One year after the theft, game camera photo and social media share led investigators to the suspect, who was in jail on other charges.
In October 2019, rancher Albert Landry met with his local Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Kenny Murchison and Williamson County Livestock Deputy Joe Worsham to report a crime.
An unknown person or people had stolen approximately 1,200 cedar posts and broken into a storage building and taken maps of the ranch.
While reviewing game camera footage, the investigators discovered three men had been photographed outside of the storage building on Sept. 21, 2019, at approximately 4 a.m. The photos showed clear images of the three suspects. Two of the photos showed one of the suspects holding the maps taken from the building.
Murchison and Worsham checked the local cedar yards and fence builders to see if anyone had been trying to sell any cedar posts, without any luck. They also shared the photos with ranchers in the area to see if anyone recognized the suspects. Again, no luck. Murchison was out fresh out of leads.
But thanks to a social media share, the investigation continued.
An entire year passed before an individual called to identify one of the suspects as Joshua Cole Searfoss, a 35-year-old male from Florence. Records showed Searfoss was in the Williamson County Jail on unrelated charges.
Murchison and Worsham met with Searfoss, who admitted the pictures were of him. But he said he was looking for arrowheads at the time. An unlikely story at 4 a.m.
Murchison prepared a probable cause affidavit for burglary of a building the presented the case to the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office. After the affidavit was reviewed, a warrant and probable cause affidavit was signed by a Williamson County judge.
Searfoss remains in the Williamson County Jail for this and several other charges.
Murchison would like to thank Williamson County Livestock Deputy Joe Worsham, and the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this case.