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Suspects captured after Byers area manhunt Friday morning

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Setinel

Three suspects in the theft of a portable welder face charges following an overnight manhunt near Byers.

A Clay County deputy was on routine patrol in Byers at about 2:30 a.m. Friday morning when he pulled over a pickup pulling a trailer with a portable welder. The trailer did not have lights. The welder was later reported as stolen from a residence in Byers.

As the deputy approached the vehicle, the pickup sped away and a chase ensued. The deputy followed the pickup from FM 171 to Moffett Road, and onto private property, where the vehicle was stopped.

Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons said that during the chase a man riding in the bed of the pickup threw a spare tire toward the deputy, just missing his patrol car. He was arrested and identified as Juan Odum, 30, of Wichita Falls.

The driver of the vehicle, Steven Ellis Allen, 42, and a passenger, Ashley Allen, 22, escaped. Both are also from Wichita Falls.

Lemons said Ashley Allen is the daughter of Steven Ellis Allen. Odum is Ashley Allen’s boyfriend.

At about 8 a.m., deputies responded to a suspicious persons call in Byers, where two people, covered in mud, where reported to be walking through a residential area of town.

Deputies, State Troopers and a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden where able to pinpoint the location of the suspects as Byers residents relayed information through CCSO dispatchers.

At about 9:21 a.m., Ashley Allen and Steven Allen were located and taken into custody.

The three suspects will be charged with engaging in organized crime, theft over $1,500, under $20,000. The driver of the pickup, Steven Ellis Allen, also faces a parole violation and felony evading. Odum will be charged with aggravated assault of a peace office.

Lemons said the three could face additional charges.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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