In-depth coverage of the shootings in Kaufman County

Man Arrested After Threat Left on Murder Tipline

By Frank Heinz
|  Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013  |  Updated 9:42 PM CDT
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The Kaufman County Sheriff's Department has arrested 56-year-old Nick Morale of Terrell, they say left a threatening message on a tipline.

Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News

The Kaufman County Sheriff's Department has arrested 56-year-old Nick Morale of Terrell, they say left a threatening message on a tipline.

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The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man they say left a threatening message on a tipline.

Lt. Justin Lewis said Nick Morale, 56, of Terrell, was taken into custody Tuesday by Texas Rangers on a charge of terroristic threat. He was arraigned Wednesday morning and is being held in the Kaufman County Jail on a $1 million bond.

"During the course of the investigation into the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland, a threat against the safety of a county official was received," Lewis said. "The threat was then investigated, leading to the arrest of Mr. Morale at a location in Kaufman County."

Lewis said the threat was phoned in to the tipline established for the case.

Specific details of the threat were not revealed, but a complaint affidavit released to the media said "the caller stated [name redacted] would be the next victim."

Investigators tracked the number to Morale and said he had attempted to block his number when calling the tipline in an effort to conceal his identity.

Police said threats against officials come with state and federal criminal penalties and that all threats would be taken seriously, investigated and prosecuted to ensure the safety of citizens and public officials.

Investigators have not found any evidence that suggests Morale had anything to do with the McLelland or Hasse murders.

Officials have revealed no persons of interest or suspects in connection with the killings of the McLellands or Hasse. They also have not said if the slayings, which came nearly two months apart, are connected.

The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are jointly investigating both cases.

Anyone with information on the cases is asked to call 877-847-7522. Tips can also be left online at KaufmanCountyCrimeStoppers.org.

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