that I was not able to acquire any information or validation of the claims. Then I began to write down names of who I spoke to and I also sent some emails and text messages to the Sheriff office’s and County Court houses. I called the court houses looking for any record of possible charges related to obstructing justice for having the “murder scene” recorded. Please note that I did not mention in most of my phone calls or emails or otherwise that a Bigfoot had been the culprit. I did not want them to ignore my inquiry.
Phone numbers for the five county Sheriff Offices that cover the Big Thicket National Park in Texas.
Liberty County- 936-336-4500
Hardin County- 409-246-3441
Tyler County- 409-283-2172
San Jacinto County- 936-653-4367
Polk County- (936) 327-6810
The Big Thicket National Forest Ranger office- (409) 951-6700
Liberty County Courthouse- 936-336-4670
Hardin County Courthouse- 409-246-5185
Polk County Courthouse - 936-327-6805
Tyler County Courthouse- 409-283-2162
San Jacinto Courthouse- 936-653-2324
Intermountain Regional Office 303-969-2020 (oversees the Big Thicket)
Southeast Texas Investigates
I called all five county Sheriff offices and court houses, armed with the Public Information Act, and I asked them if they had two murders and one survivor related to an abandoned campsite in the Big Thicket Forest in or around June 2013 to present. The answer was “no”. I asked them if they were covering up two murders and one survivor related to an abandoned campsite in the Big Thicket Forest in or around June 2013 to present. The answer was “no”. I asked the clerks at the County Court houses if there were any charges ever filed against anyone in the summer of 2013 to current date related to obstructing justice for having videotaped a murder scene at the Big Thicket National Park. The answer was “no”.
Here are the contact names and responses that I did document:
In December 2014 I called the Big Thicket National Park office and talked to an employee about the event. They said they had never heard anything about it and they took my name and number to give to Ranger Moody and if there was anything true that was related to this story he would call me to talk to me about it. I did not receive a phone call from Ranger Moody.
On February 10th, 2015 I called the Liberty County Courthouse and talked to the clerk. Her name is Paulette Williams and I asked if they had any record of charges related to obstruction of justice or any other charges in the summer of 2013 to current date for having recorded a murder scene at the Big Thicket and getting the video confiscated by law enforcement. She did a search in their computer and she responded “no”.
On February 10th, 2015 I called the Hardin County Courthouse and talked to Nan, who is the clerk for misdemeanor charges. She said she had no record of any charges on anyone from the summer of June 2013 to now for obstructing justice related to recording a murder scene at the Big Thicket. She then transferred me to the District Attorney’s office and I spoke to Chelsea, and I asked her the same question. She said “no”. Then I asked her if she had heard of the event in question from any other County employees that cover the Big Thicket. Her answer was “no”. She was shocked and concerned that the story was being told on a public broadcast on the internet.
Again, I called all five county court houses and asked the same questions, however these were the only names that I wrote down because in the beginning I was not on a hunt to disprove this story, I was indeed trying to prove it and would have requested copies of the related documents. By law they would have to allow me access to them because it is public records, and I was also prepared to utilize the Publication Information Act if needed. If there was an ongoing investigation then of course that would be a whole different story. However, I was not told by anyone that there was an ongoing investigation. I am not saying that these charges were not filed, if they were dropped then of course it would not be in any records that they could give me anyways.
There has been some drug activity that goes on in National Parks and I was given the impression while making these calls that if a video of an abandoned camp site had ever been confiscated it may be involved with an ongoing investigation and they would not be able to discuss it until its conclusion.
Email to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department:
From: Julie Rench
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 10:38 PM
Subject: Two people found dead in Big Thicket
To whom it may concern, I am writing this email to check into a story that is being told on a public podcast that there were two people found in the Big Thicket National park that had been killed in or around June 2013 and that the Law enforcement agencies in that area are not releasing this information to the public. It is being said that someone killed them and their torn up camp was found abandoned. I have loved ones who live close by and they are at that park frequently. I am very concerned about this. I am unable to find any media reports or any kind of verification on the internet or at your local media offices. Could you please inform me who these two people where and why it was not released to the public? I would like to petition the Public Information Act if need be. Please let me know if this is true or what else I need to do in order to get the information from your records.
Response on February 11th, 2015:
On Wednesday, February 11, 2015 12:36 PM, Ed Cain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Mrs. Rench, we have not found anyone dead in the big thicket. We have no reports of such story. This does not match any deaths that we in Hardin County have had. If you get more information on this let us know.
My response to Sheriff Cain:
Feb 11, 2015
Thank you so very much Mr. Cain for your quick response. I feel a lot better about this knowing my beloved Niece and Nephew go there frequently. Have a great day!
