A Missing Man and Familiar Old Wounds in Jasper

by Published on
The search for Alfred Wright seen from the air
The search for Alfred Wright earlier this month in a pasture outside Hemphill, seen from Jasper Mayor Mike Lout's plane.

 

Update on Nov. 25: Beaumont’s 12NewsNow reported Monday afternoon that Alfred Wright’s body was found near the Sabine County field where his clothes and belongings had been found earlier. Jasper City Councilman Alton Scott told the TV station “wearing only his underwear, a sock, a shoe and had his cell phone in his sock.”

KTRE confirmed the report with Chuck Foreman, a Lockhart-based private investigator hired by the family to continue the search. Foreman told KTRE he’d learned Wright “may have been using a substance known as bath salts for an energy boost.” Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox, however, said he could not confirm the body’s identity, so his office’s search for Wright was ongoing.

Update on Nov. 26: In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Beaumont lawyer Ryan McLeod and the Bernsen Law Firm say that Wright’s family “is now looking for answers” after Wright’s body was found in “an area where the family had been asking the Sabine County Sheriffs office to search for weeks.” Wright’s family, according to the statement, “is particularly aggrieved by the story that Alfred was on bath salts. This story was apparently simply a supposition by an overzealous private investigator and had no basis in fact.”

Wright’s father spent a cold Monday night outside near the body, according to the statement, waiting for Texas Rangers to arrive and begin their investigation.

 

The East Texas town of Jasper is united around this much, at least: Alfred Wright’s disappearance two weeks ago was very, very strange.

A more divisive question is whether there were dark forces at play the evening he took off running from a remote liquor store parking lot, or in the so-far unsuccessful search for him since. And in the town where James Byrd, a black man, was picked up 15 years ago by three white supremacists, savagely beaten and dragged three miles behind their truck, the divisions are all too familiar.

On one side, there’s ample precedent in the area’s racist past for violence against a black man out alone at night, and for indifference or complicity from local police. On the other side, local authorities are frustrated that, even as their investigation continues, so many people in and outside of Jasper have been so quick to find racism and scandal in such a confounding mystery.

Alfred Wright
Sabine County Sheriff
Alfred Wright

Wright, a 28-year-old African-American father of three, a local football standout with a wife, family and lots of friends around Jasper, pulled his truck, which was breaking down, into the parking lot of CL&M Grocery, a package store on a country stretch of State Highway 87 near Hemphill. A physical therapist out on house calls, Wright had just finished one appointment and may have been on his way to another. Stranded now, he left his truck, called his wife and then, according to a widely reported account from the store’s clerk, stuffed his cell phone into his sock and took off running north along the highway. Hemphill, the nearest town, was four miles away. Wright’s parents arrived to find his truck abandoned at the store.

In the search that followed, the only signs of Wright were found south of the store, away from town, down a country road where the dense woods open to a fenced-off pasture. His ID and credit cards, watch, therapy supplies, shirt and pants were all in the field or around the barbed wire fence, and there was blood on the fence. Tom Maddox, the Sabine County sheriff, says dogs tracked Wright’s scent across the pasture to a creek but couldn’t pick it up on the opposite bank, or anywhere else in the woods for a mile in either direction.

Dive teams, Texas Equusearch trackers, sheriff’s deputies and volunteers scoured the woods and ponds in vain. Mike Lout, Jasper’s mayor and owner of the local radio station KJAS, flew his plane over the woods but found nothing. On the evening of November 11, after three days of searching, Maddox called off the ground search. They had found “red flags,” he said, but “no signs of foul play.” After a sheriff’s deputy suggested on Facebook that Wright was simply on the lam, KJAS broke the story that Wright was facing charges of embezzling money from a Memphis bank where he’d worked in college.

The decision to treat Wright’s disappearance as a missing-person case, and to end the official search, took on the look of a budding scandal. Texas Monthly noted how strange it seemed to call off the search so soon. Wright’s sister Kassilia began raising money for an independent search.

Ray Lewis, a pastor in Jasper, was critical of the official search effort. Late on Monday, speaking from the pasture where Wright went missing, he told the cameras he had joined the search for a time, but quit because “I do not feel they’re really adequate in what they’re doing. I really do think they need some more professional help,” he said. “I am really disappointed with the sheriff. I don’t think he’s friendly, I think he’s unruly. He has not given the family an update every day, and he’s standing over now and he is going to get in his truck and leave here in a few minutes.”

On the phone with the Observer this week, Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox sounded exasperated at the criticism his office took for ending the search, and at the rumor-mongering that’s filled the days since his office shared any news.

“We have drug the creek, we have flown over it in helicopters, we’ve flown over it with flare units. What else can I do? I’ve done ground searches for four days,” he says. “There are some people that were really wanting to make this a black and white issue, and it’s not. It has nothing to do with black and white, not at all.”

He says his officers are still running down leads and have multiple witnesses. He says he checks in with Wright’s wife daily and has notified Texas Rangers and even the FBI about Wright’s disappearance. “Thank you very much,” he says, “hey, we don’t release every single piece of evidence.”

Ray Lewis, right
Patrick Michels
Ray Lewis, right, organizes the distribution of “missing” flyers for Wright.

Last Thursday morning, a week after Wright disappeared, about a dozen men and women gathered at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Jasper, where Lewis is pastor. Stacks of “missing” flyers with Wright’s photo covered the tables. As they waited for Lewis to arrive, the volunteers—mostly black, some white—traded theories.

