Police arrest suspect in murder of homeless woman

Police arrest suspect in murder of homeless woman

A Beaumont man is behind bars on Capital Murder charges following the sexual assault and murder of a local homeless woman, reports the Beaumont Police Department. 

Officer Carol Riley reports that police have arrested 26-year-old Brandon Julian Jamol Coleman for the murder of 54-year-old Catherine Dungan. 

Dungan's body was discovered in the parking lot of Collier's Ferry Park in the 5300 block of Pine Street in Beaumont at about 6:20 p.m. on June 24. Evidence at the scene led investigators to suspect foul play, according to BPD. Riley reports that BPD's investigation revealed Coleman had kidnapped, bound and apparently sexually assaulted Dungan.

Coleman was arrested and taken to the police station to speak with investigators on June 28. He was then transported to Jefferson County Jail and booked in for Capital Murder in the early morning hours of June 29.

According to a criminal database search, Coleman has been arrested previously in Beaumont and Lumberton for charges including robbery, unlawfully carrying a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. The database indicates he received probation for the offenses and was still on probation for state jail felony level possession of a controlled substance charges at the time he allegedly killed Dungan. 

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Full original story from The Examiner newspaper:

Investigators suspect foul play in the death of a local homeless woman found at Collier’s Ferry Park over the weekend, reports the Beaumont Police Department (BPD).

According to BPD Officer Haley Morrow, units responded to the park at 5360 Pine St. on June 24 at 6:20 p.m. in reference to a deceased female found at the location.

Overnight, detectives were able to identify the victim as Catherine Jane Dungan, a 54-year-old Beaumont woman with no permanent address.

Morrow indicated that the department has had difficulty finding Dungan’s next of kin, but said they have discovered that Dungan stayed with a few people around the area. Morrow said Dungan listed her address as Henry’s Place on McFaddin Street in Beaumont, a nonprofit organization that provides people in need a place to shower, wash clothes, and receive mail if they have no permanent address. Some Other Place (SOP), just down the road from Henry’s Place on Magnolia Street, provides meals for food-insecure individuals. SOP director Paula O’Neal oversees the nonprofit entities. She was dismayed to hear of Dungan’s possible homicide.

“What’s so shocking about it is that she was such an introvert and kept to herself,” O’Neal shared. “It is sad. It was a real shock.”

Dungan was rumored to have spent her nights in a shed behind a house in the neighborhoods surrounding Henry’s Place. She was convicted of possession of a controlled substance at the state jail felony level in Jefferson County in 2010 stemming from a 2009 arrest. She had spent time in prison in Hunstville after being convicted of assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony, stemming from a Dec. 26, 2004, incident in Fort Worth.

Morrow reports that the preliminary autopsy “is indicative of a homicide.” She said the full autopsy and toxicology report would take about six weeks to complete and would provide more conclusive results.

Detectives are following several leads, and are still investigating. They ask that anyone who was in the area of Collier’s Ferry Park between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m. on June 24 call Beaumont police at (409) 832-1234. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Southeast Texas Crime Stoppers at (409) 833-TIPS (8477). 

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