The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office has identified the body found July 4 in a refrigerator on a property in western Ellis County as Jerry Vera Roberts, a 62-year-old Arlington man who went missing May 6.
According to paperwork released by the medical examiner, Roberts’ body was identified through DNA analysis and comparison with samples taken from family members.
Roberts’s body was located by a father and son who were using metal detectors on a property in the 500 block of Farm-to-Market 2258. They came across a refrigerator and opened it, discovering what appeared to be a body inside. The father and son contacted authorities, with the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office dispatched to the scene.
Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dennis Brearley said his agency had received information from the Arlington police to be on the lookout for a body that had possibly been dumped in the Ellis/Johnson county area.
“It was a pretty disturbing scene. They threw him away like he was trash,” said Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr., who pronounced the death and ordered the body taken to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
Arlington PD was contacted, with its officers contacted to secure the scene and take over the case.
According to information previously released by the Arlington Police Department, two people are in custody on a murder charge relating to Roberts’ disappearance from his residence in the 700 block of Sanford St.
Erin Leanne Guthrie, 38, is in custody in Texas on a $500,000 bond; her boyfriend, Thomas Eugene Dunham, 43, who also has a $500,000 bond, is being held in Colorado. The Valley Courier in Alamosa, Colo., reported Friday that a governor’s warrant requesting his extradition had been issued and Dunham is awaiting transport back to Texas.
Arlington officers had gone to Roberts’ home May 6 to conduct a welfare check at the request of his family, arriving at the location to find the man’s pickup and refrigerator missing, while also discovering blood stains on a chair, authorities said.
During the ensuing investigation, at least one witness reported an argument the day before between Roberts and Guthrie, who was his roommate. Guthrie also was seen on surveillance footage using Roberts’ debit card at a Fort Worth Convenience store May 7, authorities said.
On June 7, Dunham was driving Roberts’ truck – which had been listed as stolen – when he was stopped by officers in Alamosa, Colo., and taken into custody, authorities said, with the Valley Courier reporting that blood was found in the back of the pickup.
Guthrie was arrested at a homeless shelter. The two have been in custody since, with Guthrie extradited back to Texas on Aug. 23, according to the Valley Courier.
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