from my sketchbook: debora sue schatz

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deliver the letter, the sooner the better

Twenty-three year old Debora Sue Schatz, on the job as a mail carrier for just over a year and a half, was doing a favor for a co-worker. On June 7, 1984, immediately after finishing up her daily route, Debora drove to a more affluent section of West Houston to cover for a fellow mail carrier who needed some time off. She started off down the 10300 block of Lynwood Hollow and disappeared. The next morning, Debora’s postal vehicle was found containing some undelivered mail and her purse. A little after midnight, Debora’s body was discovered in a wooded area in northwest Houston with two bullets in her head.

Police began an investigation and combed the neighborhood, questioning anyone and everyone. Bernard and Odette Port, residents of Lynwood Hollow told investigating officers that their teenage son David had taken their car the day before and had not been seen since. A search of the teen’s room turned up bloody clothing, shell casings and a recently-fired pistol. David arrived home during the search and, upon seeing police cars in front of his house, sped away. Police arrested the boy when he crashed his parents’ car after a short high-speed chase.

While in custody, David Port confessed to officers that he had forced Debora up the stairs of his home to his bedroom at gunpoint, then shot her when she tried to escape. He explained that he put the body in the trunk of his parents’ car and dumped it in the woods.

David Port was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison in 1985, Two years later, an appeal overturned the conviction, citing an inadmissible verbal confession. Five years later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the lower court’s ruling, and Port was returned to prison. However, after 26 years, Port would be eligible for release with supervision, under a 1977 ruling designed to ease prison overcrowding.

In January 2001, the Debora Sue Schatz Memorial Post Office was opened on Rogerdale Road in Houston with a dedication ceremony.




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