Jay Root Reporter

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Recent Contributions

To Die or to Leave: Migrants Flee the Murder Capital of the World

Meet some of the Central Americans who are fleeing violence and abject poverty at home, only to endure shakedowns and abuse on their way to an uncertain future in the United States. This mini-documentary is part of our Bordering on Insecurity project.

 

Meet some of the Central Americans who are fleeing violence and abject poverty at home, only to endure shakedowns and abuse on their way to an uncertain future in the United States. This mini-documentary is part of our Bordering on Insecurity project.

 

Central Americans Fleeing Poverty, Gang Wars Driven to U.S. Border

The body of an alleged gang member following a shootout in Ayagualo, El Salvador, in May 2016 that police say began when one of their patrols was ambushed.
The body of an alleged gang member following a shootout in Ayagualo, El Salvador, in May 2016 that police say began when one of their patrols was ambushed.

The challenge of securing the southern U.S. border is changing dramatically as fewer Mexicans cross illegally, but more Central Americans arrive seeking refuge from the terror and chaos of their home countries.

Focus Shifts to Border Patrol Agent's Brother

The Luna brothers, including Border Patrol agent Joel (center), were indicted on capital murder and organized crime charges in the 2015 beheading death of a Honduran immigrant. Eldest brother Fernando (right) struck a deal with prosecutors on Aug. 25, 2016, and the most serious charges against him were dropped. Now the focus has shifted to the alleged Gulf Cartel ties of youngest brother Eduardo (left).
The Luna brothers, including Border Patrol agent Joel (center), were indicted on capital murder and organized crime charges in the 2015 beheading death of a Honduran immigrant. Eldest brother Fernando (right) struck a deal with prosecutors on Aug. 25, 2016, and the most serious charges against him were dropped. Now the focus has shifted to the alleged Gulf Cartel ties of youngest brother Eduardo (left).

New disclosures in the capital murder case involving a U.S. Border Patrol agent point to the central role allegedly played by the agent's younger brother, described in court papers as a Gulf Cartel “commander.” 

Indicted Border Patrol Agent's Brother Strikes Deal in Beheading Case

Suspects (l-r) Aaron Rodriguez Medellin, Eduardo Luna Rodriguez and Joel Luna Rodriguez stand before District 107 Judge Benjamin Euresti on Thursday for their arraignment on murder charges.
Suspects (l-r) Aaron Rodriguez Medellin, Eduardo Luna Rodriguez and Joel Luna Rodriguez stand before District 107 Judge Benjamin Euresti on Thursday for their arraignment on murder charges.

The brother of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder in a gruesome beheading that authorities say was a Mexican cartel hit struck a surprise deal Thursday to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against his siblings and other defendants.

How Investigators Linked a Headless Body to a Border Patrol Agent

Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.
Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.

When Franky Palacios Paz was found naked and decapitated floating off South Padre Island, the local sheriff thought the murder would lead investigators back to Mexican drug cartel violence. He didn't expect a U.S. Border Patrol agent to be among those arrested.

A Border Rancher on the Art of Survival

Ruperto Escobar on his South Texas ranch along the Rio Grande, the international boundary between the United States and Mexico, in April 2016. For generations, smugglers have used his family's ranch to move people and product across the border, and Escobar doesn't see that changing anytime soon.
Ruperto Escobar on his South Texas ranch along the Rio Grande, the international boundary between the United States and Mexico, in April 2016. For generations, smugglers have used his family's ranch to move people and product across the border, and Escobar doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

For more than two centuries, the Escobar family has ranched along the Rio Grande. For almost as long, smugglers have moved people and product across their property.