TEXAS CITY, Texas (FOX 26) - It was truly 'til death do us part. Linda and James Mabe started dating when she was 15 and they parted when he died of heart failure in December 2016. He died in his vehicle and had $2,500 dollars in his pocket for buying Christmas presents. His family says that when Texas City police returned his effects, the money was missing.
"There's more than enough anger to go around, to be honest with you," says Michael Mabe, James' son. "I'm angry with a lot of people right now."
The Mabe family has filed a federal lawsuit against former Texas City Police Department officer Linnard Crouch and the city. Relatives say they have obtained an internal memo that shows the department knew of the theft and failed to act.
Theft and drug possession charges are pending against Crouch, who resigned on Jan. 30, 2017 after TCPD launched an internal affairs investigation in December 2016.
"Six months ago, they have a video of an officer stealing money," says Randall Kallinen, attorney for the Mabe family. "There was a report on the amount of money stolen. There were witnesses to the amount of money. Yet there was no arrest." At least not yet.
Crouch was employed by TCPD for ten years. He had been disciplined, even suspended over the years, for using too much sick time, filing reports late and not activating his body camera. He has resigned and the charges of theft and possession of a controlled substance have been turned over to the Galveston County District Attorney's Office, according to a statement from TCPD. The district attorney's office has not yet taken the case to a grand jury.
The Mabe family and Kallinen say they are not putting a number on the amount of money they're seeking and say really no amount could truly make this right. It's not clear if Crouch called for an ambulance before or after allegedly taking the money.
"We don't know and we may never know if this cost him his life," says Mabe.
"Unfortunately, I have seen all too many times officers who take advantage of situations," says Kallinen.