HOUSTON -- Law enforcement agents from around the country have been looking for 36-year-old James Wayne Ham.
Postal inspectors said he is the lead suspect in the investigation into the slaying of 52-year-old Marie Youngblood. She was a U.S. Postal carrier who had been on her rural delivery route in her personal car on Friday in San Jacinto County. Youngblood worked out of the Coldspring branch.
Yes, yes, it was my aunt. I mean it shouldn t have happened to her. If you have in your wildest imagination about of a nice person, that was her, Kenneth Punch, the victim s nephew, said.
Dispatchers got a frantic 911 call around noon on Friday. Then around 10 p.m., deputies found Youngblood s body on Morris near Harrell, right outside of Coldspring. Investigators think Youngblood was shot somewhere else and driven to where her Jeep Cherokee was set on fire.
Thelma Roberts is familiar with Youngblood. She heard the commotion.
I was watering my trees, and you can see smoke all around. You can hear something blowing up and popping, Roberts said.
Federal agents are pointing fingers at Ham, because they say he was complaining to postmasters about not getting his mail delivered properly.
Because of this gruesome crime, carriers from Shepard and Coldspring rode around with inspectors with guns while delivering mail on Saturday. They are all afraid of what Ham might do next.
I m scared because he lives around the corner behind my house, Roberts said.
Youngblood s family members are also postal carriers. They just can t believe this happened to their loved one.
Something like this hasn t totally sunk in but emotions are just rampant, it s crazy right now. Punch said.
Youngblood leaves her husband, two sons and grandchildren behind.
What do you say to a person like that someone that does something like that, Punch said.
Ham is described as being 6 feet tall and weighing 145 pounds. He considered armed and dangerous.
Inspectors said the last time a postal worker was killed in Texas was about 30 years ago.