Some said the store’s clerk, and the police in Hemphill, “know more than what they’re saying.” They agreed that Hemphill, less than 45 minutes away, was even more dangerous territory than Jasper. One woman called it “a mini-Vidor,” referring to the town outside Beaumont where the Ku Klux Klan protested the first black residents moving to town in 1992. “People up there are so tight-knit, if something happened they won’t talk,” one said.

“Who’s gonna get out their truck and walk down a dark country road that time of evening?” asked Patricia McQueen, who lives in Jasper. “What I understand, a lot of the people didn’t even want them on their property to go look for him.”

McQueen recalled the murder of Loyal Garner, Jr., a black man beaten to death by white officers in the Sabine County Jail on Christmas Day 1987. She told the Observer she had her own theory about Wright’s disappearance: “What happened, the clerk at that store called one of them dirty policemen, they come and see this black man sitting in his truck, made him get out, made him get out down that road … and done with him what they do.”

Lewis walked in, and parceled out nearby stretches of highway for volunteers to cover with “missing” signs. He reminded them not to go out alone or at night.

“We want Alfie home,” Lewis said. “I’m not going to stop looking until we know his whereabouts. He’s become now a son of the community, he’s all of ours now. And we cannot just sit back. We’re trying not to make this deal a race issue, a hate issue, but like I said the other night if that’s the road it takes us down, that’s the road we’re gonna travel.”

And it’s a well-worn path. The psychologist Ricardo Ainslie, author of a book on Byrd’s murder, told the Observer in 2004: “Jasper, I know, has long ago grown tired of this story.” But its persistence is only partly because of the brutality of Byrd’s death in a town known for little else. It’s been decades now since police in Hemphill killed Loyal Garner, but just six months since two Jasper police were caught on video beating a black woman named Keyarika Diggles, who was being held for an unpaid traffic ticket. The year before that, the town’s first black police chief was ousted by newly elected city council members, after a successful recall effort forced out black city council members who hired him.

In response to the council recall, Ray Lewis led an unsuccessful effort to recall Mayor Mike Lout, who is white. During the petition drive, Lewis’ church was vandalized.

“Ever since James Byrd, everything in Jasper’s black or white. And that’s just crazy,” Lout told the Observer this week. “It’s about to get silly and old. I don’t know why in the hell when the space shuttle broke up over East Texas, people had to bring up this was right around where James Byrd was killed. Well, what the fuck does that have to do with it? … It’d be kinda like anything that happens in Dallas has got to be somehow connected to the Oswald conspiracy.”

As a reporter, Lout says, he was the first one to cover Loyal Garner’s murder and the first on the scene when Byrd’s body was found. He ran for mayor, he says, because of the city’s reluctance to help minority residents in poor neighborhoods that were constantly flooding. During the police chief controversy, Lout maintained the white officer he’d picked for the job was simply better qualified.

After joining 50 to 60 people in the massive search effort, over four days in the thick woods, Lout doesn’t buy the idea that the area’s white leaders abandoned Alfred Wright. “The woods were full of white folks. I never saw any black folks searching. I just saw them standing around the cars,” he says. “So how do you make that a racial issue?”

Lewis and his church are just a few of the locals who disagree with Lout, who note that Jasper is a dangerous place to be stranded like Wright was, and that Hemphill may be even worse. Official silence or guarantees that this isn’t about race don’t do much to address those fears.

Wright’s wife Lauren hasn’t spoken to the press since his disappearance, but Ryan MacLeod, a Beaumont lawyer and friend of the family, told the Observer “it is apparent that she is concerned with the sheriff’s office and their public statements,” including those Facebook posts suggesting Wright is just hiding out. “It is difficult for me to imagine a young black man deciding to flee from his beautiful family, choosing to run in the backwoods north of Jasper, Texas,” MacLeod says, “an area that his family says he would be terrified to be in alone.”

Patrick Michels is a reporter for the Texas Observer and a former legislative intern. He has been a staff writer and web editor at the Dallas Observer, and a former editor of the Texas Independent. He has a bachelor's in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a competitive eating enthusiast.

  • Pretty Little Ballcrusher

    East Texas is rife with racism and corruption, and where white victims of crime may find justice, absolutely it escapes black victims at a far greater rate. That said, in my experience with law enforcement, I can’t say they’d still be actively scouring the woods much longer for anyone who up and disappeared like that, regardless of race. Globally, law enforcement is pretty incompetent over there. It’s a bizarre case to be sure, and I’m curious to know if the store had any cameras or what the sheriff has to say about phone records, etc. Did an ATM camera catch anything? Anyway, I can’t imagine the grief his poor family must be living with, or the community as a whole… Jasper has a lot of healing to do.

    • Richard hopson

      I’ll answer your questions since your curious, yes store has cameras the town population is 1106 and there’s no secrets in that town, everyone talks you can’t do anything without it being known about, so if there was a crime in that town it would have leaked by now. And as far as the phone records I’m curious to know about that, also the federal indictment out of Tennessee that the date was approaching and if he was scared of the dark why leave the only light around when your ride was on there way.. He was 28, no mental issues, no meds. Just voluntarily decided to take off, the store is all windows in the front, and that’s the parking lot, the store clerk can see up the highway in both directions from any area in the front of the store including behind the cash register, so if anyone would have pulled up stopped, she would have seen the vehicle and more than likely the person or persons.. So yeah I agree with what you say and think this story is strange and the family knows more then there speaking on..

