KAUFMAN — The Kaufman County Sheriff's Department, investigating the murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and prosecutor Mark Hasse is firing back after a series of critical comments about the investigation.
In a news release, the sheriff’s department characterizes comments made by Chris Heisler on behalf of Cynthia McLelland’s children as “inaccurate and unauthorized.”
"The members of Mike and Cynthia McLelland’s family that the victims’ services branches of the investigation have been in contact with since Mr. Heisler’s comments were made have almost wholly responded that his self-description as family spokesperson and his statement of the family’s feelings are both inaccurate and unauthorized," the release said.
Heisler is the CEO of a group called The Honor Network, which pays tribute fallen law enforcement officers. Over the weekend, Heisler said Mike McLelland, before his death, expressed concern that local authorities didn’t have the resources to fully investigate Hasse's January 31 murder, nor did it have the resources to protect other officials.
The McLellands were found shot to death in their Forney home on March 30. Authorities are offering a $200,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment. The public can submit tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 877-847-7522.
Over the weekend, Heisler said the $200,000 reward was "insignificant" and would not convince anyone withholding information to come forward.
"We need that to be raised," Heisler said Saturday.
The release, sent from the office of Sheriff David Byrnes, reads: “Any information released about the investigation by any other source, including Mr. Heisler, is not official and is purely speculative in nature.”
Heisler showed News 8 several e-mails from family members on Cynthia McLelland's side of the family authorizing Heisler to speak on their behalf. Heisler disputes the sheriff’s statements, calling the new release a “distraction, ill-fated and inappropriate."
Heisler said that he — and by extension the McLelland family — were blinded by the sheriff's comments and wants them withdrawn.