MADERA COUNTY – Sheriff John Anderson credits media coverage with the surrender this morning of a woman wanted for grand theft in the disappearance of two Quarter Horses.
Summer Tex, 27, of Madera, is a Brand Inspector for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and after her story and photo were broadcast on KMJ, Fox 26, KSEE and CBS Eyewitness News and SierraNewsOnline.com, she turned herself in to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 10:28 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 26.
Sheriff Anderson says the phrase that paid off was, “Call CRIME STOPPERS.” The media who covered the story asked listeners, viewers and readers to call Crime Stoppers with any information, and several calls came in last night. Just as deputies were about to follow up on each of those tips, the suspect turned herself in.
Summer Tex was booked into Madera County Department of Corrections with bail set at $60,000.
While the question of Tex’s whereabouts may be solved, the issue of what ever happened to the two horses remains a mystery.
Tex is accused of taking ownership of two Quarter Horses last summer with the promise to place both in Pasture Buddy programs affiliated with Harris Ranch in Fresno County. To date, neither horse has made it to the ranch.
On Apr. 8, AG Crimes Detective Adam McEwen learned about the theft from a Chowchilla man who told him that two of his horses, Lacey, a 21-year-old Quarter Horse mare, and Squirt, a 26-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, were to serve as “Pasture Buddies,” or “Buddy Horses” for newborn foals on a ranch in Fresno County.
Buddy Horses, or Pasture Buddies involves pairing mature horses that are trained and do not spook easily, with young colts and fillies. It’s a great way of giving older equines who are otherwise in great health, a new lease on life by giving them a job serving as surrogate friends by helping to calm the young.
The victim understood that his horses would be placed at two such pastures. One horse was to be delivered to Sanger, the other to Coalinga.
Both horses were in good health when Tex took possession of them last summer, says the owner, but once Tex picked them up, his horses vanished. (click posters to enlarge)
When he never got word that his horses had made it to their “Buddy” pasture destinations, the owner started calling Tex.
After repeated attempts to find out how the horses were doing and where they were, Tex allegedly admitted to the owner that the animals were never delivered to either location. Instead, she claims she delivered them both to a man in Madera who buys and sells horses for a living. That man claims he never saw either horse.
For nearly a month the frustrated owner followed possible leads, but got only the runaround from Tex, with answers of “I can’t remember,” or “I don’t know.” At the end of his rope, the owner contacted Detective McEwen, who secured a $60,000 felony warrant for Tex’s arrest on Apr. 23.
As for Lacy, and Squirt – two docile and well trained horses that would have been perfectly suited to serve as surrogate friends – they are still missing.
Detectives do not know if the horses were in fact shipped out of state for slaughter, but their disappearance remains a mystery eight months later.
The case is still under investigation by both the Madera County Sheriff’s AG Crimes Task Force and the California Department of Food and Agriculture Brand Inspector’s Office.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Lacey and Squirt is urged to call either the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770 or CRIME STOPPERS at 559-498-STOP.