Posted: 12 February 2009:
In June 2008, a Kendall County District Court of Law, ruled the death of Air Force Colonel Philip Shue a homicide. To date Kendall County DA Bruce Curry and County Attorney Don Allee continue to willfully dismiss the ruling.
After denying Air Force Widow Tracy Shue and her family any help, following the 2003 murder of her husband Colonel Philip Shue, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott has, once again, chosen to shield Boerne Texas Officials from their legal and moral obligation to the people of Kendall County; this time for refusing to comply with an order from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics to amend the death certificate of Colonel Philip Shue to rightfully state Homicide as the Manner of Death.
In June 2008, a Kendall County District Court of Law, ruled the death of Air Force Colonel Philip Shue a homicide. To date Kendall County DA Bruce Curry and County Attorney Don Allee continue to willfully dismiss the ruling. In November 2008 County Attorney Don Allee engaged Attorney General Gregg Abbott to support an earlier 2005 suicide ruling by former Kendall County Justice of the Peace Nancy White/Lay Texas Coroner; an improper ruling based on bias, her lack of knowledge of the law and medicine, wrong information, and unfounded conclusions. Neither, DA Bruce Curry or County Attorney Don Allee, was present during the June 2008 trial of Tracy Shue vs. USAA to hear evidence supporting the homicide ruling, nor have they made any attempt to obtain or review evidence which would contradict their 2003 premature conclusion.
Due to the mishandling of evidence, deviations from standard investigative procedures, violations of privacy protected information by Kendall County Officials during the death investigation of Air Force Colonel Philip Shue, and Kendall County’s refusal to hold a Public Inquest Hearing in 2003, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Shue (Retired) and her family requested the AG Office intervene multiple times between 2003 through 2007. The family reports they phoned the Office of Gregg Abbott on numerous occasions and maintain each time the response from the AG Office was the same:
“We have no jurisdiction to intervene in local Government investigations and procedures and it would inappropriate for us to do so …If you don’t like your politicians then vote them out of office or go to the media …This is Texas and things are different here”…
During a June 2008 Pre-Trial Hearing Tracy Shue vs. USAA, Jason Davis, Tracy Shue’s attorney, obtained a ruling by the Kendall County District Court to have the 2003 Grand Jury tapes unsealed. Davis stated, the 2003 Kendall County Grand Jury ‘No Bill’ was used by former Kendall County Justice of the Peace Nancy White to support her suicide ruling in 2005. Davis successfully argued if USAA intended to use the Grand Jury ‘No Bill” as evidence to support suicide, the evidence presented to the Grand Jury by DA Bruce Curry should be unsealed and subject to challenge by the court. The District Court ruled the Grand Jury Testimony unsealed. Kendall County DA Bruce Curry, with the assistance of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the Appellate Court, and later the Texas Supreme Court. No decision by the Supreme Court was ever delivered prior to the conclusion of the trial. The appeal, handled by the Deputy Attorney General Angela Goodwin, was sent improperly to the Criminal vs. Civil Texas Supreme Court and surprisingly was lost in the mix-up. DA Curry’s misconduct by inviting friends and allies to sit in on the 2003 Grand Jury Hearings, his refusal to subpoena critical witnesses, and failure to present timely crucial evidence to the Jurors in the case of Colonel Philip Shue, has been criticized by the family and most recently some members who had served on the 2003 Grand Jury who chose to remain anonymous.
As of 21 January 2009, no word has come from the Texas Attorney General whose original position was, “he has no jurisdiction in the matter.” As family, friends, and supporters continue to wait, Philip Shue’s 92 year old parents, continue their daily visit to the Ohio Memorial Site they have dedicated in memory of their beloved son. They continue to pray for justice and for the state of Texas to finally, “do the right thing and give them peace."
Air Force Colonel's death finally ruled suicide
15 June 2005
The bizarre case of Philip Shue has taken another controversial twist, with a Kendall County justice of the peace ruling that his 2003 death was a suicide.
The decision by Justice of the Peace Nancy White was decried Tuesday as ill-informed and premature by a lawyer for the Air Force colonel's widow, who believes he was held and tortured before the accident that killed him.
