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Detective Carrie Shatner

Shutterstock - Zoom-Team

Hey, y’all. I’m Carrie Shatner.  No relation to William Shatner, unfortunately. But I am related to the Shatners of Wyatt County in East Texas. You know, those Shatners.

Oh, you don’t know.

Then let me explain…

I am descended from a long line of criminals. And I do mean long. We have a real bad habit of breaking the law, and a talent for running from officers of the law. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a genetic mutation in our DNA that causes most of the Shatners to turn to a life of crime. Or maybe it’s just the way we were raised.

As for me, I’m not a criminal. I do my best to fight my genetic predisposition to break the law. No, my moral compass might not point north. But it does point in the general direction of northwest.

My family can trace our origins back to seventeenth century England. And, over all of those hundreds of years, the Shatners have broken nearly every law and committed just about every crime – whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor – known to mankind. I guess you could call all this law breaking a family tradition.

Breaking the law is actually what brought the Shatners to the American Colonies in the early seventeen hundreds. You remember how the English used to ship their convicts and other ‘undesirables’ to the Colonies prior to the American Revolutionary War? Well, a couple of Shatners were among those convicts and ‘undesirables’ that got sent over on a prison ship that landed off the coast of North Carolina.

It was my great-great-great-great-grandfather who moved from North Carolina to Texas in the years after the Civil War. He settled in Wyatt County when he was a teenager. In the years since settling in Texas, generations of Shatners have lived and died, married and reproduced, broken various laws and committed countless crimes, and feuded with other criminals. Basically we’re just a nuisance to the law-abiding citizens of Wyatt County.

While I might be somewhat proud of my ancestors, I’ve had about all I can take of the current branches of my family tree. Between the moonshine distilling and marijuana growing, the selling of both products, and all of the other crimes that the Shatners commit, the majority of my relatives are on the fast track to a long stay in prison.

Over the years, I’ve tried to distance myself from my family members and their crimes. After high school, I moved to Huntsville, Texas, to attend Sam Houston State University. After I had earned my degree in criminal justice, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and went to work for the Nashville Crime Scene Investigation Section. I enjoyed my job, and the big city life, but after six years of it, I started feeling overwhelmed. To be honest, I think I just wanted to go home and resume the small town life of my younger years. About the time I was thinking of leaving Nashville, my great-aunt Emily Morgan asked me to come back to Texas to take over her position as the matriarch of the Shatner family. While I didn’t really want to become the new head of the family’s criminal operation, I did decide to move back to Texas.

Once home in Texas, I went to work for the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department as a detective and crime scene technician. Wyatt County is southeast of Tyler and northwest of Nacogdoches, and is so small that it frequently gets left off of state maps. The good thing is that there isn’t a whole lot of serious crime being committed in Wyatt County. The bad news is that the majority of the crimes that are committed are being committed by Shatners. And, guess what, those Shatners expect me to help them cover up their crimes. At first, I just shredded their speeding tickets and looked the other way while the Sheriff of Wyatt County, my Uncle Murph Shatner, covered by the family’s crimes. But recently it’s been getting harder and harder for me to ignore what my family is doing. I want to stop them from breaking the law. I just don’t want to have to arrest them to do it.

This is my dog, Molly, and my cat, Manny. I've had Molly since she was a puppy. She's about four years old now. As for Manny, I'm not quite sure how old he is. He was originally Sergeant Jerrod Hardy's cat - Jerrod unwittingly adopted Manny when the cat started hanging around the house he's renting. After a few months with Jerrod, Manny decided that I'm his person and moved in with me.

I've got so many aunts, uncles, and cousins that sometimes I have trouble keeping up with my extended family. To make it easier on myself, and everyone else, I've put together family trees for the four branches of my family (Granddaddy Crockett, Great-Uncle Houston, Great-Uncle Bowie, and Great-Aunt Emily Morgan), as well as for Catfish Devereux's family. Catfish is Houston's best friend and partner-in-crime, and that makes him family.