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Suicide victim identified as suspect in Murder investigation

ANDERSON CO., May 24, 2013--On October 14, 2012, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the death of Deborah Leann Diaz, age 35, of Tyler, whose body had been discovered in a wooded area on Anderson County Road 4440, north of Palestine.

The Sheriff’s Department was assisted in the investigation by the Texas Rangers. Numerous items were collected from the crime scene, and suspects were investigated and eliminated.

On November 8, 2012, The Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Smith Sheriff’s Office in regard to a suicide which had occurred in the Flint, Texas area. It was believed the suicide case may be connected to the murder investigation.

The suicide victim was identified as Bobby Franks, age 53. Franks’ wife told investigators that in the weeks leading up to the suicide, her husband had been behaving strangely, and had been arrested in Johnson Co., as well as being committed for mental issues. In the course of questioning, Mrs. Franks also told investigators many details about their murder investigation. Information she shared was information which had not been disclosed to the public.

More interviews and other investigatory measures were conducted in the days following the suicide. On May 16, 2013, the findings were presented to the Anderson County Grand Jury. The Grand Jury agreed with the findings that Franks was a suspect in the killing of Deborah Leann Diaz.

According to Anderson Co. Sheriff Greg Taylor, it is believed Franks met Diaz at a store where she was looking for a ride. Police are unsure of the motive, but believe strongly that Franks was the shooter in the case, and responsible for the gunshot wounds which killed Ms. Diaz.

Sheriff Taylor says they would have loved to be able to file charges in the case, but believes Franks “apparently was overridden with guilt and fear of being prosecuted, and took his own life.”


An accusation or arrest does not mean that the individual or individuals have been convicted of the alleged violation, unless otherwise noted. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

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