February 11, 2015, I sent the following message to the Polk County Sheriff’s department via Facebook Private Message as was an option for contacting them:
To whom it may concern, I am writing this message to check into a story that is being told on a public podcast that there were two people found in the Big Thicket National park that had been killed in or around June 2013 and that the Law enforcement agencies in that area are not releasing this information to the public. It is being said that someone killed them and their torn up camp was found abandoned. I have loved ones who live close by and they are at that park frequently. I am very concerned about this. I am unable to find any media reports or any kind of verification on the internet or at your local media offices. Could you please inform me who these two people where and why it was not released to the public? I would like to petition the Public Information Act if need be. Please let me know if this is true or what else I need to do in order to get the information from your records
Regards, Julie Rench please respond to my email at… (Email address deleted for privacy)
Response I received on February 11th, 2015:
Not aware of this story you are asking about. We did have two people missing near Chester who were later found deceased in 2012-2013. This investigation was conducted by Tyler County Sheriff's Office. They were residents of Polk County.
Ok, but they were not found dead in the Big Thicket National Park?
February 11th, 10:21am
Not to my knowledge.
Ok thank you so much for your time, I feel a lot better. Have a good day!
On February 11th, 2015 I also called the Polk County Sheriff’s Department before I received the above response via private message. I spoke to Detective Christie Allen in depth concerning the allegations. She was very easy to speak with so I decided I would bring up the Bigfoot connection. She laughed and said that she hikes there all the time and has never “seen a Bigfoot” in the Big Thicket. I explained to her that these claims where made on a public podcast called Sasquatch Chronicles. She then said she was going to google them and I told her which episodes to listen to. She also, as I was on the phone with her, googled “torn up camp Big Thicket” and was surprised to see all of the links that came up related to the story and saw the claims about two dead bodies, one survivor and that the government was covering it up. She was not amused. She said she was going to show all of this to other employees of the Sheriff’s office because they need to be made aware. Her concern was people who listened to those podcasts would be roaming around the Park with guns hunting this “Bigfoot” and someone getting shot by mistaken identity.
On February 11th, 2015 I called Mr. Jerry Jordan from Southeast Investigates. Com. He is an award winning Investigative Reporter, and I asked him if he had heard anything about these claims and told him that the culprit was a “bigfoot”. He said “no”. He also had me send him the podcasts and other information in an email so he could look into it and determine if this should even be investigated. His mindset was if this was true and he could prove there was a cover-up it would most certainly be a career boosting story. I sent him the emails with all of the podcasts that they had discussed the story in.
On February 15th I then sent another email to Jerry Jordan: copy is below.
To: Jerry Jordan
Hi Jerry. I was wondering if you had received my emails and if there is any interest in the information. Let me know, thanks.
Regards, Julie Rench
Jerry Jordan (spelling has not been corrected).
I id receive your email and I have made some initial inquiries.
Unfortunately, I am still out of town so that will delay some
involvement right now. If anything turns up on this, I will keep you
Southeast Texas Investigates
On March 4th I called the Big Thicket National Forest Ranger’s Office again and this time I spoke to Mary Kay Manning. I asked her about the claims and she had no idea what I was talking about. I told her about the forums I had read on some of the links where people had talked about the rogue ‘Bigfoot” killing two people, tossing their bodies into trees, one survivor was sent to the hospital. She then asked me to send the podcasts to her and other information. She was concerned that people would believe this story and start looking for a “rogue Bigfoot” in the woods with guns and someone could be hurt or worse. She was appalled that this story was being circulated and said she was going to present this to her supervisors. I called the office again on March 12th, 2015 and Mary Kay was out of the office but I spoke to Ranger Jason. I asked him if he had heard about this and he was unaware of any such event. I also asked him if there were black helicopters that routinely fly over the big thicket to check on what people are doing. He said no and was not amused. He then asked me if I had contacted law enforcement to tell them the story because they may want to have a heads up about anyone wanting to go into the Park with guns hunting for the “Bigfoot”. I explained to him that I had already done that. He said he would bring it to the attention of the other Rangers. I left a message for Mary Kay to call me back and let me know if she had listened to any of the claims on the podcast.
On March 12th, 2015 I called Jerry again and asked if he had heard anything on the claims. He said he had contacted several sources, and that they had never heard of the events. He also stated that if something like that would have happened he felt certain he would have heard rumors back in 2013 because of all the contacts that he has in law enforcement due to being an Investigative Journalist. I then told him I had been in contact with Mary Kay Manning at the Big Thicket National Forest and she was very concerned about these rumors. His office is 7 miles from The Big Thicket National Park Ranger’s office so he said he would go to the office and talk with Mary Kay himself and then get back with me with his findings, if he were able to indeed come up with any leads that this story may be true. I have not heard back from him as of this date.
*Jerry Jordan covers all of eastern Texas and he could find no evidence of such an event.
On March 17, 2015 I spoke to Lena Koschmann at the International Regional National Parks Service. They oversee the Big Thicket National Forest. I asked her why they are covering up two murders in the Big Thicket Forest. She had no idea what I was referring to but asked me why I would ask that question. I told her about the story being told that Bigfoot killed them. She asked me to send her some links to where she could verify this for herself. She was concerned about people actually believing this and roaming around the woods looking for Bigfoot with guns. She said she would call all the law enforcement agencies that cover the Big Thicket and speak to them directly and give them a heads up.
