When police officers raided former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams' Seagoville storage shed earlier this month, amongst the guns and other items they found a white, four-door Ford Crown Victoria that they were pretty sure had been the getaway car in the March 30 murder of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.
The car, however, didn't match the description of one seen leaving the scene of assistant DA Mark Hasse's murder on January 31, which Williams is also charged with. That had been silver and looked like a Taurus, not a Crown Vic. In other words, a key piece of evidence was missing.
Authorities now think they've found the missing car, actually a 2001 Mercury Sable, as various media outlets are reporting. It was discovered not at the bottom of a lake or burned out and abandoned deep in the woods. It had been towed from the storage facility officers would eventually raid.
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Court documents obtained by the Morning News' Tanya Eiserer describe the search for the car.
Authorities began their search after discovering that Williams had used a county Lexis-Nexis account to run a search on the Sable's license plate on January 27, four days before Hasse's murder. That led them to the car's registered owner, a woman who had sold the car on Craigslist in February 2010 but apparently never notified the state. She received a call from a towing company on March 7 informing her that the vehicle had been towed from Gibson Self Storage.
The storage company's owner told police that the car hadn't moved since late February, right around the time Williams is believed to have purchased the Crown Vic under a fake name. Authorities believe Williams began parking the Crown Vic in the storage unit, parking the Sable outside.
The Hasse investigation would have been made much easier if storage company employees had made the connection between the silver, decade-old sedan abandoned outside one of their units and the silver, decade-old sedan used in a high-profile murder a dozen miles away, but they didn't, so it's only now that officials can begin searching the car for latent fingerprints and other evidence.