"It's contrary to common sense," attorney Jason Davis said of Monday's ruling about the death of the Wilford Hall Medical Center psychiatrist, which gained national attention with its sensational and grisly details.
The case is open but inactive, Sheriff Roger Duncan said Tuesday.
White said in a statement that her ruling was based on "the totality of the circumstances and the information" now available.
She wouldn't discuss the case Tuesday and said her file on Shue has been sealed.
The ruling comes days after confidential settlements were reached in civil lawsuits in state and federal court among widow Tracy Shue, her husband's ex-wife, her husband's son and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.
Philip Shue's ex-wife, Nancy, held two life insurance policies totaling about $1 million as part of their 1992 divorce agreement.
In dismissing the federal lawsuit, a judge ordered $589,418 deposited by Northwestern Mutual to be released for Nancy Shue. Settlement terms were undisclosed, and it was unclear how the money would be disbursed.
Proceeds from a second policy for Nancy Shue, worth about $500,000 from USAA, are still in litigation.
White delayed ruling on the manner of Shue's death for more than two years while she reviewed investigative reports, FBI lab tests and three autopsies, including one report by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology called a "psychological autopsy."
Medical experts and White concluded Shue, 54, died from head injuries suffered when his car hit trees next to Interstate 10 just outside Boerne on April 16, 2003.
But mystery surrounds his final hours.
Emergency responders found strands of duct tape hanging from Shue's ankles and wrists, suggesting he'd been bound earlier. Further investigation showed his nipples had been cut off and a 6-inch surgical slice had been made down the center of his chest.
Tracy Shue argued that her husband of 10 years likely was abducted after leaving that morning for work and tortured and that he accidentally crashed while escaping.
"The torture led to his death; therefore, he was murdered," she said in a deposition taken for the lawsuits.
Philip Shue claimed to have been warned by anonymous letters that ex-wife Nancy Shue was plotting to kill him to collect on the life insurance policies.
Tracy Shue described Philip Shue as terrified by the letters, and she said he "was never suicidal."
A lawyer for Nancy Shue said the Florida resident had no role in the letters or the death.
Philip Shue had been treated for panic disorder and major depression, according to Tracy Shue, who said some of her husband's medical records were missing from military files.
Her lawsuit against USAA claims the company was negligent in not canceling its coverage and investigating the death after Philip Shue reported a threat to his life.
USAA's attorney, Marc Wiegand, welcomed White's ruling, saying: "As a matter of law, if he took his own life, then there is no basis for any claim against the insurance companies."
Davis, Tracy Shue's lawyer, said the investigation was flawed from the start.
"A snap judgment was made to call a crime scene with signs of torture and mutilation just an accident," he said. "Tragically, critical evidence was lost forever."
Davis expressed surprise at the timing of the ruling, saying the lawsuits have produced critical evidence yet to be shared with White. However, he said he couldn't reveal those findings.
He said his client hadn't seen the psychological autopsy.
White's suicide ruling, made as part of a death certificate that she belated issued Monday, agrees with the findings of an autopsy by the Bexar County medical examiner's office made in July 2003.
Explaining his department's ruling, Medical Examiner Vincent DiMaio cited Shue's past psychiatric problems, revisions made to his will just days before death, the presence of an anesthetic in his blood and reports from other motorists that he seemed to drive into the trees.
White's statement said she found no compelling evidence of foul play. Similar findings were reported in 2003 by grand jurors who reviewed the case.
Tracy Shue paid for a second autopsy by noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who concluded: "I do not agree that this death can simply be labeled a suicide. It is more likely that another person(s) played a role in his death."
In her deposition, Tracy Shue, who held about $1.75 million in insurance on her husband, denied any role in taping his hands or feet.
She described her husband as upbeat the night before he died, having just closed on a home in Alabama, where they planned to move after he retired in September 2003.
Records recovered from Philip Shue's files support descriptions by friends as being happily married.
"Tracy is now my life," according to one document dated September 2000 and referred to during lawsuit depositions. "She is everything I have ever dreamed of marriage as being. She is my best friend and true soul mate."
April 16, 2004:
Pathologist: Air Force colonel didn’t fake abduction, take own life
A pathologist is disputing a suicide finding in the death of an Air Force officer who was an apparent mutilation victim and may have been tied up before a car crash.
