Former Wharton County Sheriff’s deputy takes own life amid investigation

Officials with the Wharton County District Attorney’s Office confirmed a former sheriff’s deputy took his own life over the weekend. The suicide comes during an on-going investigation into accusations against former deputy James Elliot.

District Attorney Dawn Allison said her office and the Sheriff’s Office recused themselves from the investigation since Elliot worked for the county for more than two decades and was friends with many people in both offices.

“He was in our office every day dropping off documents. He was at the clerk’s office every day. He was in the community. He was very well known,” said Allison. “I was telling somebody I remember trying a case 20 years ago with him.”

Allison said those deep ties to the community is why she asked the Texas Rangers and Texas Attorney General’s Office to investigate allegations against Elliot. A news article published by the online news outlet, The County Gin, reported that Elliot was facing accusations of sexually abusing a minor.

Court documents obtained by Channel 2 Investigates show Elliot’s wife, Misty, was indicted as part of this investigation in August. She is charged with “abandon/endanger a child.”

Court documents said Misty Elliot is accused of being told “on more than one occasion” about the abuse and “failed to report James Elliot to law enforcement.”

There was no answer at a home listed for Misty Elliot. The online news outlet also reported James Elliot had recently been indicted in the case. However, Allison said any further indictments, in this case, would still be under seal.

Without confirming an indictment against James Elliot, Allison said she has asked the Attorney General’s Office and Texas Rangers to investigate who may have leaked grand jury information.

“Grand jury proceedings are secret,” said Allison.

Officials with the County Gin sent KPRC 2 a statement reading, “Due to the sensitivity of this matter involving a former Wharton County employee and the Wharton County District Attorney’s Office, we respectfully decline to further comment on the matter at this time; however, we will update information as it becomes available.”

Allison said Elliot had not been arrested and she couldn’t comment whether he was, in fact, facing charges.

“The whole process has been difficult trying to set aside his personal life and his professional life. It’s been difficult for all of us,” said Allison.

Allison said she was told James Elliot took his own life Saturday in the town of Seymour, Texas.

The sheriff was unavailable to speak with KPRC 2 Thursday, but Allison said Elliot was placed on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office as soon as the allegations came to light and he chose to retire a short time thereafter.

About the Author:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”