Skeletal remains found more than three months ago in San Augustine County have been identified as those of a woman missing since 2006.

“Coleman had last been seen in Cherokee County on July 3, 2006, and was 31 years of age at the time of her disappearance,” according to a press release from the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office. “The investigation into Coleman’s death is being continued by the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.”

On March 12, a forester conducting a survey on private land managed by a timber company found a human skull near FM 1196 and CR 347.

“The San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI recovered the remains and had them examined by a forensic anthropologist at Sam Houston State University,” the press release shows. “The remains were then delivered to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, where DNA extracted from the remains were entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville Police Department were notified on June 19, 2014, that the remains were that of ... Shunte M. Coleman.”

She was reported missing soon after the body of Terri Renee Troublefield Reyes was found in the Bannister Wildlife Management Area of San Augustine County, near a forest service road, in 2007. Larry Pugh, a former officer with the Jacksonville Police Department — is in the middle of a 12-year federal prison sentence following his 2007 conviction for sexual assault and retaliation. But Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham of the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office has stopped short of calling Pugh a formal suspect in Coleman’s death, instead claiming that “it is headed in that direction.”

The Bannister Wildlife Management Area in the Angelina National Forest covers more than 25,000 acres in San Augustine County. Pugh is believed to have lived in San Augustine County and attended school there.

Pugh was accused of raping several women while in uniform and of excessive force. When Coleman and Reyes disappeared, it was before Pugh was arrested for trying to wrap a belt around the neck of a female witness. That victim escaped when the belt broke.

He had been released on bond on federal charges, and Reyes was reportedly scheduled to testify against him.

Case for murder

San Augustine County sheriff’s officials continue to investigate the March 17 shooting death of 62-year-old Kavy Neil Sowell.

His body was found near the front door of his home on CR 3200, and his suspected killer was captured on video leaving the scene. Cunningham said Sowell was executed and his house set on fire. He was reportedly shot several times.

Dispatchers received a 911 call around 10 that night, and the first deputy arrived five minutes later. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze because of exploding ammo inside the residence. Witnesses said they heard three gunshots before the fire was reported.

The Texas Rangers are also investigating the case. Anyone with information on Sowell’s death is asked to call the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office at 936-275-2424 or Lufkin Crime Stoppers at 936-639-TIPS.

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