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The Texas Tribune-ProPublica Investigative Unit

Texas public records loophole lets cities keep suicide reports from families of dead soldiers

Texas law allows officials to withhold police records if no one was convicted in a case. At least one city has used this rule to deny the release of suicide records. A new bill aims to close this loophole.

by Vianna Davila, The Texas Tribune and ProPublica
Photographs of Logan Castello are displayed on a mantle at Patty Troyan’s home, Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Saint Clairsville, Ohio.

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Patty Troyan, 49, poses for her portrait at her home Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Saint Clairsville, Ohio. When Troyan’s son Logan Castello committed suicide in November 2019 in his Central Texas home, she immediately went searching for answers, trying to understand what might have led the young soldier to take his own life. Castello was a private first class in the Army, stationed at nearby Fort Hood but had died in his off-post home in Killeen. The city of Killeen legal department sent her 11 pages of police records. Almost all of them were redacted. Killeen officials denied Troyan the records by citing an exception in Texas’ public records law that allows law enforcement agencies to withhold or highly redact police reports if no one has been charged or convicted in the case.

Left only with questions

Kenny Castello, 50, poses for his portrait at his home Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Barnesville, Ohio. When Castello’s son Logan Castello committed suicide in November 2019 in his Central Texas home, he immediately went searching for answers, trying to understand what might have led the young soldier to take his own life. Castello’s father Kenny was stunned when the city of Killeen’s legal department sent 11 pages of police records, almost all of them redacted. Killeen officials denied Kenny Castello the records by citing an exception in Texas’ public records law that allows law enforcement agencies to withhold or highly redact police reports if no one has been charged or convicted in the case.
Logan Castello’s dog tags and a cross with some of his ashes are worn by his father Kenny Castello, 50, Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Barnesville, Ohio. Castello said the sergeant who attended his son’s funeral took them off of Castello’s body and gave them to him before the cremation.


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