MADERA COUNTY – A month-long investigation into the theft of two horses has uncovered a case of horse stealing and the victim fears his horses may have been sold for slaughter.
The suspect in this case, Summer Tex, 27, of Madera, a Brand Inspector for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is wanted for grand theft, and the Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in her apprehension.
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.
Lacey has a unique hot brand on her hindquarter– a bar across the top of the number 11. It looks similar to this symbol:
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. Now, so does the whereabouts of Summer Tex.
Anyone who may have information on Summer Tex is urged to call the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770 or CRIME STOPPERS at 559-498-STOP.