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Missing sister’s body believed found

May 2, 1997

GRANBURY, Texas (AP) _ Searchers found a body believed to be that of a missing 11-year-old girl Friday, two days after her little brother was found beaten nearly to death in a cemetery.

Bobby Wayne Woods, an ex-boyfriend of the children’s mother, was charged with attempted murder in the boy’s beating and is expected to be charged next week in the girl’s death.

Authorities abandoned an early theory that Woods abducted the children to retaliate against their mother, Schwana Patterson.

``It was not a revenge deal. It was not an anger deal. I believe it was an offense involving his need to want a female child,″ District Attorney Richard L. Hattox said.

Officials could not immediately confirm whether the body was that of Sarah Patterson. The girl disappeared from her home Tuesday night along with her 9-year-old brother, Cody.

Cody has slipped in and out of consciousness since he was found late Wednesday, urging deputies in wakeful moments ``to kill Bobby Woods for him,″ according to an affidavit.

Hundreds of officers and volunteers had helped search for Sarah in rural Hood County, about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth. But it wasn’t until Woods told them where to look that authorities found the body on a heavily wooded hillside about 80 feet from a fishing spot called Rough Creek.

She had been stabbed in the neck and Hattox said the knife was found by searchers a day earlier.

``I don’t know how I’m going to live without that child, but I would not have been able to bear it if she had not been found,″ Schwana Patterson said. ``She is now a heavenly angel, not just our Angel.″

Cody _ battered, badly sunburned and wearing only underpants _ was found late Wednesday in a cemetery by a part-time rodeo rider exercising his horses nearby.

The boy had been struck in the head so violently that skull fragments penetrated his brain, and would probably have died had he not been found at that time, authorities said.

He remained in serious condition Friday at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. His mother said he is improving and beginning to eat.

Woods, 31, has been in custody since Wednesday on a burglary charge after Ms. Patterson told sheriff’s deputies that he stole electronics equipment from her home Monday.

Rebecca Patterson, an 18-year-old sister of the children, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Ms. Patterson kicked Woods out of the house around February because he wasn’t working and because some of her money and the children’s medicine was missing.

She said Woods and Ms. Patterson were married last year, but the license was filed improperly.

Update hourly