An unsolved murder, a dissident censored 

Searching for Dana Clair Edwards’s killer

It’s been eight long months since Dana Clair Edwards’s parents lost their daughter, a vivacious and popular woman who collected top academic honors in high school and college before earning an MBA and entering medical school. Dana was the first Bexar County murder of 2009, found strangled inside her apartment in the early hours of January 2, no sign of forced entry. Her 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Grit, was missing. She was 32. Grit’s body turned up almost two weeks later in Olmos Basin.

The night she died, Dana had attended a New Year’s Eve party with close friends, says her father, Darrell Edwards. Dana’s best friend followed her in her car from the party, and saw her turn safely into her complex at the Nacogdoches and New Braunfels intersection, just north of Alamo Heights.

The wait has been “maddening” for Edwards, who heads down to police HQ at least once a week to check in with detectives and share any new recollections that may help identify Dana’s killer. “Labwork isn’t like TV,” he says, meaning those instant CSI revelations are pure fantasy.

Homicide Detective Leroy Carrion says that police have reworked the crime scene and submitted additional evidence to the lab. “Everything’s still pending,” he said. Carrion also confirmed that police have some relevant surveillance-camera video captured by a bank across the street from the apartment entrance, although he is mum on the details.

In an online forum dedicated to Dana’s memory, speculation has centered on an ex-boyfriend whom Dana dated for two years, but police will neither confirm nor deny that the man is a suspect.

“I know police have questioned a lot of people, and there has been only one who wasn’t cooperative and `who` immediately got a lawyer,” Edwards said, which has added to the family’s pain. “The society as it exists in the Alamo Heights social network ... it’s a little bitty microcosm of people. It’s just unbelievable to me that somebody’s lawyered up and not trying to clear their name.”

Edwards says his daughter had “an enhanced sense of right and wrong, and she was very outspoken.” Qualities, incidentally, that could help the police solve her murder. “Somebody out there knows” what happened to Dana, says Detective Carrion. If that someone is you, you can reach him at (210) 207-7635.

Nuke-watch: digging deeper

A San Antonio mechanic and Karnes County resident lost his 30-some-acre lake (and former uranium mine) last year when the Texas Railroad Commission pumped out more than 122 million gallons of water and transferred about 70 foot-long big-mouth bass to a nearby stock tank.

“They left me with what’s going to end up being a pretty good pond — if it ever rains,” he says.

Plenty of these former uranium mines still sit on private ranches across South Texas. The Railroad Commission insists they aren’t responsible for them since they were dug and abandoned prior to passage of a 1970s federal mining law that requires companies to post bonds upfront to guarantee cleanup. Using federal monies as they have become available, the state has led and completed 15 mine reclamations, leaving 17 former uranium-mining sites still unaddressed, according to Ramona Nye, spokesperson for the agency.

The mining, milling, and dumping of uranium across South Texas has fouled numerous aquifers, and some claim the tailings remain a health hazard by allowing alpha radiation to blow freely on the breeze.

While open-pit uranium mining in Texas dates back to the 1950s, past abuses continue to pose a risk to the living. Waste pits like those in South Texas will remain toxic for hundreds of thousands of years, even as a new generation of mines prepares to move into production. All the uranium-mining companies require is an uptick in the global economy and a commitment by utilities such as CPS Energy, owned by the City of San Antonio, to give nuclear power another go.

The technology preferred today, in-situ mining, utilizes an assortment of injection and extraction wells which force the uranium into the water column where it can be pumped to the surface and separated out. It’s cheaper than open-pit mining and less visually damaging. Problem here is ever getting this water clean again. Persistent pollution has been reported the world over.

Also, in-situ uses a lot of water. Uranium Resource’s Kingsville Dome mine at Ricardo (operating on a skeleton crew due to the economic downturn), was buying more than a million gallons of water per month from the local water district last summer.

As the San Antonio City Council prepares to vote on whether to participate in the expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear complex outside Bay City, there has been very little public discussion of the environmental and public health consequences of nuclear power — from the full impact of mining to the ethical questions surrounding our right to create radioactive poisons in the first place, wastes that will remain toxic to biological lifeforms for hundreds of thousands and even millions of years.

The Council vote in October is significant. The proposed doubling of the South Texas Project nuclear complex represents the first new construction application filed in almost 30 years, and it’s the top-ranked project in line for guaranteed federal loan subsidies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Which is why the QueQue’s Greg Harman is mobile this month, digging up tales (and tailings) both positive and negative for our cradle-to-grave nuclear series, which begins next week in these pages. Meantime, get a preview, plus video and maps, in the QueBlog, online at sacurrent.com.

Private ‘estate’

John Foddrill, the former City Telecommunications Manager who unsuccessfully sued COSA for wrongful termination earlier this year, has been taking his case to the public through copious emails and comments posted on stories at sacurrent.com and Express-News website mysanantonio.com.

Foddrill was fired from his position in March 2006, after he spent several months complaining to his supervisors about a department slush fund and other management behavior that he believed rose to the level of fraud and abuse. `See “Off the hook,” October 8, 2008.` Since then, he’s thrown the kitchen sink at anyone and everyone, from state auditors to Texas Rangers, which hasn’t necessarily helped his cause — but does he deserve to be shut out of City Hall just because he’s a squeaky wheel? Apparently City Attorney Michael Bernard and Police Chief William McManus think so: They signed a July 1 Criminal Trespass Warning that forbids Foddrill from entering City Hall and several other public properties. Bernard did not return a phone call from, like, two weeks ago seeking comment (can he be that busy?)

The Express-News — which did a piss-poor job of covering the trial; see the QueQue: Shadow of a Doubt, February 19 — proceeded to rub salt in Foddrill’s still-raw wounds by apparently deleting at least some of the comments he has posted on mysanantonio.com stories and in their public forums. Considering that a recent media survey reported that some 42 percent of San Antonians check in with the website each month, that’s a pretty significant media blackout.

Like the Current’s online posting policy, the E-N’s disclaimer “is pretty broad,” says Director of Digital Media Eric Braun, giving the site the discretion to remove off-topic posts or random attacks on fellow posters, for instance. Braun confirmed that the site has removed “plenty of `Foddrill’s` comments and forum postings,” most likely because a mysanantonio.com reader complained about one or more of them. Once a poster has been flagged, site management may keep an eye on him or her, and might even block their participation entirely — although Braun is “not necessarily” saying this is what happened in Foddrill’s case. So, who is the mysanantonio.com gatekeeper? “I hesitate to give her name out,” Braun said, then added a qualifier: “It’s more of a team effort.”


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