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Crosby original found murdered

Ralph Leroy Machala

Ralph “Lee” Leroy Machala, the proprietor of Pooky’s Bar, was found a victim of a brutal murder in Chambers County on Sept. 21. Apparently he had been shot to death.

Locals say he was last seen at Pooky’s on Tuesday, Sept. 17 and reportedly his Jeep was seen in his neighborhood on Sept. 18. That Jeep is now reportedly missing.

Machala had recently self reported having diversified into concrete pouring, purchasing a portion of a bar near the Mexican border, and buying RVs in Chambers County and flipping them to individuals in Crystal Beach.

The 1979 Crosby High School graduate was an avid benefactor of the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and several times paid for funeral expenses of local friends that had hit hard times.

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As if the Storm Imelda were not hard enough on locals, finding the body of a murdered man in a quiet and peaceful area is disturbing.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said, “History does in fact have a tendency to always repeat itself as once again, in the midst of a natural disaster, deputies are faced with another perplexing investigation.”

Machala was wearing blue jean shorts and an orange colored T-shirt when discovered. There were cuts on the body.

Justice Larry Cryer declared the body deceased, and an autopsy has been ordered.

Sterling Funeral Home tried to transport the body to the Medical Examiner’s Office; however, due to flooding, detectives had to call upon the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to fly the body by helicopter from Chambers County to Beaumont.

“Special thanks to Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens for the use of the helicopter for the transport of the body.” said Hawthorne.

Several leads had been developed by detectives into recently business affiliates.

Sheriff Hawthorne asks if anyone believes they may have information concerning this investigation that they call the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office at (409) 267-2500 or CrimeStoppers at (884) 860-8477.