Authorities Charge Mother of Accused SAU Horse Thief

The mother of the former Southern Arkansas University (SAU) student accused of stealing horses belonging to members of the school's collegiate rodeo team is facing criminal charges for allegedly planning the thefts in order to sell the animals for profit.

In November five Quarter Horses belonging to members of the SAU collegiate rodeo team were taken from the university's Mulerider Stables on the school's Magnolia, Ark., campus. A horse trailer and a variety of equestrian equipment also taken from the stables were recovered shortly after the incident. Four of the missing horses and the remains of the fifth horse were later recovered in McCurtain County, Okla.

In December, Arkansas State Police arrested Jaci Jackson and charged her with six counts felony theft of property in Arkansas, and three felony charges in Oklahoma in connection with the thefts. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the Arkansas felony charges.

In June, Jackson's mother Wendi Cox, surrendered to McCurtain County, Okla., law enforcement authorities who charged her with cruelty to animals and knowingly concealing stolen property in connection with the death of a 15-year-old gelding, Credit Card, whose mutilated and dismembered remains were discovered by McCurtain County law enforcement personnel shortly after the theft. William "Billy" Hamilton, Jr., has also been charged in that case.

On July 26, law enforcement authorities in Columbia County, Ark., also charged Cox with four counts of theft of property over $5,000 and two counts of theft of property over $25,000 in connection with the thefts.

Cox was unavailable for comment.

An arrest warrant affidavit alleges that prior to the thefts, Cox toured the Mulerider Stables along with Jackson, Hamilton, and a juvenile. Then using a diagram of the stables prepared by Jackson, Cox and Hamilton allegedly devised a plan for Hamilton and the juvenile to steal the horses and bring the animals to Cox's barn. Hamilton and the juvenile have admitted the stole the horses and trailers, the affidavit said.

Investigators initially believed that revenge against one of the rodeo team members motivated the thefts. However according to the affidavit, investigators now believe that the animals were stolen to be sold for profit. Investigators also believe Credit Card was killed due to the difficulty involved in selling such a well known horse, the affidavit said.

Brenda Garrett, assistant to Columbia County, Ark., deputy prosecuting attorney David Butler, said that on July 27, Cox appeared in Columbia County Court in connection with the charges. No further information was available.

Meanwhile, the case against Jackson remains pending.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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