      • grwnazzman

        I see you have the answer for everything so can you please tell me what happen. How the hell do the family know more. Dont know who you are but sound like you could be some of the problem. But i have a life so I am not going to entertain you any longer.

  • SR2003

    I was in the same graduating class as Alfred. He was always very nice, polite, and dedicated. As someone who lived in Jasper during the James Byrd Jr. incident, there is just no way to compare these two cases. That case was a nightmare for everyone due to the media coverage and horrific nature of the crime. I really hope the opportunity for the media & town to turn this into a race issue doesn’t happen, as it would only shift the focus of the real issue at hand, which is that a great person is missing.

    • Richard hopson

      It seems to me all Jasper black folks are racist and some form or way, why this is even being viewed as a race crime,we have no clues to were that topic surfaced, except from the victims family and the citizens of jasper..so since you were in his graduating class and believe he is a great person, than go to the family and have them to set up a search team, quit making it a hate crime for the media and attention there seeking.. The law enforcement are doing all they can do, sorry every officer on each shift aren’t spending every min of there Patel time searching for him, there’s other cases and crimes going on, to were there here to protect and serve the residents of Sabine county.. I believe the family needs to check in on his personal life, and them federal charges that were approaching him.. He staged it to avoid sentencing and his family involved and making a issue to get the focus off his movement, or he planned it and left his loved ones in the dark to hurt and worry, to save his own ass.

      • Gerald Hastings

        Your comment is one reason a person might deem it a racial crime. It happend in Jasper Texas. where the KKK are rulers of the village. I wouldn’t call it a town. Why would a black man of means want to settle in that town is a mystery to me.

        • shaunthebrummie

          like most parasitical blacks….he wanted to live amongst whites…now if we ever had a choice who we could have live amongst us….there’d be less whites killed and white women raped……..fact

      • Throwupandoff

        How shallow.

  • symfonycms

    Actually this needs to escalate into a larger scale investigation. It is quite evident that there are problems in the Jasper area that even the local and neighboring cities don’t care to address.. Maybe that sorry excuse for a Governor can do something for once, before it goes Federal. We don’t want to hear the whining about it should have been handled at the State level after the fact.

  • Richard hopson

    You all are quick to say it’s racism. When you don’t have a clue were or what went on.. You are mentioning two murders that were done in two different counties involving three whites and one black, yeah it’s wrong and always talked about. I guess all you prejudice black folks forgot when them three blacks from jasper beat and ran over a Hemphill man for no reason.. He didn’t owe them anything, he was going to buy them gas, the only thing he had done wrong was agreed to ride with them to the store..that ride cost him his life, that happened between Hemphill and pineland. Let me guess that wasn’t a hate crim
    e, a drug deal gone wrong. No it was a hate crime.. The names were Darrell Gilbert, Blake White, and a female all from jasper the Sabine county man which was white was named Ken Bimbo Tillery Sr. If it’s not a hate crime against the blacks harming the whites then that’s it’s not when the whites do the same to the blacks..what about when them three jasper black boys knocked on a white mans motel door when he answered they beat him with a metal object (shovel) in the face and head nearly killing him.. Let me guess not a hate crime… Yes alll them we’re hate crimes.. So before you go talking all this hatred y’all might need to study your facts, every town has hate crimes it’s just them two counties are always being used in media, and compared against.. When all you attention seekers need to let the past go, and let the punishment that was giving be the end of the story, and let the victims and there family’s rest and not always reminded..So for you all that doesn’t know what your talking about or don’t wanna mention your race wrong doing.. Quit seeking some sympathy from others and judging from what you hear.. Further more this missing Alfred Wright, as far as I have read and researched no one knows were he is are what happen to him, so we’re does racism even come in play, when as far as I see he was do for federal indictment in Tennessee for theft or embezzlement around the same time he had disappeared, so I believe the family of Alfred wright either knows more than there showing and making a big issue out of it to cover his and there tracks, or he didn’t love and care for them as equal as they did for him.. So for all y’all that are quick to talk down on that small Texas town known as Hemphill pop. 1106 until you been there and visited and experienced that quite beautiful town. Please don’t call it a racial place or call the citizens in it prejudice.. Cause I’m from there and know the majority of the families of both races, and I’m telling you and everyone else that believes and thinks they know so much about Us there, your dumb or clueless.. The ones that holler it’s race crime or usually the same ones that call the other race names under there breath, just cause your prejudice doesn’t make Us all.. So read up on your facts and tell all the stories that had took place in the town your speaking of that had to do with race violence, not the stories to make your race look like the victims.. That’s just two stories of each race and the same two towns that are mentioned as being prejudice counties.. So no it’s not Us whites that are prejudice it just certain people in each race that’s that way..

