An Arizona man was arrested in connection with the death of his elderly roommate, who went missing for around a month and was later found dismembered in his home.
Phoenix police, aided by firefighters, performing a wellbeing check on the 80-year-old victim forced their way into his residence on Nov. 1. Officers located two trash bags filled with some of the victim’s remains in the bedroom, KOLD-TV reported.
Homicide investigators processing the scene found what appeared to be blood on the living room ceiling, walls and furniture as well as evidence indicating someone had attempted to clean up blood from the floor.
Detectives discovered the victim’s head and upper torso in a pile of blankets.
According to court records obtained by KOLD-TV, investigators tracked the victim’s missing car down to a nearby motel, where they took the victim’s on-off roommates, Thomas Wallace and Romana Gonzalez, into custody.
Gonzalez told police she hadn’t been staying with Wallace recently and alleged that she and a friend saw blood at the home on Sept. 30 and later found the elderly victim dead, court records show.
Wallace and Gonzalez are accused of pawning the victim’s camera, camera bag, chainsaw hedger and a blade attachment for $50, according to the documents.
Police claimed they found flesh and torn ligaments on the hedger’s blade when it was recovered.
Wallace faces charges of first-degree murder, theft of means of transportation, trafficking stolen property, and concealing a dead body. He was being held on $1 million cash bond.
Gonzalez was being held on suspicion of fraud and theft.
“He was a very good neighbor he would help anybody,” Ruby Lowry told KOLD-TV, noting the victim was an Air Force veteran and people frequently came and went from his home. “It’s a sad thing to happen to him. He didn’t deserve that.”
“I hope they get what they deserve because he would help anybody,” Lowry said. “That’s probably why he had them over there.”