State investigator facing felony charge claims innocence

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 24 at 10:29 PM

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GREENVILLE — Laura Ard, one of the state investigators facing a felony charge for allegedly tampering with evidence, told News 8 she did nothing wrong.

"It's all a mistake, and I am innocent," Ard said after bonding out of the Hunt County Jail on Tuesday night.

She is one of three investigators from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services facing felony charges which remain under seal.

Records show that Laura Ard faces one charge of tampering with evidence.

Natalie Reynolds faces a tampering charge along with three counts of official oppression.

And Rebekah Ross faces the most charges — five of them for official oppression and tampering.

All three women were indicted on the felonies after a state investigation which began earlier this year.

Sheriff's deputies arrested them on Tuesday. Hours later, Ard, Reynolds and Ross had all posted bond and went home.

It's uncertain how many cases the three women are accused of altering and what specifically they are alleged to have done. But News 8 has confirmed at least one of them involved Alicia Moore, the Greenville teen who was abducted and murdered last year.

Alicia's uncle, Michael Moore, was arrested for the crime in May.

"Our main focus right now is trying to get through this murder," said Jessica Byrd, Alicia's aunt.

But several months before that crime happened, the Department of Family and Protective Services investigated allegations that Alicia had been sexually assaulted.

Byrd said she is curious what investigators might have done with Alicia's case, but said she has yet to be contacted.

"I'm not really focused on that any more," Byrd added. "That man is getting time. That's all I wanted."

Ard's mother told News 8 that Laura left her CPS position earlier this year after a 30-year career there.

The Department of Family and Protective services said it has not yet seen the indictments against its employees and could not immediately provide any information.

WFAA photojournalist Mike Ortiz contributed to this report

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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