    • rt-hoop

      It seem that you may have a little animosity toward blacks. I am a 52 yr. old black woman who’s mother was raised and born in Jasper Texas. And before there was a James Byrd or Alfred Wright story or any of the other stories for that matter, there was stories about Jasper Texas. In my childhood days my parents and cousins parents would pack us up and ship us to Jasper for the whole summer. I can remember my grandparents going to what they would say up town to trade eggs and vegetables that they grew in their garden, and we meaning my cousins and I would ask if we could tag along. I didn’t know at the time why we could never go in town along with our grandparents, but later as I got older it became apparent why my grands did not want us to go in town. My cousins and I would lay under the house and listens to the stories that our grands talked about while they seat on the porch, on how their people came up missing or where founded in the woods hanged by the neck, just for walking home from work. It was said by my people in Jasper Texas if people came to Jasper and really investigated they would find a whole lot of dead bones in those back woods. I am an aire to a hundred acres in Jasper Texas and I would never consider staying in Jasper because of those reasons. Whether or not people are willing to admit there is a serious problem going on in Jasper Texas, it needs to stop. This is 2013, and if we as a whole, want to say that we have come a long ways, then history needs to stop repeating itself. And by the way, we as blacks are not seeking sympathy from anyone, we are just asking for equality, nothing you wouldn’t ask for yourself.

      • Richard hopson

        Ma’am I’m far from prejudice or have a problem with blacks.. I just wish that everyone would get on track, this is 2013 going on 14 and all I hear is sarcasm or racist comments from all races.. I believe the finger needs to quite pointing towards the other race, the world isn’t gonna stop turning behind the hate, nor is it going to make peace.. I hear crackers, or them white folks, always the people in the judicial system out to get them.. That’s not true at all, the punishment of the crime being committed is what got you in all that trouble, not them white folks.. I get aggravated when it’s racist to say the N word, but we can be called every name degradable to our race.. And it’s cool, cause of how our Incestors was thought 60+years ago and longer.. The sooner these uneducated confused ppl realize that code has been broken and disregarded ( blacks and whites) now everyone get in gear it’s equal for all, no favors, no separation or seragation.. Either stand and clear it up with your race like we do with ours.. Words are just letters matched to spell a word, there harmless and men made, If I’m disrespected or called anything other than my name or spoken to with manners and respect, I feel like them words that are pointed to the white race. That were mentioned above or some what a hatred or prejudice feeling towards our race..When I came across several in all races that doesn’t even know our history of slavery, or that farmers purchased slaves from there culture, and country, wasn’t like we rounded them up on cattle drives, there on people sold them out, and there were just as many if not more white slaves during all this time of history..SO QUIT BLAMING THE WORLD for our Incestors decisions and chooses. I believe in fairness, not favortism. If you gonna tell a story atleast mention all the similar story’s that involve the person, place, or thing in the story being told,Ma’am again I’m not racist towards anyone, but don’t let them be racist towards me or about my race..Respects earned not giving.My best friend is black, we been friends since middle school, and I’m one of the few that will go to there reunions and get togethers..I think a lot of words and meanings have caused conflict for generations, now any word that offends the other is a hate or race conflict.Wake Up America,, We Have A Colored President..So who cares what the next person does, as long as it’s not under your roof..

        • politicsreason

          “Hopson” is a shining example of blind, arrogant ignorant assholeness.

        • John Rothgeb

          Resent blacks and equality a little? You’re probably not all that good with a woman boss either I would imagine (though I hope I’m wrong about that). I laugh and happily tell folks when the mention “cracker” that I much prefer “honky”, though “white devil” will do too. Names really cannot hurt me because though my pasty pink blotchy skin isn’t near as attractive as beautiful mahogany or caramel skin and not as resistant to the sun, I have most of the advantages of my group which holds most societal power – education, nice low crime neighborhoods and plenty of financial perks and avenues to advance. That is just the way it is and the way it will be for quite a long time because you can’t erase the results of centuries of oppression in a decade or even a half a century (especially when it is being fought tooth and nail), but we have made strides and the work continues. Denying there is racism still and arguing that we are post-racial is just silly and blind. Electing Obama was a step, but it didn’t magically fix racism. There is lots more work to do. Do yourself a favor and read “The New Jim Crow” and then come back and talk about this. Besides, race is just a silly stupid, nasty social construct and has no basis in biology. The sooner we get over it (and get completely all mixed up) the better off we will be. We should regard skin color like we do hair and eye color, as an interesting anomaly and makes the world more colorful and better. BTW, there actually is “black racism” but it is against blacks mostly in considering those who are darker not as good as those with lighter skin and especially those who “can pass” or are “high yaller”. Black racism has little if anything to do with white people – what you think if as racism is mostly justifiable (if not smart) resentment.

      • Richard hopson

        Hey Ma’am couldn’t help but to steady think of them hundred acres your to aire, would you be willing to sell all hundred or divide it up..either way I’m interested if the cost is right.. Thank you and god bless you

        • stevemcqueen

          married to a white women. killed while stranded near Jasper, Texas. you have to be pretty stupid to suspect anything other than murder and foul play. but i guess if you live in Texas or near that part of town you must be an idiot or just plane ole white trash, like the KKK. So to you Mr. Hopson ( you piece of white trash), I hope you have an innocent family member murdered by some hateful person of color so you can understand just a little bit of what it is like to be black in this country. reading your comments and listening to your thoughts makes me sick. hope you get yours in the end. judgement day is coming for all you devils out there.

      • Throwupandoff

        We’ll said….

