Names released in Cherokee County train jumping incident


The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office released the names of a man and a woman involved in a train jumping incident on June 13. 

Michael Matthew Heiskell, 28, of Pampa, was killed after he was knocked down from the top of the train he had been riding. His body was found when deputies responded to a report of a body on the train tracks near U.S. Highway 71 and County Road 3302 near Jacksonville. 

Shelby Laws, 26, of the Houston/Conroe area, was transported to a Tyler hospital and released a few days later after she sustained injuries from jumping from the train south of Troup near CR 4807.

Laws was able to hold on and stay on the train for approximately 15 miles while she waited for the train to slow down enough for her to jump, according to the sheriff's office. 

Investigators said the two met in Austin and traveled to San Marcos where they jumped on the train and rode on the top of it until Heiskell was knocked off in Cherokee County.  

Alexandra Baer, a woman who said she was Heiskell's fiancée, said Heiskell had done a lot of train jumping and traveled to various destinations including his hometown of Pampa on many occasions. 

Baer said she last saw Heiskell on June 10 in Austin and was not aware of his plans to go to San Marcos and ride a train that was going through East Texas. 

"He was a free spirit," she said. "He was also a skateboarder and made friends with anyone he met." 

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office does not suspect any foul play. The case is still open because the final autopsy report has not been released, according to the sheriff's office. 

The incident is being investigated by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, The Texas Rangers and Union Pacific Railroad.   

TWITTER: @LouAnnCampbell







Crime and Breaking News Reporter

I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016. I am a retired U.S. Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college and studied journalism.

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