Posted: Dec 2, 2011 2:04 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2012 8:08 AM
CAMERON COUNTY - La Feria's Park Girl is behind bars. Jo Leigh Ares is in the Cameron County jail. She's charged with four counts of felony theft. The mobile home dealer is accused of taking thousands of dollars from her customers.
Allegations against Jo Leigh Ares surfaced more than a month ago. She left dozens of customers searching for answers. Ares didn't offer any Thursday.
The Park Girl is back in the Valley. Police picked Jo Leigh Ares up in Hondo on Wednesday night after she turned herself in. Authorities say Ares remained completely silent. The conversation didn't pick up much when she arrived outside courthouse Thursday morning. She spoke only once during her arraignment.
"And I did turn myself in so I don't feel that I'm a flight risk," said Ares.
The constable and La Feria's police chief worry the Park Girl will flee the Valley if she makes bond. The judge agreed. He set the bond at $1.2 million.
La Feria police Chief Donato Garcia says the Park Girl can keep quiet for now. She'll eventually need to answer to her customers.
"There's still more warrants, and there's still more victims," says Garcia.
The Park Girl left the courthouse in handcuffs without saying another word. She'll remain in the Cameron County jail until she pays bond.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS first started reporting the theft allegations against the Park Girl on Oct. 27. The Park Girl mobile home dealership shut down the following day. Ares did not return any calls. Messages to her cell phone and her business were not returned. She was not at her home in Harlingen.
On Nov. 3, a U.S. marshal arrested her as she got off of a plane in Boise, Idaho. She was placed in custody, and the Cameron County constables started working to transfer her back to Texas. Ares was released on a fugitive's bond the following day. She showed up to court Nov. 11, but her transfer hearing was delayed until January.
We didn't hear anymore from Ares until Wednesday when she turned herself in to police in Hondo.
Ares is being investigated by local authorities and the state housing authority. The Manufactured Housing Department confirmed Ares has violated at least one state housing law.