Exclusive: Newly-elected Bastrop Co. Sheriff discusses Del Valle homicides

FOX 7 is first to interview the newly-elected Bastrop County Sheriff in regards to the recent string of homicides in Del Valle.

There were two arrests last week. They were both in connection to the death of a man found inside of a burning car. That is just one out of eight homicides.

Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook has only been on the job three weeks, but is already on top of the recent homicides in the Del Valle area. He spoke exclusively with FOX 7 on Monday.

"I'm not worried about who's going to get the credit, I want to see that the case is solved," says Sheriff Maurice Cook, Bastrop County Sheriff's Office.

Eight homicides between September and October. Since Del Valle is near the county lines, Travis County is investigating seven of the bodies found.

Bastrop County is investigating the death of 28-year-old Amber Taylor who was found dead October 31st at the intersection of FM 535 and Wolf Lane. It initially appeared to be a hit-and-run but autopsy results showed she died from gunshot wounds. Both sheriff's offices are working together to make arrests.

"No it's not surprising to me, especially with us being next to Travis County, that we would have an overflow," says Sheriff Cook.

Bastrop County has seen an increase in drug-related offenses in the past few years, resulting in multiple arrests and pounds of drugs being taken off the streets. In October, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office re-formed their drug unit.

"Of course I'm not willing to say that the cartel is involved or who's involved in it. At what level would you cut the cartel off? In other words, is it the end user? Is it the supplier? Where does the cartel begin and where does it end?," says Sheriff Cook.

He says regardless, it's important to keep our community safe. That's why other agencies have become involved in the investigation, including the Texas Rangers. This brings more resources to the table on a state-wide level.

"They have access to the DPS lab. We do too but it makes a little difference sometimes when a ranger brings something in maybe than if a deputy sheriff brings something in. So we can definitely utilize those resources plus their experience. They work at this every day. They can take more time with a case sometimes than what we can," says Sheriff Cook.

Del Valle ISD says they have stepped up security measures. The district serves more than 11,000 students on 15 campuses in Southeast Travis County.

"Well it's just concerning because of our kids, it's alarming for the community. But as I've heard from my son, they've increased the security which is great for the safety of our kids. So, I'm pretty happy about that," says parent.

Sheriff's vehicles could be seen in front of the high school Monday afternoon, putting parents at ease. 

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