After nearly ten years of marriage, Marlena's husband left her. This would not be the first time he had left her and their two young children - many times he had disappeared for days with no explanation. He was always in and out of jail. But this time, it would be the last.
At the age of 23, recently discharged from the U.S. Navy and enraged by recent murders of unarmed, black men at the hands of police officers, Mark Essex took matters into his own hands.
“He was laughin', smiling; he was his normal self,” Eubanks says. “We went in (to the shelter), he got a shower, got in a bed, took a nap 'til dinner time. That was his routine. After dinner time, he’d crack a Bible open. He didn't crack it open this time.”
Richardson firefighters who came to an office building on the 500 block of E. Arapaho were met with an odd chemical smell, too rancid for a regular fire. The source of the blaze was a nondescript suite with no business name on it, Suite 105. What they found inside on the evening of November 17, 2015 would lead to a strange and horrific story, one of a long-time fetish pornographer and a young man who apparently snapped under the pressure to perform.
The clock is ticking towards five o'clock Thursday evening and the jury is still deliberating whether or not Daeveion Mangum, 20, should be found guilty of murdering 60-year-old Michael Castagne in his office on the 500 block of E. Arapahoe Rd on November 17th last year. The question is not whether Mangum committed the murder or not, but rather if he reacted because he believed Castagne was attempting to commit sexual assault against him that evening - that it was a crime of self defense.
The day before she was killed, 32-year-old Odessan Monica Deming and her father, former Odessa Police Department officer Jon Nielsen, had breakfast at Dumpling's -- her favorite restaurant. Shaky and pale, she was not herself that morning. In fact, Deming had not been herself for the past five weeks.
On Nov. 25, four days before she died, Odessan Monica Deming, 32, had a friend over to her home. She had been enduring constant harassment for weeks, primarily via social media and text message, by her ex-boyfriend Brandon Leyva, 38, and took comfort in the solace of friends and family.
Local schools released a joint statement afternoon asking parents to check their children’s phones after a social media app called Ogle caused alarm and eventually resulted in a student being arrested Wednesday at Midland High School.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against nearly 30 Midland businesses by two local plaintiffs and their Florida-based lawyer for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuits primarily involve parking lot violations, which has led the businesses - most of which are located on the city's south side - and the Chamber of Commerce to suspect they are what can be considered "drive-by lawsuits."
On a warm Saturday afternoon, they line up outside Level Path Ministries in Odessa. Some smoke cigarettes, others just stand and talk. Some wear bandanas; many wear short-sleeve shirts showing the tattoos winding up their arms. They all wear black leather vests with a large patch on the back that reads "Guardians of the Children."
Midlander David Gutierrez certainly has a story to tell. He grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood in the greater Los Angeles area, his mother was an alcoholic, his dad wasn't around. His brother was in and out of prison and his sister was a drug addict. He started drinking and doing drugs at age 12, was addicted to meth and marijuana by 14 and arrested by age 15. Now 36, he is three years sober and a substance abuse counselor for troubled teens at Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP).
After 30 years of service, Lt. Bobbie Jo Land, better known as "BJ," has put down her badge.
Sawitree "Kai" Sathiensap was living a good life in her home country of Thailand. She had a well-paying job at a bank and then worked for the Ministry of Industry. She had an "easy life" there, she said. When a girlfriend introduced her to her now-ex-husband via a dating site, she thought she was about to have it all. He was an American, "a nice guy" with a good job in Midland, a good family and a good education like her. They seemed to be a great match.
The holidays, coupled with a declining economy, bring stress to all, but they also bring a more disturbing trend: a rise in child abuse. Local agencies that provide counseling and crisis services to abuse victims say that both physical and sexual abuse cases are on the rise, but suspected child sexual abuse cases remain in the majority.
Seven years ago, Terry Brudos pulled his truck into the probation parking lot in Georgetown. He finished up a final toke of methamphetamines, put down the pipe and walked in to meet with his probation officer. He'd been on probation non-stop since he was 18. He'd already had three DWIs, been jailed multiple times and been on everything from misdemeanor probation to felony probation for DWIs and drug offenses. He figured today wouldn't be any different.
Cpl. Rebecca Patterson, often called Miss P. by inmates, has worked at the Midland County jail for the past 21 years. She’s often asked how she’s done it that long.
On a hot, summer night in 2006, about 11 miles south of Andrews, an 18-year-old girl was killed by a drunken driver. Her mother, Debra Vessels, was just a few minutes behind her on the highway when she saw the horizon light up with a hazy orange and white light. A few minutes later she learned her daughter, Kayla Grissom, had been struck head-on by a driver with an alcohol content of 0.25 (three times over the legal limit).