Granbury man charged with murder

By: Sarah Hayner

Associate Producer

The Hood County Sheriff’s Office has released a statement that Granbury resident Edward Pautenis, 59, has been charged with felony first-degree murder and felony third-degree tampering with evidence in the case of the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Pautenis, 29. 

Jennifer Pautenis has been missing since the night of Oct. 20, 2019. She was last seen by her husband, Edward Pautenis. They had just gotten back from a family vacation in Tennessee when Jennifer Pautenis disappeared while unpacking her van. 

Daisy Thornton, the sister of Jennifer Pautenis, said that she was called in as “missing” when she did not arrive to work. 

Jennifer Pautenis went missing on Oct. 20, 2019.
Photo courtesy Missing Persons Network, originally published by NBC News.

 Jennifer Pautenis went missing on Oct. 20, 2019. 
Photo courtesy Missing Persons Network, originally published by NBC News. 

“Her husband did not make the 911 call. She was supposed to show up for work Monday morning and did not show up,” Thornton said. “They (employees at Life Care EMS) were concerned. My sister works at Life Care EMS, she is an EMS dispatcher. She has been there for a little over a year now, and she has never missed one single day. They were concerned, so they thought something was wrong.” 

Thornton says that Life Care EMS contacted her sister’s emergency contact, which is listed as her 17-year-old brother. After learning that he had not seen or heard from her, Life Care EMS called the police. 

“When my brother told them that he hadn’t seen her or spoken to her, they called the law and had the police go straight over to her house. Then he (Edward) said that he wasn’t concerned about her, that he thinks she left him for another man,” Thornton said. 

Thornton says that her sister and her sister’s husband have had some struggles in their marriage in the past, but she believes her sister did not leave him for another man. 

“He is going on about how she left him for another man, and he has been basically slandering her name. For her to leave him for another man is just not true,” Thornton said. 

Edward Pautenis was arrested on Dec. 4, 2019. 
Photo courtesy Hood County Sheriff’s Office

When Thornton contacted Edward Pautenis, she couldn’t get any information from him about her sister’s disappearance. 

“I talked to him the first night and after talking to him, to be honest, I couldn’t talk to him anymore… He would just elude the whole situation of my sister,” Thornton said. “It was basically a narcissist talking about himself. I just couldn’t do it anymore.” 

Thornton said that Edward Pautenis took her sister’s van somewhere and that no one could find it. 

“He rented a U-Haul trailer, loaded up the van on top of the trailer, and said he was towing something else other than the van,” Thornton said. “He took it somewhere, we don’t know where.” 

Thornton’s Facebook page for her sister, “Jenn Pautenis missing in Granbury Texas from Fort Pierce Florida,” is still active and groups have been conducting searches (sic). She says this is how she knew about her sister’s van being hauled off by a U-Haul trailer. 

“I have created a search group… The community has come together, and they were watching her husband. They watched him load up her van on a U-Haul trailer. I would’ve never known that if it wasn’t for them,” Thornton said. 

“I don’t know if its missing, but it’s not there,” Mike Mulkey, a neighbor of the Pautenis’, said about the van’s whereabouts. 

Members of the Facebook page have been posting speculation about her abandoned van being found in Florida. 

“I had a hunch that he brought it here (Florida), so I decided to check all his address that were affiliated with him. We found it at his ex-employers,” Thornton said. 

Senior Forensic Death Investigator for Johnson County and the lead investigator on the Pautenis’ case, Gary Morris, confirmed that they did find Jennifer Pautenis’ van in Florida. 

Before Edward Pautenis was charged with murder, Texan News tried to interview him. However, a deputy sheriff was parked in the front yard of the Pautenis’ residence, and he would not let Texan News interview Edward Pautenis, saying that the house was an “open crime scene.” 

“He may have had motive, but he gained nothing. He just lost his income, she was the bread winner. I don’t know how they are getting by,” Mulkey said. 

Thornton claims that Edward Pautenis had not tried to search for his wife since she went missing. 

“He is not concerned… For her to disappear in thin air, there’s something definitely wrong,” Thornton said. “Whatever he did to her, he is trying to cover up his tracks.” 

Hood County Public Information Officer, Lt. Johnny Rose, released a statement on Dec 4, 2019, regarding Edward Pautenis arrest. 

“We are currently working a scene in Hood County where human remains are being recovered and may be the remains of Jennifer Pautenis. The remains will be sent to forensic lab for identification and processing for DNA to confirm the identity of the remains,” Rose said. 

“I’m glad to see this case move forward. My investigators have worked non-stop since Jennifer was reported missing and my hope is, we give Jennifer’s family some type of closure on this terrible tragedy,” Hood County Sheriff, Roger Deeds, said.

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