Truly Holmes, 70, retired Dallas officer tackled tough, high-profile investigations

Truly Marion Holmes tracked down an array of despicable criminals, from serial rapists to skinheads bent on hate crimes.

During his 37 years with the Dallas Police Department, he worked with the Secret Service to protect visiting dignitaries, was a U.S. marshal and was assigned to the FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In retirement, he continued to seek justice as a private investigator, working diligently for a Hill Country defense attorney.

Holmes, 70, died May 5 of cancer at a Kerrville hospital. Services are private.

Truly Holmes, retired Dallas Police investigator

A former Army drill sergeant, Holmes rose from patrolman to detective and investigator. He pursued high-profile cases involving narcotics enforcement, sexual assault and homicide.

In the mid-1970s, Holmes helped track down Guy Marble, dubbed the "Friendly Rapist," who was blamed for about 50 sexual attacks, mostly at Greenville Avenue-area apartments. At the twilight of his police career, he testified as a hate-crimes expert in the trial of white supremacist Jesse Chaddock, who was convicted of the 2004 brutal beating of a man at the Gypsy Tea Room, a Deep Ellum nightclub.

Off duty, Holmes was a devoted family man, said his daughter Stephanie Holmes-Mills of Coppell.

"He was the life of the party, very intelligent," she said. "He was sweet and very protective of his family. He loved life, and he lived it. He wanted to make the world better."

Holmes kept details of his police work from his children.

"I didn’t realize what all he did. … He shielded us from that," his daughter said. "He told us what the boogie man was, and he made sure we were always aware of our surroundings.

"We knew what he did was important, but he didn’t want to share it all with us."

In July 2005, Holmes retired from the Police Department and moved to Ingram, just outside Kerrville. He became a private investigator, with clients including defense attorney Steve Pickell.

"It was really kind of remarkable, because one look at him and you knew he was an ex-cop," Pickell said.

Holmes related to everyone, and he wasn’t intimidating the way private investigators are often thought to be.

"When he got a sense that somebody was being wrongly accused, or I’d say just overly accused, he gave it his all," Pickell said.

In one case, Holmes uncovered evidence that cleared a defendant of forgery charges that appeared to be headed toward a "slam-dunk conviction," Pickell said.

Holmes was born in Graham, grew up in Dallas and graduated from high school in Kemp.

He served in the Army from 1965 to 1967 during the Vietnam War. He received a bachelor’s degree in criminology from what is now Abilene Christian University, graduating cum laude.

Holmes made a business visit to the FBI office in Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 18, 1995. The building was bombed the next day, killing 168 people and injuring over 800.

"He knew agents, and he had friends in that building," his daughter said. "He took that very hard."

In addition to his daughter, Holmes is survived by his wife of 28 years, Lou Cano-Holmes of Ingram; a son, Damon Matthew Holmes of Longview; three other daughters, Gina Clair-Burrage of Sachse, April Clair-Haag of Spring Branch and Candice Holmes-Thornton of Lindale; a sister, Patricia Patterson of Dallas; a brother, retired Dallas police Officer Doug Holmes of Hamilton; and seven grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to cancer research.

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