EXCLUSIVE: Family of Murder Victim Claims They Weren't Notified After Double Murder in Grandfalls

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS - The family of a murdered man in Grandfalls wants answers. They told NewsWest 9 they found out about their son's death from a friend. The family lives hundreds of miles way in Illinois. They says when they called the Sheriff's Office for information, they couldn't get any and ended up finding out the details on our NewsWest 9 website.

The entire town of Grandfalls is still shaken up after the double murder of Christina Stafford and Travis Dewitt. So one can only imagine how Cliff Dewitt of Illinois, father of Travis, feels.

He says a friend of Travis's, not a law enforcement officials, notified him of his sons murder. From that moment on, the pursuit began trying to get answers.

"I was waiting around here, waiting for somebody in law enforcement to call, or call our Sheriff or our Police Department. They would send an officer down you know just to get confirmation, that it was him," Dewitt said.

He says after calling multiple times, he finally got a hold of Ward County Sheriff, who according to him, didn't tell him much.

"Finally at 12:37 a.m. (Thursday) he called back and he said the same thing that it was an ongoing investigation and he couldn't say much," Dewitt said.

He is not the only family member who wasn't notified properly of the double murder. Barbara Stafford, ex mother-in-law of Christina says, she found out in a different way.

"Just as quick as we heard it on the scanners, my son called the Sheriff's Department and they told us to get up there," Stafford said.

However, Sheriff Strickland tells NewsWest 9 since they didn't know the real name of Travis, they had to find proper identification to call his next of kin, according to Strickland, Travis's friend had already informed the Dewitt family of Travis's death.

"I spoke to Mr. Dewitt for several minutes and he said he in fact had already been notified so actually he probably already knew that his son had died before we knew who his son was," Strickland said.

Strickland says he gave the Dewitt family all the information that he was able to provide to them.

"I told him what had happened, that his son's body would be going to the funeral home here, then it would be going to autopsy and  that I had already spoken to the funeral home. I told him that the suspect was in the hospital at Medical Center and had been charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder."

Strickland tells NewsWest 9 no matter the case, they will not release the names of any victims until the family is notified first.

"It's always been our protocol and most of the small departments here that we will not release the names until the next of kin has been notified," Strickland said.