The criminal case against Columbia Packing and the Ondruseks, aka the Trinity River pig blood guys, sure seems like it should have been a slam dunk. How could investigators possibly botch a case in which there is literally a trail of blood leading directly to the suspected culprits?
By trespassing, that's how.
Citing multiple sources, a WFAA quadruple team of Jason Whitely, Tanya Eiserer, Rebecca Lopez and Jason Trahan reports that a Dallas County Health and Human Services investigator inadvertently wandered onto Columbia property as he waded through Cedar Creek and snapped pictures in December 2011. (Now that we look, D's Tim Rogers scooped them by a week, though WFAA can be forgiven for not checking his work in the Frontburner comments section.)
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That would have been no big deal if he'd had a warrant, but he didn't. The fact that some of the earliest evidence was illegally obtained was apparently enough to persuade District Attorney Craig Watkins' office to drop the 30 felony charges against Columbia and two vice presidents, cousins Joseph and Carl Ondrusek.
Still lots of questions here, such as: You only discovered this after spending two-and-a-half years, thousands of dollars and who knows how many man-hours investigating? And: Really? Not even with a trail of blood?
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.