    • John Rothgeb

      Just because you don’t use the N-word doesn’t mean you aren’t prejudiced. Racism has to do with what group holds power in a community, how that power is wielded and how institutional power is used to keep certain groups from improving their position. I mean there is still a strong contingent of people who consider blacks in the mainstream who have positions of authority and power or with ambition as “uppity” and out of their place, while that attitude is almost never take against whites (or even Latinos or Asians). Deny it if you will, but I think I’ll believe my “lying eyes” first. American history supports the conclusion that there has been rampant racism against Blacks, Latinos and Asians throughout our history and that a considerable amount continues, though it is well hidden and often institutionalized. Just the incarceration rates (35% of inmates are black males who make up about 6% of the population and use drugs and are violent at a similar rate to white in most studies, not 7X more) show that we police and incarcerate in a racist fashion. Crack vs. powder cocaine laws had a strong racial component.

      You are right that not all white on black violence is a hate crime, and probably some black on white violence is a hate crime too, but how to you separate justifiable resentment and hate from being oppressed for CENTURIES with racism? I submit that you can’t and therefore it is virtually impossible to define “black racism” in the USA. Now there might be a bit of it in Africa, but with with the white European history in Sub-Saharan Africa it would also be very difficult to fine and define true “black racism”.

  • Delmon Kelly Tex Keller

    Why don’t we ever hear any more about Ken Bimbo Tillery.He was given a ride in jasper texas from three black men and one black woman and later beaten to death and ran over by them and drug for 60 yards.Guess it just isn’t news worthy enough for the media and politions to het involved.

  • Delmon Kelly Tex Keller

    I forgot to mention Ken Bimbo Tillery was WHITE.

  • one way

    Sadly, I’m just hearing this story. My sympathies and prayers to all.

  • TinTexas

    Sadly I believe that in this case here. Being that drugs were found in this young mans body. That he is another victim not one of race , nor of hate , but one of substance abuse . In which there is NO prejudice of the color of ones skin. Sadly his loved ones may not want to admit he had a problem. And may want to try to attach fault elsewhere.

    But in the chance that foul play was truly involved I sure do hope for the family sake they come to closure in their hearts about this issue. Prayers and condolences to the family either way for the loss of a love one.

    • Gerald Hastings

      That’s what the examiner said. They need to exhume the body and have an independent examiner for somewhere far from Texas do the test. He had a beautiful white wife. That’s reason enough for some racist bone head to kill him.

    • Charlotte peters

      How can u say its substance abuse? Did he get high and slash his neck and cut his ear off this is crazy. I think this young man was murdered. This young man did not have a chance against the evil in this world. I am from Hemphill and my co-worker is from jasper and we now live and work in the houston area. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and by the way I’m white and she is black and love each other very much. It’s time as has been said its time we set aside our differences. God created the human race and does not love any race any other than the other one .

      • Sasha Asdourian

        Charlotte you need to Google bath salts and self-mutilation. Several people have sliced their own throats and cut off body parts under the drug’s effect. Users strip naked b/c of the increase in body temperature and become highly paranoid. Wright’s own wife admitted he may have been taking the drug?

        • lugnut

          Where is the knife? If no knife was found close to his body, the drug story is just that, a story.

        • Throwupandoff

          No lady…that’s what Maddox said she said….

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Once again, if Maddox is involved in some kind of conspiracy to murder Wright, why would he go through all of this trouble? There’s several easier ways than a) requesting a warrant for Wright’s arrest based on a complete fabrication, b) rigging his car so it breaks down exactly in a deserted area, c) somehow knowing that Wright would call his parents for a ride, but then run away from the car so they could have him alone with no witnesses? Maybe the cops are covering up for someone, but it would be after the fact to make sense.

          • Throwupandoff

            Trouble? Arrest for what fabrication? Being that his daughter is in charge of scheduling for the PTs somehow gives Maddox an advantage..you think..

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Yes trouble. If the cops wanted Wright dead they could have much more easily made him disappear for good…no body. He was under indictment and it would have been easier to claim him as a fugitive. Why go through all of the fuss and leave a body as evidence?

    • lugnut

      So he cut off his ear, peeled his own face off, cut his own throat? Tell me in what order do you think either of these things were done, before he killed himself? Cut his throat, that would kill him, or did he pull off his own face before he cut his throat? I didn’t hear a word about a knife being found near his body or anyplace else. Do you think he cut his ear off, cut his throat, leave the knife behind somewhere in the woods and while bleeding out from his neck, was able to peel his own face off? I know a lot about drugs, and i know all that drug stuff is total BS, especially doing all that stuff to yourself. There are no magical negros.

      • Sasha Asdourian

        Why does it need to be a knife? You obviously didn’t Google bath salts and self-mutilation or all of your answers would have been answered. They didn’t say the cut throat is what caused his death. Plenty of people get their throats cut and live. You obviously don’t know much about the drug bath salts, because yes, people actually do all of that “stuff” to themselves and others.

        • lugnut

          What did he cut his throat with, considering it has been reported the cut to the throat was slit (in a straight line) not torn? The second medical examiner said nothing about any drugs in his system. You can find whether a person used drugs by examining the organs and flesh. It surely wouldn’t have disappeared since the first exam, because upon death, the body stops all process and the drugs could easily be found. The first examiner said he saw shallow puncture marks, but he missed all the other things, big things like a missing ear, Missing teeth, tongue, cut throat, head trauma? Seems to me, the first examiner was trying to make the sheriff’s story match. There was also nothing about there being blood at the scene of the body. Sheriffs know how to stage a drug snitch hit. By cutting off ear and tongue and placing a dime next to his body. They have yet to find anyone who say he was on drugs. Even his wife in a second interview, said he didn’t do drugs. One of the top examiners in Texas, said it was a homicide and was very disappointed in the first examiners results and lack thereof.