The FBI has been investigating the death of Colonel Philip M. Shue, a Wilford Hall Medical Center staff psychiatrist. The Bexar County medical examiner had theorized that Shue faked his own abduction and committed suicide in the Kendall County wreck one year ago Friday.
“I do not agree that this death can be simply labeled as a suicide,” Cyril Wecht, the forensic pathologist, said in an autopsy report released Thursday. “It is more likely that another person played a role in his death.”
Shue’s widow, Tracy, filed claims Thursday against two insurers that carried policies totaling $1 million on the 54-year-old officer, who died on April 16, 2003, in the crash near Boerne, about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio.
Wecht, who was hired by Tracy Shue after she rejected the possibility that her husband took his own life, theorized that the psychiatrist was abducted and tortured, then died in the crash after escaping.
After Shue crashed into trees on Interstate 10, rescuers who pulled his body from the wreckage said he had strands of duct tape hanging from his hands and ankles. His nipples had been cut off, part of his left pinkie was missing and there was a large surgical wound on his chest.
The crash, which resulted in lethal head injuries, had earlier been ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office.
“It’s still an active case,” Kendall County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Roger Anderson told the San Antonio Express-News in Friday’s editions.
The FBI earlier this year had shipped clothing worn by the officer to the agency’s Virginia labs for tests.
New claims by the officer’s widow against USAA and Northwestern Mutual Life contend that they failed to respond appropriately when the victim told them he’d been warned by an anonymous letter that he might be the target of a murder plot.
Attorneys for the widow claim that the insurers were negligent in refusing a request by Shue to cancel the policies.
County Medical Examiner Vincent DiMaio earlier theorized that Shue used a self-prescribed topical painkiller to numb himself before cutting off his nipples, but Wecht said lab tests show the cream wasn’t the source of anesthetic in Shue’s blood.
“What this man did the day before he died is completely inconsistent with suicide,” said Jason Davis, Tracy Shue’s attorney. “He picked up his lawn mower at the repair shop, ordered contact lenses, closed a deal on a new house and e-mailed a friend to confirm plans for dinner.”
May 03, 2004
Colonel's death not a suicide
Dr. Wecht is disputing a suicide finding in the death of Air Force officer Colonel Philip M. Shue, who was an apparent mutilation victim and may have been tied up before a car crash. The investigating medical examiner has theorized Shue faked his own abduction and committed suicide in the wreck, which occurred in April 2003.
Shue crashed into trees on Interstate 10, near San Antonio, and rescuers found him with duct tape hanging from his hands and ankles, his nipples cut off, part of his left-pink missing and a large surgical wound on his chest.
The medical examiner suggested Shue used a self-prescribed topical painkiller to numb himself before mutilating himself, but Dr. Wecht said lab tests show the cream wasn't the source of anesthetic in Shue's blood.
March 22, 2004
FBI probes colonel’s death
The death of an Air Force officer who was an apparent mutilation victim and may have been tied up before a car crash is under investigation by the FBI.
Clothing worn by Colonel Philip M. Shue, a Wilford Hall Medical Center staff psychiatrist, has been shipped to the FBI’s Virginia labs for tests.
Federal agents also will review methods and findings of toxicology tests on Shue’s blood by the Bexar County medical examiner’s office, which has already backtracked from one theory it initially espoused in the death.
“We requested some further testing to make sure that we left no stones unturned,” Kendall County Sheriff Henry Hodge told the San Antonio Express-News in Monday’s online edition.
Shue, 54, died April 16 in a car crash near Boerne, Texas, about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio.
The crash of Shue’s compact car into a stand of trees beside Interstate 10, which resulted in lethal head injuries, was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office in July.
But emergency responders found strands of duct tape dangling from Shue’s wrists and ankles in a manner suggesting that he’d been taped to a chair. Beneath Shue’s Air Force fatigues, they found that Shue’s nipples had been cut off, and he had a gaping six-inch wound down the center of his chest.
Shue years earlier had received notes warning that he was the target of a murder plot. His widow, Tracy Shue, said she believed he was abducted and tortured as he drove to work.
“He either got away or they put him back in the car,” she said. “We don’t know.”
