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County resident arrested for felony murder

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Murder suspect Kolbee Lynn Trammell

The deceased, Brooke Whitney

A Pipe Creek resident remains incarcerated in the Bandera County Jail, awaiting extradition to Missouri, where he faces a felony first-degree murder charge.
Just after 5 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 17, law enforcement officers with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office received a warrant for the arrest of Kolbee Lynn Trammell, 24, from authorities in Bethany, Missouri, according to Chief Deputy Matt King. Deputies also obtained information that Trammell was currently staying at a residence on Fort Worth Street. Prior to their arrival to serve the warrant at approximately 9:15 pm, Trammell took off on foot.
He was taken into custody around 11:05 pm, in the vicinity of Bandera Oaks Apartments and Old San Antonio Road, near Bandera High School. According to King, when officers closed in, Trammell surrendered without further incident.
Apparently, the fugitive had made his way by foot to the nearby Indian Waters subdivision, where he told a resident he had been "jumped by several teenagers and needed to get to Bandera High School." At this point Trammell was shirtless, shoeless and wet from wading through water in his getaway attempt. The obliging resident transported Trammell to the area, but after observing the suspect run toward the Oaks Apartments, the resident reported the incident to BCSO.
Officers responding to the location set up a perimeter. Participating BCSO officers included Sgt. Gerald "Jerry" Johnson, Sgt. Danny Sanchez, Cpl. Rob Vela and Deputies Chris King and Louis Moreno. City of Bandera Deputy Marshal Sgt. Will Dietrich and Deputy Marshal William "Willie" Smith set the stage for the fugitive's capture.
According to Dietrich, he and Smith were patrolling the city when a call came over the radio to be on the lookout for Trammell in the area of the high school. The deputy marshals parked their vehicle on the north side of the apartments and, a short time later, spotted Trammell scrambling over a chain link fence.
"We drew our guns and ordered him to get down on the ground," Dietrich said, adding that he and Smith kept Trammell covered until deputies arrived to arrest him.
Trammell was booked into the Bandera County Jail where he remains under a $250,000, cash only, bond. Since Trammell has waived extradition, officers with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department are expected to collect him within 10 days, King said.
According to a report in the Bethany Republican Clipper, Trammell has been charged with the first degree murder of Brooke Whitney, 28, whose body was found near Ridgeway, Missouri, in August 2012. She had been missing for two weeks before her decomposing body was found in a field.
At that time, Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckerson did not release the cause of death pending results of an autopsy and toxicology report. However, he also did not rule out classifying the death as a homicide.
Apparently the case went cold until August 20 when the Bethany Republican Clipper reported that an NTA (Rev. Noel T. Adams) Rescue and Recovery team had carried out diving operations on property near Ridgeway, searching for evidence related to Whitney's death. As reported, the diving team searched ponds on property located near the home of Kolbee Tammel's father, Lynn, who is currently serving time in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
As reported, authorities had apparently received information from Lynn Trammell about Whitney's death. Eckerson said information from the elder Trammell, as well as additional information given to authorities, led to the filing of murder charges against Kolbee Trammell.
According to reports, at the time of her disappearance, Whitney had been camping with the younger Trammel; however, he denied having anything to do with her death. In an interview with Eckerson, Trammel claimed that he had fallen asleep and Whitney was gone when he awoke. Trammel, however, failed to report her disappearance to authorities.
Initially, investigators suspected that drugs might have been involved in Whitney's death although, due to the condition of the body, the medical examiner was unable to confirm the cause of death.
On Sept. 17, Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Johnathan L. Meyer filed a complaint charging Trammell with knowingly causing Whitney's death on or about August 24, 2012, by giving her "a lethal dose of Methamphetamine and Oxycodone," a Class A felony. Trammell is also charged with a Class D felony, abandonment of a corpse, specifically, "On or Between August 24, 2012 and September 9, 2012 ... the defendant, being the only person with her at the time of death and knowingly disposed of the corpse of Brooke Whitney ... without properly reporting the location of the body to the proper law enforcement officials." This complaint led to an arrest warrant being issued for Trammell. He allegedly killed Whitney to keep her "quiet about his illegal activities."
No stranger to law enforcement and the judicial system in Bandera County, a grand jury indicted Trammell in February 2011 for burglary of a building and in October 2012 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Doing background for an August 2011 article on a drug bust that involved Ecstasy, in August 2011, the Courier discovered Trammell had had 49 cases filed against him in county, justices of the peace and district courts, at that time. Interestingly, in December 2010, 216th District Attorney Bruce Curry dismissed nine of the cases against Trammell without prejudice. Without prejudice means that those particular cases cannot be re-filed against him at a later date. At that time, then-BCSO Chief Deputy James "Charlie" Hicks maintained that Trammell was not a confidential informant for the sheriff's department.
"We were very disturbed having Mr. Trammell in our county after we found out he had been accused of allegedly committing this murder," King said. "We were happy to assist in his apprehension for Missouri law enforcement officers and keep our citizens a little safer. That's our job."