St. John Barned-Smith, Houston Chronicle

St. John Barned-Smith

Houston Chronicle

Houston, TX, United States

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Past articles by St. John:

A Houston reporter's search into unidentified dead led him to a century-old cold case — in his own family

Reporter St. John Barned-Smith spent months writing about missing persons and unidentified dead cases. Then he began to investigate a case from his own family. → Read More

My great aunt disappeared a century ago. Here's what I learned investigating her case.

Houston Chronicle reporter St. John Barned-Smith spent months investigating the century-old disappearance of his great aunt. Here's what he learned in the process. → Read More

Texas' Baby Holly murder mystery to get 9-episode true crime podcast

Texas murder mystery of Dean and Tina Clouse and the discovery of Baby Holly will be the subject of a new long-form, true crime podcast. → Read More

As officials drop cases from a tainted HPD unit, they’re keeping some of the seized cash

Nothing in state law requires law enforcement to return money seized during criminal investigations, even if police break the law to get it. → Read More

Takeoff shot in Houston: Police investigate, fans mourn

Takeoff, a member of the renowned Atlanta-based rap trio Migos, had been fatally shot at... → Read More

Constable Herman blasts judges for case dismissals

Pct. 4 Constable Mark Herman blasts judges he says have dismissed hundreds of criminal cases and announces they will be refiled. → Read More

The key to a missing Fort Bend woman’s cold case was sitting in an evidence room for almost 40 years

Texas' cold case backlog is climbing due to myriad issues that led to one missing Fort Bend woman's case not being solved for 40 years. → Read More

A chance encounter spurred a Texas bill to help identify missing persons, but compliance is spotty

John and Joseph’s Law required police to enter missing persons reports into NaMus but a Houston Chronicle analysis shows some counties are not entering information. → Read More

Hundreds of Texas bodies remain unidentified despite new tech that helps solve cases faster

A Houston Chronicle investigation found that while new tech offers answers in cold cases, obstacles leave Texans suffering, while the dead are laid to rest nameless. → Read More

New DOJ plan targets Houston's 'worst of the worst' gangs, violent crime

DOJ announces it will send resources from Organized Crime and Gang Section to battle crime in Houston. → Read More

Galveston bartender charged with overserving driver from fatal golf cart crash that killed 4

A Galveston bartender has been arrested and charged with overserving a man in August accused of crashing into a golf cart and killing four people, including two children. → Read More

Texans send aid east as Hurricane Ian lashes Florida coast

As Hurricane Ian lashed the Gulf Coast, dozens of Texans headed east. → Read More

Hundreds mourn former Galveston-Houston archbishop Joseph Fiorenza

Fiorenza, a long-time local Catholic archbishop, died Sept. 19 at 91, leaving a swath of greater Houston's Catholic community grieving. → Read More

$100K in overtime? Dozens of Houston employees doubled their pay working extra hours last year.

A review of city payroll data shows more than 140 city of Houston employees more than doubled their salaries with overtime pay, some earning more than $100K. → Read More

Prison inmate gets 20 years for decades-old Port Arthur murder of Patricia Ann Howell Jacobs

They identified a suspect, too -- Daniel Andrew MacGinnis. Try as they might, they couldn't get enough to build a case against him -- until earlier this week, when MacGinnis pleaded guilty to murdering Jacobs. MacGinnis was sentenced to 20 years for Jacobs murder. He was already in prison and serving a previous 199-year sentence on unrelated drug and weapons charges in Tyler County. According to… → Read More

Charges dismissed in Houston Subway restaurant murder of 18-year-old killed protecting his mom

Flores ran toward the man who had his mother at gunpoint, and was shot in the neck. Three months later, police arrested Jeffery Archangel, then 25, and charged him with capital murder. Charging documents show detectives linked him to a robbery at another Subway shop which had been hit by two suspects. The suspects were wearing the same hooded sweatshirts as the suspects who assaulted Flores and… → Read More

Cypress murders: Sun family killed over job promotion, records allege

Feng Lu, accused of executing a Cypress family in 2014, did so because he was passed over for a job promotion, new court records say. → Read More

Harding Street families’ attorneys ask judge to dismiss cops from raid lawsuit to speed up case

Attorneys representing the families of two people killed by Houston police in the 2019 Harding Street raid asked a federal judge to dismiss from their lawsuit 14 individual officers connected to the operation. → Read More

Sun family slaughter: New arrest in 2014 Houston-area murder case

A man accused of slaughtering a Chinese American family of four in Cypress has finally been arrested. All four had been shot in the head in their bedrooms. → Read More

Harris County auditors say Crime Stoppers stonewalled investigation into its finances

Harris County auditors recommended tighter controls and oversight of county donations to Crime Stoppers after it thwarted the department’s review of its finances. → Read More