Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Bodies Found on Donaldson Ranch

Tragedy strikes at Sam Donaldson's New Mexico ranch

From the DETROIT FREE PRESS July 9, 2004

Sadly, it's something readers of western shoot-'em-ups might expect in a place called Hondo, N.M.

ABC newsman Sam Donaldson -- he of the comb-over hair-do -- owns three ranches in southern New Mexico and described Delbert Paul Posey, his wife and children as a happy, well-adjusted family that had run his Hondo outposts for more than two years.

So Donaldson knew something terrible had happened at his Chavez Canyon Ranch when he went to check on the family and discovered what Lincoln County Sheriff Tom Sullivan called an "obvious crime scene." Deputies found three bodies in a shallow grave.

Posey's 14-year-old son, Cody, was arrested on charges of killing his father, stepmother and stepsister, authorities said.

The dead were identified as Posey, Tryone Posey and Mary Lee Schmid, 14.

In a statement, Donaldson said he and his wife, Jan, hired Posey to work at the ranch in October 2001. "Jan and I are so very, very sorry about the loss of these fine people," he said.

Donaldson said on "Good Morning America" Thursday morning that the family was an "all-American ranch family" and that he didn't see trouble beforehand.

"Paul was a little hard on his son, but that's the way . . . you raise young men. I never saw Paul raise his voice or his hand in anger to his son," Donaldson said. "He clearly expected a lot of him."

Donaldson added Cody Posey was "withdrawn, like any typical teenager."

District Attorney Scot Key said Cody Posey would be tried as a juvenile but could be punished as an adult if convicted.

He said punishment could range from probation under juvenile law to 30 years in prison.

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