The only other law enforcement agency that would have been involved is the Federal Government or the Texas Rangers. I asked the folks at the Big Thicket Ranger Office if there had been an event like this where two people were killed and thrown into trees inside their park what the odds of them knowing this would be. They said 100%. Since a 911 call was claimed to have been made when the campsite was discovered, that would have gone out to one of the Sheriff Offices to report to, since it was not in city limits. Local law enforcement would have been dispatched to the scene. Texas Rangers…, I do not think they would be easily intimidated either and if someone was truly murdered I do not think they would just go along with some conspiracy as they take their job to serve and protect very serious, and are from the Great State Of Texas. Texas is not known for their leaders or law enforcement to bow down to the government.
I sent an email to Sasquatch Chronicles on February 1st and advised them that I had been in contact with some of the Law Enforcement in Texas and I could not verify the story that two people were killed and asked if they had checked into it as well. I did not receive a response. Shortly after the email I was removed and blocked from the Sasquatch Chronicles Facebook group.
I invite you to call all of the Sheriff Offices, Court houses, the National Park, the Intermountain Regional Park Service and Jerry Jordan the Investigative Journalist, and ask any questions. I also called a couple police departments but they told me they had never heard of such a story and wouldn’t have handled any calls to the National Park as that would have went to the Sheriff’s office, so there was no point to continue that avenue.
I have several members of my family who are law enforcers. Knowing what I do about law enforcement, it is a known fact that Sheriff Departments do not answer to the Federal Government. They are independent and their concern is for the safety of their own communities. Therefore what I found out by trying to prove this story was this: In order for this to be true, the Intermountain Regional National Parks Office and all of their employees, the Big Thicket National Park and all of their employees and Rangers, all five Sheriffs offices and all of their employees, the court houses and all of their employees, the media including the entirety of the internet, Jerry Jordan, the award winning Investigative Journalist who has an office 7 miles from the Big Thicket National Park Ranger’s office and his team, the survivor of the attack and his or her family, the employees of the hospital that the survivor was taken to, the families of the two people killed, the State of Texas, and potentially Texas Rangers, are all in on the cover up and are not speaking of this event and are all denying it ever happened. Could this really be the case? I am not saying one way or the other, I am just stating the facts.
Now we have people saying that Mr. Garrett is a liar and a hoaxer. This is very disturbing because from what I know about him, he is a stand up gentleman who loves to research, has put a lot of hours into it, and has contributed to the community. I do not think that Mr. Garrett created this story. All he did was video tape an abandoned campsite and posted it to YouTube.
Months and months later it had turned into a story of two people killed, one survived and it is a huge government conspiracy. I do not think this story should be left the way it is. Mr. Garrett does not deserve to have his good name tarnished in this manner. I know there are people out there who know some truths about what really happened. How this story got so blown up. It is time for those people to come forward. I know I will probably take a hit for sharing this information. I no longer care.
When events like this happen and innocent people are hurt, it seems certain people get a pass, and I for one, am sick of it. I urge you to help clear Mr. Garrett’s good reputation. If you have information, I challenge you to share it. And as far as the information that I obtained by contacting all of the agencies listed, please do not shoot the messenger. I am only stating facts.
EDIT TO INCLUDED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
March 20, 2015
I spoke with Deputy Cross from The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department and asked him if there were two people who were found dead in the Sam Houston during the summer of 2013 to current that was being covered up by the government. His answer was “no”. “I had never heard of that story”. He was not amused.
I spoke with Deputy Danny Billingsley from the Walker County Sheriff’s Department and asked him if there were two people found dead in the Sam Houston during the summer of 2013 to current that was being covered up by the government. He responded, “Why would we want to cover something like that up?”. He asked me why I would ask that and I told him that there is a podcast that is claiming that there were two people found dead in the Sam Houston. They were allegedly attacked by a Bigfoot, two people were found dead and one survivor was taken to the hospital and the Park and law enforcement involved were covering it up. He said that would never happen because they would not be involved in a government conspiracy to cover up two people being murdered. He then told me that he has been hunting all of his life in the Sam Houston and knows multiple other law enforcement officers that work in the area of both the Sam Houston and the Big Thicket and has never heard anything about any government conspiracies involving people being murdered by a Bigfoot.
I called the Sam Houston Park and asked to speak Law Enforcement and was advised they were out in the field. I then asked who I was speaking with and she replied that she is the Receptionist. Her name is Rhiannon and she has been employed there since 2009. I asked her if she had ever heard of anyone being murdered in the Park in the summer of 2013 to current. She said “no, not that she had ever heard about”. I then told her that there is a podcast on the internet who said there were three people attacked by a Bigfoot, two people were killed and one survived and was sent to the hospital, and it was being covered up by the Park and Law Enforcement. She said that she has no idea why anyone would be making those claims. I gave her my phone number and she said she would make sure one of the Rangers would return my call as soon as they are available. As soon as I receive a call I will include it in my findings.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department
Walker County Sheriff’s Department
The Sam Houston National Forest