Sheriff Parnell McNamara Rides Herd On The Lawless Solving Cold Cases
Play • 33 min

Sheriff Parnell McNamara promised his constituents in McLennan County, Texas around Waco that he would actively pursue cold cases.

McNamara was elected for a third four-year term in January of 2021. And he has made good on his campaign pledge to open up homicide cases that had been long forgotten.

Because as McNamara sees it no one should get away with murder and the victim’s family deserves to know what happened.

The McNamara clan started in law enforcement in 1902 with Guy McNamara who President Franklin Roosevelt later appointed as a U.S. Marshal in 1933.

You may recall from our earlier episodes about serial killer Kenneth McDuff, that it was the brothers, Deputy U.S. MarshalsParnell and Mike McNamara that launched the manhunt for McDuff with my co-host former U.S. prosecutor Bill Johnston

After 36 years with the U.S. Marshals Service, Parnell McNamara reached the mandatory retirement age.  

He retired for nine years but was not willing to be put out to pasture as they say here in Texas.

He was elected Sheriff in 2011 on a campaign slogan of “Riding Herd on the Lawless.”

McNamara wearing his trademark Stetson cowboy hat is a throwback to the old West.  

The western historical decor in his office looks like a modern-day Dodge City occupied by Wyatt Earp. 

I sat down to talk to Sheriff McNamara and the Captain of his cold case unit Steve January.

They started by giving me a challenge coin for the unit.  

It features the “Dead Man’s Hand In Poker”, the combination of cards that “Wild Bill” Hickok was holding when he was shot dead point-blank in the back of the head. 

Like I said this is the old west where McNamara still forms a posse to hunt down fugitives. 

And one more thing. McNamara was the inspiration for Jeff Bridge’s role in Come Hell or High Water which was written by his cousin Taylor Sheridan, best known now for Yellowstone

Saddle up your horse. Here’s my interview from inside the crime scene tape with Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

If you wish to make a contribution to Sheriff McNamara's Cold Case Unit, send it to:

McLennan County Sheriff's Office

Attn: Capt. Steve January

901 Washington Ave, Waco, TX 76701

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