The day after a fake document claiming to have information about a sheriff’s candidate fathering an illegitimate child surfaced, questions still surround who created the document and their intentions behind it.
A number of Faulkner County residents received packets, mailed from Hooks, Texas, indicating that sheriff’s Maj. Andy Shock had fathered an illegitimate child with a woman in 2008. Included in the packet were documents purporting to be a birth certificate listing Shock as the father and a document indicating a legal action regarding child support.
The Bowie County, Texas, county clerk, Denise Thornburg, quickly pronounced the birth certificate a fake Monday morning. Thornburg also said that the signature on the certificate did not appear to be one of any official associated with the office. The Log Cabin has not been able to verify if the woman listed in the fake birth certificate actually exists.
Shock is one of four Republican candidates for sheriff.
Tim Ryals, another GOP candidate, said he and his wife had no knowledge of the document or the attempt to ruin Shock’s campaign. Ryals also said he was saddened by the direction that the sheriff’s race has taken.
"My first impression was that it was a hoax," Ryals said. "It is a disgrace to the whole sheriff’s race. I hope that somebody has to answer to this to the fullest extent of the law."
Ryals said that this type of attempted sabotage casts doubt on all the sheriff’s candidates, but he said he did not believe that the document originated from any other sheriff’s hopefuls.
"I don’t think anyone would jeopardize their campaign like that," he said.
Max Young, another GOP candidate, said he had no knowledge of the document or its origin.
"It is crazy," Young said. "I have been in law enforcement for 38 years, and whoever did this would not only ruin their political life, but it could also ruin their life as a citizen."
Young agreed with Ryals that the perpetrator of this hoax should be prosecuted.
"This is so hard on Andy and his family, and then this is hard on the rest of us because now there will be accusations about every one [of the sheriff candidates]," Young said.
Tommy Earnhart, the lone Democratic candidate for sheriff, also denied having any knowledge of the document’s origin, and he said that "anybody who would do that type of thing is a low life."
"I talked to Andy earlier, and I thought it was a joke," Earnhart said. "It’s total nonsense. Let the candidates run instead of making this horrible stuff up."
Earnhart said everyone will have to work harder now to get the sheriff’s office "out of the gutter."
"We now have to try and get the good name back," he said. "This kind of thing cannot be tolerated."
When asked if he knew about the origin of the document, Republican candidate H. Allen Smith declined to comment. When asked to clarify, Smith said, "Are you accusing me of a crime?" When asked a third time whether he knew about the document before it was sent to residents, he replied, "No." He declined to comment further.
County Attorney Stephan Hawks said he received one of the packets at his residence.
"Whoever did this put a lot of time and effort into it. It was mailed from Hooks, Texas," he said. "It’s bad someone is willing to go to these lengths to do this. If you can’t win a race just to win a race, that’s bad; to defame someone, that’s just wrong. ... I can promise you I’m going to turn over the documents I received. ... It’s an attempt at political homicide. They’re trying to get Andy, and it’s wrong."
The Republican candidates will meet in the May 22 primary election. Earnhart will face the GOP primary winner in the November general election.
Smith is from Greenbrier. The other candidates are from Conway.