CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The property next door to Linda Frias' house on El Paso Street has been more than a bother to her with its tall, uncut grass and weeds, and unwelcome rodents.
"It's gotten to where I started getting mice in my house. To where I had to put traps all over my home," Frias tells the Troubleshooters.
She says she and her family have lived in their house next door since 1978. More than 40 years and she never had a problem like this before.
She further claims there used to be a house on the property next door, but it burned down, and then the grass started to grow and grow and grow.
Frias says when it got too long, inmates from the Nueces County jail would come out and cut it.
"They were doing it constantly," she recalled. "As far as coming and very faithfully doing it."
But then, she says, once the pandemic swept through the Coastal Bend, the inmates stopped coming, and now the property looks like it does, un-maintained.
The Troubleshooters spent the day trying to track down which city or county department was responsible for cutting the grass since the inmates hadn't done it in a while. We started with the city's Public Works Department, then Code Enforcement, the Nueces County Appraisal District, followed by the Sheriff's Office.
That's where we spoke with Sergeant Juan Aguayo, who told us inmates had cut grass at various locations around the county before, but the pandemic forced a stop to that. There were not enough jail staff to monitor the inmates. He did tell the Troubleshooters he had one crew available for a long list of jobs. Then, we contacted the DA's office.
Mark Gonzales told us this property was seized by the State in 2003 for unpaid taxes. It'll be put up for auction the first Monday in October. But first, he, the DA, will cut the tall grass himself, and we'll be there when he does.