Angelina County mother believes grand jury got it wrong with son's death

Angelina County mother believes grand jury got it wrong with son's death
Source: Hazel West
Source: Hazel West
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Hazel West sits at home and dreams of her son on a daily basis.

Four months ago her son Matthew Hoff was found dead down the road from her house.

"It was Easter Sunday," West said. "We were mowing the yard, and we finished. He was getting something to drink and asked how long until we eat. I told him about 30 minutes and he said okay. I went inside and then came outside and he was gone. I then saw lights and heard a lot of commotion down the street at his father's house."

West believed that Hoff went over to the home about a dispute over property.

"I got out of the car, and I was going to go down there to the house, and they told me I couldn't," West said. "My son was already dead."

According to Hoff's death certificate, the 36-year-old died from compressional asphyxia, or the loss of breath from pressure to the neck. The death was ruled a homicide. West said Hoff did have drugs in his system including methamphetamine but did not believe that could have lead to his death.

"I don't think that's what killed my son," West said. "I believe he was beaten to death. I believe what the autopsy said and that he was strangled to death. I believe somebody killed my son. It's what I believe in my heart."

West said she was hopeful she would receive justice for her son's death but was heartbroken to learn that a grand jury did not indict anyone involved in the altercation.

Sheriff Greg Sanches did confirm the case was sent to a grand jury panel and that the case was not taken any further.

Since her son's death, West has been forced to celebrate several milestones without Hoff there.

"Our birthdays are a week apart in June," West said. "We were so close. I miss seeing his face. He was just a happy person. He had a heart of gold."

West is not giving up. West is remaining hopeful the case might get a second chance for a grand jury in 2017.

Sanches said the case has not been closed, and it is possible for a new grand jury panel to look at the evidence.

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