          • Sasha Asdourian

            I agree with you…if this was foul play, then it was most likely a snitch murder for him to keep his mouth shut and they should be looking at co-conspirators. Maybe he was going to give up his drug partners in order to get out of his embezzlement charges?

            Either way, this guy was not a squeaky clean citizen. Yes, we all make mistakes and nobody deserves to be killed, but I don’t believe this is a redneck, racial killing that some are trying to make it. Stealing money and doing drugs is not unheard of, but when you get involved in such stuff, the authorities aren’t as quick to help you or your family in times of need. They tend to save their limited resources for people who are upstanding citizens…and rightfully so.

          • Throwupandoff

            How did you get soooooo smart!!

          • John Rothgeb

            If? IF? Really? And now you go an blame the victim with “Either way, this guy was not a squeaky clean citizen.” I don’t know where you are from but you either don’t know Texas and in particular East Texas or you are an apologist for racists and the KKK. So police should only help those they consider “squeaky clean”? Isn’t that guilty until proven innocent? That is one tactic of Jim Crow that has been used for over 100 years. Enforce the “law” in the minority section of town, pop the residents for anything and everything they do and don’t do and then you can blame the lack of service and protection on them because they aren’t “squeaky clean”. It’s their own damn fault.

            The racists don’t use the N-word anymore (mostly, but some are stupid and still do it) and they don’t say “Boy”, but the racism is deeply entrenched and very resentful that they can’t use the N-word, burn crosses openly protected by the sheriff and police and even lynch when they feel like it. The numbers are smaller, but it is far from gone and the institutional racism is far from being even started to be address. I have many friends from Vidor, Sabine County, East Texas and other places like East Munroe LA who can tell you stories that would curl your hair from not so many years ago. You are both ignorant and hateful about the conditions in far East rural Texas. Educate yourself lady.

        • veronica presley

          I guess he cut out his own tongue as
          well. Apparently, you haven’t heard all the facts in this case. You should read
          the facts on Radar Online website. Thank God the family has the intelligence to
          seek justice outside of Jasper because they certainly won’t find it there. It is insane to believe that he inflicted that
          much pain on himself. If he was so stressed out and wanted to die, he could have
          just taken a bunch of pills or shot himself. Why would he want to die a slow
          death by his own hands. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t squeaky clean, none of
          us are. But he didn’t deserve what happened to him, and the But he didn’t
          deserve what happened to him, and the criminals need to
          be punished for what they did. I have read several accounts of what
          happened, where did you read where his wife said he was a drug user? Even
          that doesn’t matter, no amount or type of drugs will cause you harm
          yourself like that.

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Once again Veronica, please Google bath salts and self-mutilation and you will understand how people harm themselves like that.

            Here’s a few headlines…A MS man skinned himself alive, a NJ man stabbed himself multiple times and then threw his own intestines at officers, the stories of violence, self-mutilation and cannibalism are many.

            As far as where did I read about his wife saying he was taking something, go to KLTV website. Wright’s family hired a private investigator named Chuck Foreman. The man initially believed Wright’s death was foul play until he started investigating.

            Federal court documents filed with the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office indicates Wright’s wife told deputies that Wright may be using an unknown substance causing him to be paranoid.

          • Throwupandoff

            Do you know what cannibalism is….it’s when humans eat other humans..do you know what humans are? Go get educated…….

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Um, I am. Why don’t you get educated and research bath salts and cannibalism…it’s only a few key punches away. But I guess that’s too much work for ya. You’d rather come on here and attack people. Great minds talk about ideas, average people talk about things and small-minded people talk about other people. Put that in your pipe and smoke it ;)

          • John Rothgeb

            Once again Sasha, please Google East Texas and Racism. It is a common tactic of dirty police and racists to tar any minority with drug use and just account for any consequences as the result of that drug use. When dealing with East Texas and many other places with known and proven histories of rampant and institutionalized racism one has to be extremely skeptical of victims being accused of drug use and all their actions being attributed to that. People don’t just drive up to a store in-between appointments and run away into the woods to self mutilate and strip themselves mostly naked, especially when they are black in East Texas. This story stinks a mile high and eventually the truth will come out. It is highly unlikely it has much to do with “bath salts” or self mutilation. That much I can guarantee you.

        • Throwupandoff

          Do you know who started the bath salts rumor?

          • Sasha Asdourian

            If Wright was not taking bath salts and documents concerning Wright’s use were filed as federal court documents for a warrant, then the DOJ will have a field day with the sheriff’s dept. If the sheriff, or anybody he knew wanted Wright dead, I’m sure it would have been done much easier without a federal paper trail. They’d just kill him dear. So who else would have motive to start such a rumor?

          • Throwupandoff

            Who documented the papers…the sheriff did..dear…

          • Sasha Asdourian

            You’re missing the gist of my whole point…if Maddox had a hand in Wright’s death there wouldn’t be any papers. Your point is moot.

          • John Rothgeb

            Again, you don’t know East Texas and the good ole’ boys and racists. They are sadistic bullies and these killings often just start off as some “good old fashioned fun” and escalate into torture and murder in a rather unintended and unplanned way. Kind of blood lust takes over. I’ve seen it enough times when it did get out of hand, but didn’t get all the way to murder or hospitalization. Then they have to cover up. Oh, and many of them aren’t the brightest bulbs in the sockets and they aren’t well educated for the most part either so sometimes ya just cain’t fix stupid.

