Update: Investigators locate body possibly linked to Smith County homicide case

Smith Co. Investigates Burned Body as Homicide

UPDATE:  SMITH CO (KYTX) - Since the recovery of burned human remains on Smith County Rd. 371 last Friday at approximately 7:00 am, Smith County detectives have worked around the clock in an attempt to locate the body of the victim.

At approximately 4:20 pm last Friday, a burned vehicle was recovered off Lavender Rd. north of Interstate 20 which was believed to belong to the victim. A potential victim was identified as detectives sifted through burned debris at the County Rd. 371 location last Friday morning. That potentially identified victim has not returned to his residence in Parker County, west of Ft. Worth, nor has he returned to work since this string of events occurred.

Detectives from the Smith County Sheriff's Office traveled to the Parker County and Ft. Worth area this past Friday and as late as yesterday in an attempt to turn up additional evidence and clues in this investigation. All investigative leads and all investigative procedures available to detectives are being utilized in this investigation.

During the press release last Friday, Sheriff Larry Smith reported that he believed there would be at least three separate crime scenes. This information was derived from the evidence Sheriff Smith and detectives observed at the original scene on County Rd. 371. That scene was obviously a scene at which the perpetrators discarded valuable evidence obviously subsequent to cleaning up the original homicide scene. Evidence was recovered from that scene which strongly indicates this original homicide occurred within a motel room or residential type structure.

Other electronic information is being utilized to track the path of the victim since last Thursday, the day prior to the homicide. The Smith County Sheriff's Office requested assistance from the Texas Rangers this past Friday due to numerous jurisdictions being involved. The use of the Texas Rangers, who have statewide jurisdiction, is of tremendous value in the collection of evidence from the multiple counties involved in this investigation.

Prior to the discovery on Smith County Rd. 371 this past Friday, no law enforcement entity even knew that a homicide had occurred. Sheriff Smith credits the painstaking crime scene processing of that charred scene by the Smith County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Unit as well as numerous detectives with being as far in this investigation as we are. There was little information to work with at that scene, however, due to the tedious and meticulous processing of that scene a potential victim was identified which allowed detectives to take the next steps in the investigation.

This information also allowed detectives to link that crime scene with the scene approximately twelve hours later where the burning vehicle belonging to the victim was recovered off Lavender Road north of Interstate 20.

A search of the victim's residence in Parker County was conducted by the Parker County Sheriff's Office as well as Texas Rangers who were in constant contact with Smith County detectives.

Smith County detectives learned on Sunday morning that a body had been recovered from Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana. Smith County detectives contacted Shreveport, Louisiana detectives and at first were told the victim apparently died as the result of a boat propeller. Smith County detectives again contacted the Caddo Parrish coroner's office yesterday and forwarded a photograph of the potential victim associated with the Smith County investigation. The coroner made a tentative identification by facial recognition alone. No positive identification has been made at this time, therefore, no identification will be released until that has been achieved. This is in the process now possibly by dental records as well as DNA.

Sheriff Smith stated, "This investigation is going to require a concerted effort among multiple law enforcement jurisdictions working closely together to bring it to a successful conclusion."

Should any citizen or law enforcement agency have any information that may be beneficial to this investigation, they are asked to call the Smith County Sheriff's Office at (903) 566-6600 and provide their contact number as well as the information be forwarded immediately to Smith County Sheriff's Office Detective Sergeant Clint Benson.

Investigators say they have identified the victim of a grisly homicide. 

They've been working all day and night to unravel the mystery of just part of a dead body found near the intersection of County Road 3-71 and  FM 12-52 around 7 Friday morning. 

Late Friday, investigators  found the the vehicle believed to belong to the victim: a white man in his 50's from the Fort Worth area.  His name is not being released at this time. The vehicle, a white or silver 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser, was found on fire in the woods off Lavender Rd.  
Detective remained at the site late Friday collecting evidence. The investigation started earlier in the day deputies discovered a roll of carpet on fire and part of the victim inside. The Sheriff wouldn't say what part of the body was in the carpet. Investigators brought in dogs to look for additional evidence at the scene. 

Investigators believe this vehicle was in the Tyler-Smith County area for 12 hours Friday, from 5 a.m. to about 4:20 p.m.
If you happened to see a vehicle similar to the one pictured at all Friday, you're asked to call the  Smith County Sheriff's Office. 

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -- Sheriff Larry Smith confirmed Friday afternoon that investigators were looking at the circumstances surrounding a dead body found earlier in the day as a homicide.

Eye witnesses called the Sheriff's department between 5am and 7am to report an object on fire in the middle of County Road 371, just off Highway 271 in the northeast part of the county.

An initial investigation revealed a roll of what is believed to be residential indoor carpeting which was still smoldering. Some portion of human remains was rolled up inside.

"We don't have 95% of the body," Smith said.

Smith declined to go into detail regarding what portion of the body was found at the scene. He said it was immediately clear that the fire had not burned hot or long enough to consume most of a human body, indicating that foul play had to be involved prior to the fire.

Smith said he could not confirm the gender or age of the person who died. While unable to rule out the possibility that the victim was a child, the sheriff said it was unlikely. He added that valuable evidence had been found alongside the body that could assist in an identification.

Investigators are asking for help from the public in identifying any home that may be undergoing any unexpected painting or re-carpeting. Smith said he believes the victim was killed inside a home or apartment before being dumped along the rural road.

Additionally the sheriff said he expected there to be a third possible crime scene where the rest of the body might be found.

Anyone with any information should call 903-590-2661.

UPDATE: SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - At approximately 7:07am, Smith County Sheriff's Office Dispatch received a 911 call regarding an object wrapped in carpet which was smoldering and lying in the road on CR 371 just north of FM 1252 in the northeastern part of Smith County.

A patrol deputy was dispatched and arrived on scene at 7:33 am. The deputy advised the burned carpeting appeared to be wrapped around human remains.

Smith County Sheriff's Office patrol deputies and detectives responded to the scene as well as JP4 Mitch Shamburger.  At this time, the body has not been located, therefore the victim has not been identified.  A second caller advised that she saw a white older model SUV near the scene of the burning object.

Sheriff Larry Smith stated, "It appears we could potentially have as many as three separate crime scenes associated with this investigation". "We have recovered only a small portion of human remains at this time, which appear to be remnants of the suspects cleaning up a crime scene which more than likely occurred within a residential structure". "This is what the evidence recovered so far at the scene on Smith County Road 371 indicates to detectives".

We are seeking the assistance from citizens regarding any information they may have of this crime or a potential location where it took place. Please contact Detective Sergeant Clint Benson at (903) 566-6600 should you wish to provide information.

Additionally, if you would like to remain anonymous, please contact Smith County Crime Stoppers at (903)597-2833.

For more information on the Smith County Sheriff's Office, visit www.smith-county.com/so. The Sheriff's Office also has a Facebook page and can be followed on Twitter at @SmithCSO.

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Law enforcement is investigating after a burned and dismembered body was found in northern Smith County.
Investigators aren't releasing any additional details.

CBS 19 has a crew in route and will bring you updates as they become available.


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