TRAGEDY: Community remembers Liz Sweeten

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Liz Sweeten was known by many throughout town. The former reporter for the Port Isabel – South Padre Press could often be seen walking along the streets of old Port Isabel. To work, to the convenience store, or just around her neighborhood, Liz loved to walk. And it was while she was out for a walk last Sunday evening that Liz’s life was cut short.

Elizabeth “Liz” Abbott Sweeten was walking along Musina Street, crossing against the tourist traffic of a congested Queen Isabella Boulevard when a motorcyclist who was travelling too fast in the shoulder of the highway struck and killed her. Officials say her death was instantaneous.

It was news that sent shockwaves through this small Laguna Madre community, where Liz had touched many lives throughout her decades as a reporter for the PRESS. Her former colleagues and friends remembered her this week, many sharing memories of her intrepid reporting. Variations of the phrase “reported the truth as she saw it” were uttered more than once by those who shared their recollections, as were the words “intelligent” and “passionate.”

“We met almost 40 years ago when we all worked at the PRESS together,” recalled Betty Wells, who now serves as the director of the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce. “She was a great reporter. She told the truth as she saw it,” Wells said.

“Elizabeth’s forte was straight news, and she wrote her stories as she saw them,” echoed Martha McClain, who previously served as a reporter for the PRESS and editor of the PRESS’ sister paper, the San Benito News. Currently, McClain writes for the PRESS as a freelancer.

“Whether it was covering the Water District, Navigation District or School District, she was unbiased, relied on facts and hunted down the truth … and almost always found it, much to the dismay of some politicians,” McClain wrote in a column which can be read in full at

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