Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Commitment to justice is appreciated
Murder is a horrible crime that shatters many lives. Family members and friends of the victim are left feeling helpless and torn and members of law enforcement are left to pick up the pieces.
One murder in DeWitt County went unsolved for more than a decade before an investigator's determination and the help of a national reality TV show helped solve the case. In 2001, Pamela Shelly died in her rural DeWitt County home from a gunshot wound.
At the time, the death was ruled a suicide, but in 2008, Carl Bowen, an investigator who was a patrol deputy who responded to the scene in 2001, asked for the case to be reopened.
We are glad to see justice has been served in Shelly's case, and we are grateful to the investigators in the TNT "Cold Justice" series who helped solve the crime. Now, Shelly's boyfriend, Ronnie Joe Hendrick, 42, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. We are glad they were able to bring an outside perspective and help reach the correct conclusion.
But most of all, we applaud Bowen for his commitment to solving this case and his efforts to reopen the investigation after seven years. His insistence on re-examining the case has made all of the resulting events possible. Murders are terrible crimes that no one wants to happen, but when they do, we are glad to know there are law enforcement officers out there who are committed to finding out the truth and ensuring that justice is served.
We thank Bowen for his work in the Shelly case and for choosing to look at the case again instead of letting the original assumption remain. Your work has brought closure to Shelly's family, and we are proud to see such an excellent officer serving in our area.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.