Comes’ nude body found on Red Oak Creek’s bank
By 09/07/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press Managing Editor
RED OAK - Rumors had it figured out, but until receiving official word from law enforcement officials, a Ferris area family had to wait. And that made for a long, apprehensive Labor Day.
A white girl's nude body was found early Sunday afternoon on the bank of Red Oak Creek near a popular swimming hole. Though dead too long in 100-degree temperatures to be easily identified, she had brown hair, was 5 feet tall and seemed in her teens.
That fit Charity Comes, a 14-year-old Ferris High School freshman reported missing from her home northwest of Ferris since Wednesday, Aug. 30, according to flyers posted in Ferris stores.
Police informed her family a body generally matching Charity's description had been found at 12:26 p.m. along Red Oak Creek on Farrar Road off FM 813 in the northeast part of Ellis County. Brian Corley, Charity's stepfather, said family and friends waited throughout Labor Day on Monday for a medical examiner to determine the identity of the body at a Dallas forensics lab.
By Tuesday morning official word had come: It was Charity, and Corley began making funeral arrangements as the family - including younger sister Sara and older brothers Jeremiah, 19, and Jamie, 20 - went into mourning.
The family, which lives just across the Dallas County line, previously was struck by tragedy in 1996 when its mother died in an auto accident.
While listening for the phone to ring, Corley and relatives had to deal with horrifying rumors in addition to descriptive information police supplied: The dead girl had a bra wrapped around her neck. Sexual molestation is likely. Foul play definitely is involved.
Chief Deputy Charles Sullins of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department told reporters the condition of the girl's decomposing body was among the worst he has seen, 'what with the heat and stuff.' He said the body apparently had been at the scene 'three or four days.'
By 9 a.m. Monday, rumors had positively identified the girl, reported the grisly mutilated condition of her body and even earmarked a likely perpetrator.
Except for her name, it was all untrue, according to Sgt. Jeremy Osteen, investigating officer for the Ellis County Sheriff's Department. The nude body was not mutilated as rumors mistakenly reported.
Police also refuted unsubstantiated reports her legs or arm cut off and eyes gouged out.
'I don't know where that all started,' Osteen said. 'Nothing was dismembered. The body was intact.'
Sullins backed that statement at a Monday afternoon press conference and further said the body had no bullet or knife wounds.
Tuesday afternoon, as this week's edition went to press, Sullins said officials had determined strangulation as the cause of death.
He declined to answer if the investigation had produced any suspects, saying only, 'We're following up on information being received.'
Such as an unsubstantiated report Charity told a friend she was sneaking out of a window at night. That fits with how Comes was found missing.
'Charity just disappeared from her bedroom,' Corley said. 'Her sister woke me up, saying she's not there.'