Although a grand jury later found no compelling evidence of a crime, sheriff’s investigators haven’t ruled out foul play.
Last year, Dr. Vince DiMaio, chief medical examiner in Bexar County, Texas, amended his theory on the source of high levels of the anesthetic lidocaine found in Shue’s blood.
DiMaio first cited a topical cream that Shue had self-prescribed as the likely lidocaine source, saying he probably rubbed it in cuts to deaden pain as he mutilated himself.
“We believe he did this to himself, either to stage a ’kidnapping and mutilation’ to support all those letters, and didn’t really intend to die,” DiMaio said then. “Or he intended to do the same thing and die.”
Later, however, DiMaio eliminated Emla cream as the possible lidocaine source upon realizing that lab tests hadn’t found a second painkiller that is also in the cream.
“I don’t know what to believe, or not to believe, as far as the toxicology reports coming from Dr. DiMaio’s office, or the entire autopsy report,” said Tracy Shue.
DiMaio said it merely meant the lidocaine had been injected in Shue.
The officer’s family hired famed forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht last summer to perform a second autopsy. His report is pending. Justice of the Peace Nancy White has delayed ruling on whether Shue’s manner of death was natural, homicide, suicide, accidental or undetermined.
Shue’s widow is certain that foul play befell her spouse of 10 years, said her attorney, Jason Davis.
“We’re encouraged that the ongoing investigation by local and federal authorities will reveal the truth,” he said last week.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003:
The widow of Air Force psychiatrist Colonel Philip M. Shue is waging a legal battle to prove her husband was murdered. Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Shue (Ret.) , a former Air Force nurse herself, has hired famed medical examiner Dr. Cyril Wecht to prove the official Bextar County autopsy ruling of "suicide" a fraud. The "suicidal" Shue was found with his nipples surgically removed and other signs of torture.
Mrs. Shue told MilitaryCorruption.com that her husband had been receiving death threats.
Shue worked at Wilford Hall Medical Center on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Wilford Hall is the largest military hospital and, according to testimony before the 1996 Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, psychiatric observations of Gulf War veterans suffering unknown illnesses were conducted there.
he Pentagon, of course, has written off most complaints of illness related to the first Gulf War as "psychosomatic". And the first reports of "mystery illness" are just now trickling in from Gulf War II.
USAF Colonel Killed In Suspicious Car Crash
Duct Tape Found On Wrists/Boots
Family Offers $50,000 Reward
Enraged Wife Says Husband Was 'Abducted And Tortured'
20 June 2003
April 16, 2003 began like most any duty day for Colonel Philip M. Shue of Boerne, Texas.
The 26-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force rose early, had breakfast with his wife Tracy, and headed out to his job as a staff psychiatrist at nearby Wilford Hall Medical Center.
He kissed Tracy goodbye and climbed into his 1995 Mercury Tracer for the daily commute. The next time his wife of 10 years saw her husband, he was dead.
The Kendall County Sheriff's Department is understandably "tight-lipped" about what happened between the time Shue left home, around 5:45 a.m., and when his body was discovered in his wrecked vehicle on an Interstate 10 access road more than two hours later.
Results of an autopsy done by civilian authorities - with an Air Force pathologist present (who was forbidden by his superiors from speaking with Mrs. Shue) - have not been released. However, preliminary findings from the local medical examiner indicate Shue died of massive head trauma when his speeding vehicle careened into several trees - not from the torture or wounds inflicted upon his body.
But from informed sources within the investigation and Shue herself, MilitaryCorruption.com has pieced together what may have led to the Colonel's death.
"I've been told my husband was painfully tortured," Shue said. "Duct tape was found on his wrists and around his boots, indicating that he had been waylaid and bound.
"His wallet and hospital badge were missing, and whoever grabbed him, left a money clip with $47 untouched.
"We don't know who did it - although I have my suspicions. And they have been passed on to the proper authorities. But I am sure of one thing. Philip was desperately trying to get back home when he had the crash."
The psychiatrist's vehicle was discovered smashed into several trees on Johns Road, not far from his Brentwood Drive residence. His car was headed in the opposite direction from his place of work.
Several motorists told police they saw the death car moving "erratically" down the highway, at one point on the median before the vehicle suddenly veered off Interstate 10 and failed to make a curve on the access road.
