KAUFMAN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – As North Texas prepares for the public memorial and funeral of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, heightened security continues in Kaufman County and across the state.
On Saturday DA McLelland and his wife were found dead in their home near Forney. An affidavit released Monday confirmed that both had been shot multiple times and that law enforcement found shell casings scattered near their bodies.
There is still a visible law enforcement presence at and around the Kaufman County Courthouse. On Monday, deputies escorted several employees to work.
Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood held a brief news conference Tuesday morning where he said everyone is being looked after. “I can promise you that all of the people in this courthouse, all of the elected officials, all of the other people that are involved in this investigation, are being very well protected. I have no question about our safety.”
Early Tuesday morning the judge had announced that the Courthouse and all other County facilities expect emergency, would close at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. The public memorial service for the McLellands is being held Thursday at 1 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Sunnyvale in Mesquite.
“Judge Wood said closing down for half a day is only right. “I communicated with all of our County Commissioner’s… and they agreed that they felt like that would be the appropriate thing to do out of respect for Mike and Cynthia. And to give our employees the opportunity to attend the memorial service as well.”
When asked about the increased security in Kaufman County Judge Wood said he didn’t know how long it would continue and even if he did he wouldn’t tell what the plan was. “I don’t think it would be very wise on our part to tell when the security ends. I mean, that would not be a good thing, I would not think.”
One of those individuals receiving 24-hour protection is newly appointed interim district attorney Brandi Fernandez. The 42-year-old has temporarily taken over the job as Kaufman County’s lead prosecutor. Judge Wood said there was a natural order in selecting her for the post. “It’s really by statute that is in Texas law that indicates that whenever an office, such as the district attorney, is physically vacated which is obviously what happened here, the top assistant, which Brandi is, would be named – no appointed but would be as a function of law – would be named as the interim DA for a 21-day period,” he explained.
As for whether or not Fernandez is on the list of candidates being considered for the permanent position Wood wouldn’t say.
For now, those in and around Kaufman County are focused on remembering Mike and Cynthia McLelland. While their public memorial is being held in North Texas, the funeral is being held at 10 a.m. Friday, about 75 miles south of Dallas. Judge Wood explained that, “Mike grew up in Wortham [Texas] and that’s where many of his family members live and that’s where the funeral service will actually occur.” The service will take place at First Baptist Church.
A task force consisting of local, state and federal agencies continue their investigation and search for the person or persons responsible for the McLelland murders. Anyone with information about the murders is being urged to call a special tip-line at (877) 847-7522.
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