David Darby

EDITOR'S NOTE: Darby was released Tuesday, not Thursday as initially reported by the Lamar County Jail, which had an incorrect online bail record. The story is corrected. 


A local youth minister who was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child died by an apparent suicide Thursday, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Tim Risinger confirmed this morning.

David Ray Darby, 41, died of a single gunshot wound on CR 34775 Thursday morning, according to initial reports. Emergency personnel responded to a suicide attempt call around 10:05 a.m., when it was reported the victim was wounded, unconscious and not breathing.

Risinger was called to the scene later that morning, where he pronounced the death and ordered an autopsy in Dallas, he said. The Texas Rangers and Lamar County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation, he said.

Chief Deputy Tommy Moore at Lamar County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday confirmed deputies were conducting an investigation into a death in northern Lamar County, although he declined to identify the deceased. He confirmed this morning that investigators believe the cause of death was suicide.

The Paris News does not regularly report on suicide deaths, but did so in this instance given the charges against Darby and Darby’s position at the time charges were filed against him.

Darby was arrested on sexual assault charges Feb. 6 and booked into the county jail around 11:40 p.m., records show. He posted a $100,000 bond and was released Tuesday, according to online records.

Darby’s offense date was listed as Jan. 1, 2013, in online records. The victim has not been publicly identified.

Lamar County Assistant District Attorney Jill Drake this morning said Darby’s case will be dismissed, but declined to comment further.

Darby was the youth minister at Freedom Church, located off Loop 286 in Paris, according to the church’s website. He and his family joined the church in August 2018, according to a Facebook post on the church’s page.

Freedom Church’s pastor, Jordan Sharrock, said Feb. 7 that church leadership placed Darby on administrative leave while they contacted law enforcement for more information regarding his case. Church leadership had no previous knowledge of his charges and were fully cooperating with authorities, he said.

The warrant for Darby was issued Feb. 6 and was served by detectives at the sheriff’s office.

Macon Atkinson is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6963 or macon.atkinson@theparisnews.com.

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