"He either feared I was being harmed, or was trying to get away from someone and warn me," his loving wife said through her tears.
DEATH THREATS AGAINST DR. SHUE
MilitaryCorruption.com has obtained copies of a series of letters, all unsigned, that Col. Shue had received over the past few years.
In one, a person purporting to be the colonel's "friend" tells him:
Dear Dr. Shue,
Please read this letter. You may be in danger.
I'm writing because I remember you as such a kind and caring doctor, and I can't just sit by and not help you by telling you what I know. I'll try to keep it short so your (sic) certain to read it.
A friend of mine who worked with (name deleted by MCC), your ex-wife's husband, told me some skary (sic) things. I don't know (name deleted by MCC) or your ex-wife myself. Sorry, I don't even know her name. My friend told me they wish you were dead so they could collect life insurance. I don't understand why they would have life insurance on you, but that's what my friend told me. My friend thinks they may actually be planning something.
I don't know if they would actually hurt you, but please be careful. I had to write. If I didn't, I couldn't bare (sic) the thought of something bad happening to you that I could have prevented by telling you what I heard.
If I hear anything more specific I will let you know. Please be careful. I'm sorry to worry you, but I just couldn't not write and find out later that I could have stopped a bad thing from happening.
The last message Col. Shue received from the anonymous "friend" was this short and cryptic note:
The plan is now delayed, but not canceled. Be careful.
I can't identify myself because they may find out and stop letting information slip.
A SENSE OF FOREBODING
The editors of this web site have seen various correspondence Col. Shue sent his ex-wife - who held a $1,000,000 life insurance policy on him - and it is clear that the officer feared she might be seeking his premature death.
The present Mrs. Shue declined to say exactly who she thought was responsible for the campaign of terror against her husband, but did ask rhetorically: "Who stood to gain the most?"
MilitaryCorruption.com is not publishing the name of the ex-wife (now remarried) because an ongoing investigation is partly focused on certain parties and possible accomplices, both in Texas and Florida.
In an August 20, 2000 letter to USAA Life Insurance (Fraud Division) in San Antonio, Col. Shue states his fears in no uncertain terms:
"My former wife and her husband would prefer that I die of natural causes. However, the longer I live, the more tempting it becomes for them to act on their plans for my murder. They then would not have to continue paying premiums, and could immediately collect on two $500,000 policies."
Col. Shue went on to ask the insurers that his death be "thoroughly examined for evidence of foul play - even if on the surface the cause would appear natural or accidental."
BADLY TREATED BY THE O.S.I.
As the wife of a full colonel on active duty, Tracy Shue was appalled at the behavior of the Air Force O.S.I. (Office of Special Investigations) agent at Lackland, Air Force Base, San Antonio.
"I went there with my sister to make a statement," Mrs. Shue told our reporter. "I couldn't understand why more than a week after my husband's death, I had not been contacted by O.S.I. and had to seek them out myself. When I met with the agent, I couldn't believe his attitude.
"He had this weird smile on his face while he talked in circles, not giving us any real guidance or help. It was like he either didn't care I had lost my husband to a horrible death or he was amused somehow by it. He didn't lose that smirk at any time throughout his condescending remarks.
"I finally had to interrupt his rambling, long enough to ask him why he was smiling like that. I inquired what it was he found to be so 'humorous.' He claimed nothing did, and got up to go get his superior officer.
"When the female major arrived, she tried to establish her authority and brushed me off with a curt remark that 'we'll have to schedule an appointment to take the statement.'
"I told her 'We'll do it right now,' so she had to accept it without any further delay.
"What gets me, is the Air Force knew of the death threats against my husband before he died, and yet they blew them off.
"The O.S.I. is well aware of the suspicious nature of my husband's death, yet they showed a callous disregard for my suffering. There is no excuse for the way I was treated.
"Other than that day, I have not heard from them since," said the grieving widow.
Tracy Shue and her family are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her husband's abduction and torture.
"Hopefully that amount of money will result in someone coming forward with what they know," Mrs. Shue said.
Anyone having information is asked to call (800) 848-8500
Colonel Shue was laid to rest with military honors in Arlington national Cemetery on 28 October 2005.