Lawsuit Identifies Suspect In 2-Year-Old Investigation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/4/08

Lawsuit Identifies Suspect In 2-Year-Old Investigation

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A wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday by the families of Peggy Merimon and Kay Harrelson identifies a man who they say is responsible for both women's deaths.  It's been almost two years since anyone has seen Merimon. She disappeared from the Lubbock State School on August 9, 2006.

Witnesses say Merimon got into a car with co-worker Kay Harrelson and an unidentified man. A volunteer search party discovered Harrelson's body near Shallowater on August 20, 2006.

No criminal charges have been filed, and police have never named a suspect. They did release a sketch of the man who witnesses at the state school saw leave with Merimon and Harrelson.  Now, the lawsuit says that sketch depicts a man named Mickey Patterson.

"We know in the back of our minds that she's not coming home, but we'd like to find her and have some sort of peace," Gearl Merimon said.  For nearly two years, Gearl has searched for his missing wife, Peggy.

"I still search; I don't ask for anymore groups to go out. I kind of do it on my own now," Gearl said.  He tells NewsChannel 11 the hardest parts are not knowing what happened and where his wife is now.

"Day in and day out, you think about her constantly," Gearl said.  On Sunday, the family came together knowing six days later would mark two years since Peggy's disappearance.

"It's been hard for us," Gearl said.  He says after that date, they would not be able to file a civil suit in Peggy's death.

On Monday, Peggy's family joined with the Harrelson family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Patterson. In it, they claim Patterson lured both women from the state school, held them against their will, and ultimately killed them and hid their bodies.

The suit says Patterson's conduct constitutes malice, and that he had specific intent to cause substantial injury. They ask that a citation be issued and served on Patterson, and that after a final hearing, the court award damages for all the wrongs both families have suffered.

"I think we're handling it, in our different ways, but we're handling it. The kids want to see some results from this. They want to bring their mother home," Gearl said. 

Again, this is a civil lawsuit. There have been no criminal charges filed in Peggy Merimon's disappearance or Kay Harrelson's death.

There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.  If you know anything that can help investigators crack this case, you're asked to call Crime Line at (806) 741-1000.

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