A Rockwall woman who was indicted following an investigation of the Hunt County Child Protective Services (CPS) office, connected with a case tied to the probe of the mother of a murdered Greenville teenager was dismissed and has filed suit against the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office and a former state investigator, alleging she was the victim of malicious prosecution.
Laura Ard filed the suit Oct. 21 with the 196th District Court against Hunt County District Attorney Noble D. Walker Jr., Assistant District Attorney Steven Lilly and Jose Antonio Carrizal. Carrizal was the individual who investigated Ard, Rebecca Ross Thonginh, and Natalie Ausbie Reynolds while working for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission.
In the suit Ard claims that even though the DA’s office knew information provided by Carrizal was false, the prosecution continued until the indictment was dismissed in Oct. 2015.
“The Defendants acted with malice,” said the suit, drafted by attorney Thomas W. McKenzie.
Ard was one of three people indicted on various charges in connection with an investigation of the Hunt County CPS office.
Ard was indicted in Sept. 2013 on one count of tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, which alleged Ard, Reynolds and Thonginh acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore on our about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk assessment involving Aretha Moore ... with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”
All three defendants pleaded not guilty.
The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge of tampering with/fabricating physical evidence against Ard a few days before her trial was scheduled to begin. The motion indicated prosecutors were “unable to prove all elements beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Reynolds and Thonginh were each found guilty of one count of official oppression, involving the same overall investigation but with different alleged victims. Their cases are currently on appeal before the Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana.
In the suit, Ard alleges she has suffered emotional pain and suffering, has been slandered and has been unable to obtain another job in her chosen field. The suit seeks a jury trial and damages between $200,000 and $1 million.
Walker and Dominic Audino, who represents Carrizal, declined comment Tuesday, as they had not yet been served with copies of the suit.
No hearings concerning the suit have been scheduled with the 196th District Court.
Brad Kellar may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.