Gladewater family needs help solving cold case murder

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas family is begging for your help to solve their son's murder case. Joseph Michael Douglas, 20, of Gladewater was shot and killed four years ago. His body was discovered off of County Road 106 near New London in May of 2006. Rusk County investigators say he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Douglas left behind two children. Dylan and Cecilia are now nine and 10 years old, growing up without their father. Douglas' mother Gale, step-brother, and two young sisters are also still suffering.

"[There are] lots of unanswered questions," said Gale Thompson, Joe's mother.  "Just like my daughters, Joe's sisters, 'Momma why would anybody want to hurt Joe?' 'I don't know. I don't know, Honey. I guess there's bad people in the world.'"

Gale says Joe never hurt anyone but himself. She says he got mixed up with drugs and alcohol but was well liked and never knew any enemies. She remembers the last time she saw him.

"He gave me a big hug and he said, 'Mom, I'm so sorry I worry you.' And I said, 'You just take care of you, Joe.'"

But a week later, he went missing.

"I kept calling saying, 'Has anybody seen Joe?' No, nobody had seen him."

Then on May 2nd, 2006, law enforcement called. It was the worst news a parent can receive.

"A gentleman was out riding his four wheeler this morning and found a dead body," Gale said they told her.

Lieutenant Charles Helton has been working on the case since day one and keeps it close at heart. He says they do have persons of interest.

Gale just wants the mystery solved so her family can have a little peace, once and for all.

"Somebody else losing their life, that's not what I'm looking for at all," she said. "That's not going to help. That's not going to bring Joe back, but I would like somebody to have to look at me and answer to me because, like I often say, they're breathing air and he's not."

Even the tiniest detail could be what investigators need to crack the cold case.

Originally, a New London couple was arrested in connection to Joe Douglas' murder but they were released and never convicted.

If you have any information on this case, contact the Rusk County Sheriff's Department.

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