SAN ANGELO, TX — Elvia Tarn is distraught at the prospect of losing her freedom and being imprisoned for theft of firearms and international arms smuggling. These crimes she says she did not commit.
Elvia Tarn of San Angelo is 74 years old and the widow of William Tarn, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the US Army. These allegations stem from a dispute with her stepson Christopher Tarn over the distribution of the estate of William Tarn.
William Tarn died on August 12, 2017. The deceased left to his son all “residue and remainder of [his] estate” which would include all personal belongings outside of the real estate and bank accounts left to the wife. The main objects of contention in this case pertain to a so-called “armory” of firearms and a supposedly large cache of silver bars.
In the trial brief submitted to the court by Christopher, he opens with the following statement, “This case presents perhaps the starkest choice between two parties’ version of the facts this Court likely has seen in a non-criminal setting.”
Christopher posits that his father owned more than 150 firearms, of which only 56 have yet been granted to him. He claims that Elvia has moved the remainder and hidden, sold, or in other ways obstructed his lawful possession, possibly transporting them to Guatemala.
Christopher further claims that a large cache of silver bars owned by the deceased exists which the widow is likewise hiding. The silver is said to have, at one point, filled two cabinets roughly two-feet wide, three-feet high, and 18-inches deep. The stock is supposed to have been Williams' hedge against a potential “crisis scenario”.
The widow claims that no significant amount of silver remained after William's death for, “My husband gave silver out freely to friends on our trips to Guatemala.” What was left, she testified, was consumed in the production of “holy water” or sold to Cano’s Jewelry to pay for her husband's funeral expenses. None remains, Elvia says.
The widow claims that nothing has been hidden, sold, or withheld from Christopher that the dispute is all a fabrication intended to cause her distress both emotionally and financially, because he has always hated her for being the “other woman” breaking up his mom and dad.
One piece of evidence points in her favor: at one point Christopher testified in court that, “I spoke with [Elvia’s] nephews Christopher Molina, Marco Moreno, and Alvaro Gonzalez. They have told me that the guns ended up in Guatemala less than two weeks after my father died, that everything I’m looking for went down there.” However every relative mentioned responded with a signed affidavit condemning this statement to be false. Claiming they never made the former statement nor had any knowledge as to the whereabouts or existence of the firearms.
Despite this and because of testimony from neighbors regarding the “armory” and the amount of silver, which Elvia claims to be coerced, and because of a mistake Elvia says she made when reporting the amount she paid on the Ford Edge originally purchased by the deceased and therefore due, in part, to the son, Elvia is facing a charge of contempt of court which could land her in prison for up to 18-months and is ordered to pay $32,350 to cover all of Christopher's legal fees.
The hearing set for this past Monday was postponed. Elvia fired her attorney. The hearing about the contempt of court charges against Elvia was reset for August 16 to determine her punishment if she does not deliver the weapons and silver to Christopher by that date, which Elvia contends is impossible.
Mrs. Tarn believes she is the victim of prejudice and possibly bribery. “[The presiding] Judge Roberts is so prejudiced against my language barrier and race. . . The Judge called me a hypocrite and stated that she didn’t doubt that I have the ability to speak english, but was only pretending. . . Judge Roberts has threatened to put me in jail if I don’t lie. The Judge seems to believe I am an international drug smuggler,” she told us through a translator.
In Elvia’s sworn affidavit she states, “I know that the Court has found me to be dishonest. I am telling the Court I am not. I am a 74-year-old woman who lost her husband. We had been together for 40 years at the time of his death. I will do anything the Court orders. I just can’t give back property I don't have or have never known to exist. I wish I could. I am terrified of the consequences of not complying with the Court’s order, but I swear what I know to be true and that is every word of this sworn statement,” Elvia stated.
In a letter to San Angelo LIVE! Elvia continues that "Christopher Tarn and his attorney are using intimidation in order to control me and force me to give Christopher what is legally mine."