Parents still question death of daughter two years later

February 6, 2013

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Even after two years, the anguish is still a heavy burden for Ranny and Nancy Danley over the unexpected death of their daughter, Renee Annetta Hubbard.

Hubbard’s body was found on Feb. 12, 2011, face-down in about 10 inches of water in a small creek behind a neighbor’s house next door to where she lived with her husband, Chris “Boots” Hubbard, in the Treaty Oaks subdivision in southern Hood County. Hubbard had just celebrated her 52nd birthday, and tomorrow she would have turned 54.

Nancy Danley said she has been meeting with counselors Phyllis and Bill Brewer through St. Francis Catholic Church to try and deal with her grief.

“We just haven’t had any closure,” Nancy said. “I’m still having nightmares. (Ranny) is still very sad. We never harmed anybody. This is just the worst thing we’ve ever gone through.

“My son (Lon, of San Antonio) has really been affected by it because they were very close. She always fought his battles. I saw her the Tuesday before that Saturday (when Renee died). She was just as happy as she could be. I have so many great memories with her, being my last child and the baby.”

The mystery of exactly what led to Hubbard being found, partially clothed, outside in temperatures that dropped into the 20s that morning remains unexplained. The Sheriff’s Office report stated that a pair of pink and white boots was found almost 32 feet from the back door of the Hubbards’ home, and a red shirt – which was wet when found by investigators – was 96 feet away from her body, investigators said. Hubbard was found partially in the water clothed in a bra, underwear and sweat pants, with no shirt or shoes, according to reports.

“None of that makes any sense,” Nancy Danley said. “Her shoes were at the house, and she was scared of snakes.”

Justice of the Peace Judy Watson, who was called to the scene of Hubbard’s death, said of the circumstances of the death at that time, “It’s just all very peculiar.”

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Fort Worth ruled that the cause of Hubbard’s death was drowning. The manner of death was listed as “undetermined.” A Hood County Sheriff’s Office’s news release stated Hubbard’s death “was caused by accidental drowning” and that “none of the evidence indicated any possibility of foul play in the unattended death.”

In late June 2011, the investigation was reopened under the direction of Texas Ranger Danny Briley, in cooperation with other investigators.

“He reviewed the whole case, and came to the same conclusion, that it was an accident and there wasn’t anything intentional to it,” Deeds said Monday morning.

After hearing what the sheriff had to say, Nancy Danley still could not accept that as a final answer.

“I just don’t think it’s over,” said Nancy Danley, who will mark 36 years as a successful Mary Kay distributor on April 1.

What she has in mind is to present the case to an investigative program on television, such as “Unsolved Mysteries” or “Dateline.”

“I’m planning on figuring out how to do it,” she said. “Everybody’s encouraging me.”

Deeds indicated that he felt for the Danleys as they continue to deal with the death.

“It’s a very sad case, and I’m definitely sorry for her loss,” Deeds said. “I wish I could bring her back, but I can’t. Unfortunately, everybody was coming to the same conclusion.”

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