Wednesday, December 28, 2011

KXAS/Channel 5 Segment re: Unidentified Photos

"Disappearance Case Reopened: Carrollton police reopen a case in which two women disappeared."

By Sara Story, Denton Reporter

The Carrollton Police Department is are asking for the public's help in solving a case that happened more than 20 years ago.

Two teenage girls, Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley, vanished in March 1988. Their disappearance remains a mystery.

Sgt. Joel Payne said investigators reopened the case two years ago, following up on every lead.

"You get to know these girls and realize that these are very typical, late '80s teenagers, getting ready to graduate high school and go to college," Payne said. "We could paper the building with the number of leads and information that came in, but unfortunately, nothing led to a conclusion."

Police said a group of pictures could be the missing piece to this puzzle.

"We are down to a last grouping of things that really don't make any sense to us, and this [the photos] is one of them," Payne said. "Who are these people? They may be nobody significant, but we would like to talk to them."

Authorities are not calling the men in the photos suspects, simply people they need to identify and talk to.

"These people knew these girls, and they knew them relatively close to when they disappeared," Payne said.

He's asking anyone who thinks the people in the photos look familiar to contact the Carrollton Police Department.

"I am convinced somebody out there knows what happened to these girls," Payne said.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Do you recognize these faces?

The Carrollton Police Department is requesting assistance in identifying the persons in these five photos. These individuals are potential witnesses, who are believed to be friends or acquaintances of Stacie Madison and/or Susan Smalley. If you recognize any of them, please contact Sgt. Joel Payne at 972-466-3321, or me at 972-889-0861 or  Thanks!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"America's Most Wanted" canceled after 23 years

Lamenting the cancellation of America's Most Wanted, which has served the greater good for more than two decades.

Acknowledging the retirement of Robert Hembree

Just taking a minute to commemorate the retirement of Robert Hembree, a longtime biology teacher at Newman Smith High School who was gracious enough to be interviewed for This Night Wounds Time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A note of appreciation in return...

In February of this year, I was invited by Karen Forte, an English teacher at R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas, to speak to her Senior English classes about the Madison/Smalley case.

Stacie Madison and Susan Smalley were 17 and 18 years old, respectively, when they disappeared in 1988 - the same age as Ms. Forte's students. And I definitely appreciated being afforded the opportunity to discuss the Madison/Smalley case with people within this particular age range.

Ms. Forte's students proved to be an excellent audience, and both classes presented me with questions that demonstrated that the story of the girls' disappearance definitely made an impression on them.

A week or so following my speech, I received a packet in the mail from Ms. Forte containing some very gracious thank you notes.

Among the kind words contained within them was one student's statement that hearing about the case had "really sparked an interest" and "fired up" their "detective bone" and made them wish they could "help solve this mystery."

Another note included the words, "I hope the case is solved." Many students concurred with this sentiment, and one added that they hoped resolution might "end the sadness that's continued for so many years."

"I think it is good," observed one student, "to tell kids our age that something like this could still happen."

And another said they were moved by the way in which Carrollton (both the authorities and individuals) have rallied since 2009 in an effort to solve the mystery of the girls' disappearance and were "glad to know that there are people out there that care about people."

My thanks to both of Ms. Forte's classes for their interest in the Madison/Smalley case and their generous words of support.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Today is Saturday, March 19, 2011.

23 years ago today was also a Saturday - Saturday, March 19, 1988.

Readers of This Night Wounds Time may recall that Susan Smalley's mother is quoted on Page 107 of that book as saying, "I always look at March 19th as the day Susan disappeared, as this was the last day I saw her."

Our prayers and good wishes go out to the Madison and Smalley families today and every other day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Update re: Chapter 17 of "This Night Wounds Time"

As the readers of This Night Wounds Time may know, the individual identified as "Jason Lawton" in Chapter 17 of the book was the subject of a criminal investigation in a state other than Texas in 2010.

That investigation, wholly unrelated to the March 20, 1988 disappearance of Stacie Madison and Susan Smally, resulted in "Lawton" being charged in September 2010 with multiple counts of physical and sexual abuse.

This case was set to go to trial on Monday, February 28, 2011.

Under the American system of justice, one is innocent until proven guilty, and it must be noted that the charges against "Lawton" were dismissed on Friday, February 25, 2011. The charges that were dismissed are as follows:

* Two counts of criminal abuse, first degree, with a child under 12 years of age;
* Three counts of wanton endangerment, first degree;
* One count of assault, second degree;
* One count of terroristic threatening, third degree;
* One count of distributing obscene material to minors, first offense;
* Three counts of indecent exposure, first degree, first offense; and
* One count of intimidating a participant in a legal process.

Insofar as is known, a domestic violence charge brought against "Lawton" in 2010 by his fourth wife remains pending as of this writing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1958 missing persons case with ties to Carrollton, Texas

In the preface to This Night Wounds Time, I write, "The equation is a simple one: solved mysteries are revisited by the media ad nauseam while cold cases - the ones truly needing exposure - languish." Therefore, doing my part to promote other cold cases, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to a story featured in the January 29, 2011 edition of The Dallas Morning News, which tells the story of Myrisha Faye Campbell and A.J. Campbell, Jr., two children missing since 1958:

For additional information, see:!/group.php?gid=262909358233

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Those who are alive receive a mandate from those who are silent forever. They can fulfill their duties only by trying to reconstruct precisely things as they were and by wresting the past from fictions and legends."

- Czeslaw Milosz, accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The top 10 stories of 2010 in Carrollton

The article "Reconnecting can lead to connection in case" by James Roth, which was originally published on July 16, 2010 in The Carrollton Leader, was recently included among that newspaper's "The top 10 stories of 2010 in Carrollton."

Mr. Roth's article may be accessed at