Ellis County murder victim identified; arrest made

Sketch of murder victim

Lt. Rick White of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department said the body of a woman found shot has been identified — and she was not a member of the LGBT community. An arrest has been made in the case.

After the body was found, several clues led investigators to ask the LGBT community for help in identifying the woman. No missing persons report from the area matched the body.

White said that the woman has been identified as 19-year-old Sonya Ballinger of Irving. Thaddeus Terrence Quinn, 38, was arrested on suspicion of murder, after being picked up on a warrant for another offense.

White said Ballinger had been living with her mother until June and had been staying with her boyfriend in Irving.

White said her boyfriend wanted to report her missing on July 17, the day investigators think she was killed. Ballinger’s mother decided not to report her daughter missing, however, because she apparently had disappeared for periods of time in the past.

Quinn’s body was found on July 23 in a wooded area between Waxahachie and Midlothian about 6 miles south of the Dallas County line.

—  David Taffet

Tyrrell: How do you tell a 7-year-old we can’t be part of the Scouts?

Jennifer Tyrrell

“How do you tell a seven-year-old we can’t be in the Scouts?” Jennifer Tyrrell asked.

The ousted Cub Scout mom talked about her experiences with the Scouts from her Downtown Dallas hotel room on Tuesday evening. She is in Dallas to present a Change.org petition with 314,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts on Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that someone will meet with her on Wednesday. She is planning a 10 a.m. press conference outside the Irving headquarters of the Scouts before presenting the petition and meeting with the Boy Scouts representative.

While Tyrrell knows the Scouts won’t change their policy anytime soon, she’s convinced the policy will change. But her message is for other parents involved in Scouting.

“Imagine being told you can’t be involved in part of your child’s life,” she said.

Two of her four children traveled to Dallas with her. After being swarmed by reporters at Love Field, she joked that they deserve their Media Badge.

And to take up their time since they were ousted from the Scouts, Tyrrell assures that they’ve been busy playing softball, fishing and playing with celebrities.

—  David Taffet

Death • 09.30.11

Wendy Churitch, 55, died suddenly at her home in Irving early Thursday morning, Sept. 29.

Churitch was born July 26, 1956, and grew up in Chicago. She moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 1980.

She was known and much loved for her eccentric and ever-present sense of humor, her love of pranks and practical jokes and for her devotion and loyalty to her family and to her large number of friends that she thought of — and that thought of her — as family.

After seven-and-a-half years as a couple, Churitch and the love of her life, Kay Mathews Churitch, were legally married in Iowa on Aug. 17, 2009.

Churitch was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Pete Churitch Sr., and by her brother, Michael.

She is survived by her wife, Kay Mathews Churitch of Irving; by her brother, Pete Churitch Jr., and one sister, Robin Littrell, both of Indiana; by her wife’s sister, Erin Urquhart of Coppell, and brother, Robert Mathews of Buda; by her wife’s two daughters, Courtney Mathews of Lubbock and Amber Mathews of Three Rivers, Mich., and three grandchildren, Michael and Jourdan of Mesquite and Makenzie of Lubbock; by her beloved dogs, Bailey and Pala; and by a host of loving friends.

Churitch’s remains will be cremated. A memorial service is pending and details will be announced when they become available.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

So there’ll no LGBT Pride flag at City Hall this year, but hey, at least there’s one at Citibank!!!

Speaking of marking LGBT Pride Month, GetEQUAL board member Mark Reed-Walkup, who lives in Irving, tweeted the above photo of the flag outside Citibank’s offices. It’s not the first year in which Citibank in Irving has flown the flag, but Reed said he was thrilled that the company re-tweeted his photo.

“Citibank has made several Texan LGBT folk very proud for their show of support!” Reed wrote later on Twitter.

“We love to see that,” Citibank responded. “Thanks so much for sharing the photo!”

—  John Wright

Stonewall-backed Haldenwang takes high road on Harper-Brown's use of contractor's car

harper_brown_linda
Linda Harper-Brown

The Dallas Morning News published a story today questioning four-term Republican State Rep. Linda Harper Brown‘s use of a Mercedes. The car is owned by a company called Durable Enterprises Equipment that makes millions of dollars in state transportation contracts.

Harper-Brown’s husband said the car is compensation for accounting he does for the company’s owner. His wife serves on the House Transportation Committee.

Harper-Brown’s opponent in the November election is Loretta Haldenwang, who has the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Harper-Brown won the seat two years ago by just 19 votes.

—  David Taffet

Blowing up Texas Stadium is a waste of an area asset for the benefit of one person

Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.
Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.

I love blowing up a building as much as the next person, but the demolition of Texas Stadium in Irving this weekend just pisses me off.

Since buying the team, Jerry Jones spent little on upkeep of the property. By running the stadium into the ground, he forced the area to build him a new one. By the time the team left, Texas stadium was an eyesore.

When Arlington won the bidding war, after Dallas refused to hand over as much taxpayer money as he wanted, the destruction of the Irving property seemed to accelerate.

Irving originally had some wonderful plans for the property — extend the canal from Las Colinas, build apartments and offices and hotels in a park-like setting.

Now we learn that after the stadium is blown up, the property will be used to stage the expansion of Airport Freeway for the next seven years!

The Eyesore in Irving will give way to an even bigger blot.

Surely, the stadium could have been saved and plenty of uses for it could have been found. Yes, scheduling concerts and high school and college football games here would have cut into Jerry Jones’ and Arlington’s profits. Yes, it have cost some money to renovate the property that the Tarrant County Cowboys’ owner destroyed. But blowing it up costs money too. (And yes, I believe that if the team isn’t in Dallas County or the City of Dallas, they should pay us royalties on the use of “Dallas.”)

Although maybe the interior destruction of the facility’s infrastructure was even more significant than the exterior’s deterioration. If that’s the case, a nice big bill should have been sent to Jones.

Am I really getting sentimental about Texas Stadium? No. I just dislike this sort of unnecessary waste. But most people in the area do have their memories of it.

My best memory of Texas Stadium? We filmed the Season 1 finale of “Friday Night Lights” here because the Alamodome (much closer to “home-base” Austin, where most of the series is filmed) was not available. And shameless plug: Season 4 begins airing on NBC on May 7. Filming for season 5 gets underway in Austin this month.

—  David Taffet