A mysterious murder in Kaufman County from 2019 has long perplexed investigators who have yet to identify the suspect.
Peggy Wright, a 78-year-old woman, came face-to-face with an intruder in her home on FM 148 near Crandall four years ago on October 15. A woman allegedly pulled a gun on Wright, stole $200, and tied her to a chair.
“She had been tied at her ankles, at her thighs, and at her wrist, all the way down through her skin, down nearly to her bone,” Wright’s daughter Carla Cullum told NBC 5 DFW.
The unidentified suspect then allegedly set the house ablaze, leaving Wright to burn alive inside. She was rescued by a passerby and hospitalized for smoke inhalation and burns. However, after six months of medical treatment, she died, and police upgraded the criminal offense to capital murder.
Before she died, Wright provided law enforcement with a description of the suspect. A sketch of the suspect was developed, and Crimestoppers offered a reward of $15,000 for information about the incident. Still, the case has reportedly grown cold.
“It’s hard to believe in our small community of Kaufman that somebody doesn’t know somebody or doesn’t know something about this case,” Cullum said, per NBC 5.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers have both endeavored to bring Wright’s family justice.
Noting how much Wright’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and sister miss her, Cullum explained that she eagerly awaits the day the suspect is arrested. She said she has not given up hope.
“I know that someday they’ll get judged. And they’ll have to answer to someone that’s higher than me,” she told NBC 5.
Capital murder charges are reserved for particularly heinous homicide offenses, such as those involving a vulnerable person, a peace officer, or multiple victims. Murder might also be upgraded to capital murder if it is committed alongside other felony offenses, such as armed robbery or arson. If a defendant is found guilty, they could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
While the available figures on homicides committed in Dallas do not distinguish between capital murders and murders, the city has logged 209 since the start of the year, marking a year-over-year increase of nearly 14% as of October 25.
The Dallas Police Department has struggled to curb crime overall due to an ongoing officer shortage. It maintains a force of fewer than 3,200 sworn personnel, roughly 800 less than the 4,000 recommended by a city analysis.
The effects of the shortage can be seen above all in Downtown Dallas, especially when crime rates are compared to the downtown area of Fort Worth, which is reportedly patrolled by a designated neighborhood police unit working alongside private security guards.