        • Throwupandoff

          So…any ides on what was used to cut his throat? Sorry dear, but most people with a cut throat usually die pretty fast…go to school…..

          • Sasha Asdourian

            I didn’t need to go to school to learn that one. My good friend in high school was violently raped as an 8 year old girl. The assailant slit her throat from ear-to-ear after he was finished. She crawled over a mile to get to a house. She LIVED. Oh my!

          • Throwupandoff

            Really

          • Sasha Asdourian

            To bring sarcasm into such a reply concerning the story proves that you are merely making this an ad hominem attack. Keep calm and carry on. I will not be playing with you anymore :)

      • Sasha Asdourian

        If his own wife didn’t say he might be on the stuff I’d be very hesitant to believe the investigators, but she’s the one that said it and why a warrant was issued for his arrest. The guy was under a lot of stress w/ his bank embezzlement charges and an arrest warrant for him. That stress compounded with the stress of being stranded could easily trigger a “bad high.” It’s not magic, but well-documented effects of bath salts. We have to wait for the toxicology report, but I believe that came out already and bath salts were indeed found in his system. Even if it wasn’t bath salts, who’s to say one of his co-conspirators didn’t kill him to keep him quiet about the embezzlement situation. Why is everybody so quick to look for a racial attack? Wright was far from being clean as a whistle.

        • lugnut

          There is always a possibility race wasn’t involved. But my experiences growing up in 1950s Mississippi leads me to race. It got to a point, it’s like a 6th and 7th sense. Hope it’s not. But the Sheriff is involved in his death for sure. And i think it involved Wright and his daughter who said she didn’t know Wright, now we know she was a friend of his. Why would a friend do this, if it wasn’t to cover for someone closer, her father?

        • Throwupandoff

          Lord woman…he was so stressed out that he continued to work and was fulfilling his obligations..depressed people can’t do that . Who’s to say the drugs weren’t administered intravenously after he was captured. How does one cut his throat, peel his face and poke his eyes out then live long enough to cut his tongue out and then cut his ear off…please..where is your logic?

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Here’s what I did go to school for…depression does not have a root cause, neither does anxiety. Wright would have been sad and anxious, but he knew why. That’s not clinical, that’s called life. When you make bad and criminal choices and it comes time to pay the piper, you’re supposed to feel sad and anxious. When you don’t know why you’re feeling that way and there’s no reasons…that’s clinical. Please read about the man in MS who skinned himself alive and the man in NJ who stabbed himself multiple times and threw his own intestines at officers when they showed up.

          • Throwupandoff

            You have a medical degree of some sort? You need to get the whole story about the embezzlement charges. They were nothing other than accusations that involved a very small amount of money..he easily could prove his innocence. Did it ever occur to you that you really don’t know what you are talking about?

          • Sasha Asdourian

            Oh excuse me and where is your degree from?

          • Sasha Asdourian

            This is a forum of opinion not fact dear. I am neither professing to be a medical professional or an investigator.

    • Throwupandoff

      Things aren’t always the way they seem. Some things are placed into motion (staged) for publics interpretation. You’ve heard it before ‘ the power of suggestion’. Think about who started the suggestion of drug use…….

      • Skimo1

        Some of the earliest suggestions of drug use came from the Wright family’s private investigator Chuck Foreman, who said Alfred was believed to be using bath salts, and from Alfred’s wife who said he had been using a substance that was making him paranoid.

  • Rae Anne

    It amazes me how white America continues to be in a state of denial about race. This young black man was murdered!! I am outraged that once again a black man is killed and the police department call off the search in just four days. Now if this was some blonde haired, blue eyed person all the stops would have been pulled and I’m positive a search would have gone on much longer than four days. Someone saw something!!! A black man goes MIA and not one person saw a thing. Really??? Cameras were at the store. But where is the footage?? My heart goes out to his family. May they find justice for the black man who was killed simply because of the color of his skin.

    • GorillaNation

      I’m saddened at the death of this man.
      But stop acting like it’s white people who are racist only, or worse, who commit racist crimes.

      For every one black person killed by a white person, there are MANY MORE WHITES killed by BLACK MEN.
      That’s proven time and time again.

      And interracial rapes?
      Don’t even start….. that’s about 150-1 that ratio.
      You probably can’t find a single black woman who was raped by a white man if you search.
      But almost any college, there are many white girls who have been raped by bruthas.
      Anne Pressley, Eve Carson, Lauren Burke….. tons of cases like them.
      And the Wichita Massacre, Knoxville Murders, etc.
      So as sad as I am about this case, and pizzed off at some coverup, these are the exceptions.
      See Detroit, Philly, Baltimore, St Louis, Houston, etc.

  • shaunthebrummie

    this may be the start of the reaction to the obama/black led anti white crime spree..how many whites have been murdered with nary a word..one black mysteriously dies and all hell breaks loose..if we had segregation of the races..this may not have happened..but a lot of white women would not end up raped or murdered…and white means white in a segregated society..part white is not white and neither are hispanics..jews or muslims….

