Marlin Police Chief Nathan Sodek, who has been under criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers, killed himself Friday at his home in Bruceville-Eddy, officials said.

While McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and Department of Public Safety Sgt. Ryan Howard declined to confirm that Sodek took his own life, Falls County District Attorney Jody Gilliam said Friday that law enforcement authorities told her Sodek died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson was called to Sodek’s residence in the 100 block of Soules Circle and ordered an autopsy in the case.

Marlin City Manager Cedric Davis confirmed Sodek, 30, died at the Bruceville-Eddy home Friday. Davis said although he was hired in May to serve as city manager, he is grieving with the city.

“I cried because he is old enough to be my son, but like I’ve told the other guys, I just want people to know to pray for his family, pray for his soul and pray for our city to come together during this time,” Davis said. “We are going through some grieving right now, but we will get past this. We just have to be strong for his family as well for those employees that worked here.”

Judge Ralph Strother of Waco’s 19th State District Court said Texas Ranger James Burson called him Friday morning to see if he would be available to issue a search warrant to seize and examine Sodek’s cellphone. The Ranger never came for the warrant, Strother said.

Gilliam was aware of an ongoing Ranger investigation of Sodek but said she recused herself and her office from involvement in the investigation or any potential prosecution.

The nature of the investigation was unconfirmed Friday afternoon.

Davis said he was unaware of any criminal investigation concerning Sodek. Support services were being offered to the city of Marlin on Friday, Davis said.

Sodek started with the Marlin Police Department in August 2017 after about four years with the city of Rosebud’s police department, according to a biography on the Marlin website. Sodek was named interim police chief in October 2018 after the resignation of former Chief Michael Pesses.

Sodek and former Marlin police Officer Albert Cavazos applied for the chief position after Pesses’ resignation. In November, Sodek was appointed as permanent chief, and Cavazos became chief of the Mart Police Department.

“I really, strongly believe with more years under his belt as a chief he would have really excelled as the new chief,” Cavazos said of his former co-worker. “Unfortunately, whatever issues he had or whatever happened, it came to an abrupt end. He was a good man who was polite to people. I still can’t believe it. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Davis said Falls Couny Sheriff Ricky Scaman will provide patrol officers to cover emergency response for the next week. He said the city will reevaluate its options next week.

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Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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