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Severed finger leads to search of Gulf


Severed finger leads to search of Gulf

August 9, 2004

By Scottie Williams / The Daily News

PORT BOLIVAR -- Sheriff's deputies and Coast Guard crews were scouring the Gulf for a body after a severed finger was found in a motel room Friday afternoon.

A cleaning woman at the Fisherman's Cove Motel, in the 700 block of state Highway 87, found a note taped to a door as she made her rounds. She took the note to the manager, who saw it was a suicide note. When the manager went into the room, he found a man's left ring finger with a wedding band around it. The digit rested on a divorce decree. The last time anyone in his family talked to Stephen Douglas James, 49, was Monday when he spoke to his brother over the telephone. James note detailed a plan to take his kayak into the ship channel and drown himself.

The kayak was found about 1:10 p.m. Friday, about an hour after the motel manager called the Galveston County Sheriff¹s Office. It was about a quarter-mile from shore, near the Ship Channel's mouth, Sgt. Mike Barry said.

Coast Guard crews and members of the sheriff's office marine division searched the waters around the motel but found no other trace of James on Friday.

Barry said he found no signs that anyone else harmed James, who was facing criminal charges in Bastrop County. Investigators did not know what the charges were on Friday.

Barry asked anyone who found the body or had any information about James' whereabouts to call the sheriff's office, at 409-766-2322.

2004 Aug 9