  • Paramount

    Let’s be honest. The texan good’ol boys murdered him for having a white wife and mixed kids with her. They tortured him first for having defiled one of their precious white women with his penis and his seed. After they were done they bled him out and moved on to make it look like a drug thing – “He’s black, let’s make it look like drugs were the cause – it will stick – he’s black afterall”….I know NO ONE ever wants to say it’s racism but honestly PHUCK those people….You would never dare say anything to a jewish person calling something anti-semite…NEVER would that happen…Yet black people aren’t allowed to call something THAT IS BLATANTLY racist – racist because then they’re just using “the card”….Black people – when you see something racist – CALL IT OUT and don’t be scared to do so. You’d never hear people saying jewish people are “pulling the card” if they call someone or something anti-semite…

  • lugnut

    So it’s not about race, but some of the land owners wouldn’t allow the serach party on their property? Which means a black life isn’t important enough to allow people to even search on their property. When and where have you ever heard that happening. His family and others regular citizens found their son, but the cops couldn’t? BS!!!!

    • Sasha Asdourian

      He was under indictment for embezzlement. I’m sure the cops thought he was faking his disappearance to escape prosecution…it’s not the first time it’s happened. Many people don’t want cops on their land…has nothing to do with the skin color of the missing person?

      • lugnut

        Just found out yesterday the Sheriff lied to the family, when he told them the land owners denied him entrance. The landowner said the sheriff never asked. Also this sheriff has lied on several other Occasions during this investigation and search.

        • Sasha Asdourian

          That’s what many police officers do…lie. It doesn’t remove the fact that his wife said he was taking a drug to give him energy and that drugs were found in his system. He suffered a strange and horrific death, but that’s what is known to happen on bath salts. I can guarantee the sheriff’s dept didn’t put 100% into finding this man…but not because he was Black, but because he was on bond and had a warrant out for his arrest. I wouldn’t put 100% of my resources and budget into a search party for someone with such a background either. It’s not suspicious, but logical. It’s a sad situation and my heart goes out to his family, but I’m not convinced there’s any type of foul play or coverup.

        • Throwupandoff

          You are correct lug nut…he never ask…wonder why…think maybe he needed a little time and no witnesses when they ( the brotherhood) placed Alfred’s body..does look like they would have been a little more creative in that area. They underestimated the family….

      • Throwupandoff

        At a time like that dear, it does not matter what the land owner wants…if he denied that right to law enforcement it would be called obstructing justice….and he would be arrested..

        • Sasha Asdourian

          Well smarty pants, a missing person’s search is not a warrant and without definitive proof that the landowner was either involved in the disappearance or evidence that the missing person was on the property, no judge would issue a warrant. Go read your Constitution dear…yes, it actually still exists.

      • John Rothgeb

        In East Texas? Get real dearie. It is possible, but not likely that it had nothing to do with racism due to the very odd circumstances and all the inconsistencies in autopsies and stories. Apply the duck test – If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, …

    • Throwupandoff

      Maybe that the Sheriff has plenty to hide….

  • lugnut

    God help those who help themselves, not just the ones always on their knees praying.

  • lugnut

    I am not praying anymore, black people have been praying for over the 450 years we have been in this country. Get off your knees, because God help those who help themselves. Earn respect whether people like you or not. I personally nolonger care whether they hate us. Ah where is the knife? It should have been close to the body right. I guess he cut his throat and ear off with his fingers?

    • Throwupandoff

      You go….

  • Throwupandoff

    How can it be that Alfred’s wife could hear Alfred in some form of respiratory distress when the clerk said he closed his phone and placed it in his sock and started running. Alfred’s wife would not be able to hear his breathing with the phone closed and around his ankle. Not possible. So, why would the clerk say an untruth? The clerk would have to have a pretty good birds eye view to see that. Isn’t it rather strange too after running through the deep thickets, knocking a barbered wire fence down , which by the way, the wire managed to tear off a perfectly square piece of fabric that looked like had been cut out with scissors, and he still have the sock on after all of that , and low and behold, the phone magically stayed in place? So, all that running tore one sock off and not the other.? Really..how does one run through the thorny under brush and still have clean and un-torn shoes on? Can one man break a fence post and not be bruised? How is it possible that one man hit a barbed wire fence and hard enough to break the post and not have torn skin? Maybe two or three men hitting a fence at the same time could break a post but I doubt that one could accomplish that….
    Maybe Alfred discovered some form of illegal activity from the local authorities. Perhaps Alfred had been warned to keep quiet about what he had learned. Is it possible that Alfred knew he was being followed and harassed ? Think its possible this is the reason he had so much trouble that week with his truck? Maybe this is why the deputy from Sabine co. Sheriffs department conveniently shows up at the liquor store that very same time and wearing a pink t-shirt that read “Narcotics” on the front of it. Could that have been Alfred’s last silent warning? Is this what instilled such fear in him that he panicked and ran? What do you think?

    • John Rothgeb

      In East Texas there doesn’t have to be a reason, just in the wrong place at the wrong time…. and the wrong color (or not from around here is almost as bad).

    • Skimo1

      Ridiculous. When I’ve had no pockets I’ve also put my cellphone in my sock. And guess what I do when someone calls me and the phone rings, as happened when Alfred’s wife called him back. I take the phone out of my sock and answer it, which is most likely exactly what Alfred did after he put his phone in his sock, took off jogging away, and then his wife called back. Nothing mysterious or sinister about that at all. When I’m done with the call I put the phone back in my sock. A man’s sock is not a one-way vault that swallows up phones and leaves them unavailable to be answered.