Authorities have arrested a suspect in the murder and possible dragging death of a man in the Big Thicket Lake Estates in north Liberty County. The murder, which reportedly took place late Saturday night, sent shockwaves through Liberty County due to the graphic nature of the crime.
According to Capt. Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, Robert Eugene Hoffpauir, 36, of Rye, became embroiled in an argument between his mother, Timey Ann Cole, and her boyfriend, Roman Rodriguez, 60, both of Rye.
“There are a couple of versions of what happened and the case is still under investigation. According to the defendant and his mother, Mr. Rodriguez came over and was causing a domestic disturbance. The defendant assaulted the victim and later secured him to the back of his own pickup truck, dragging his body for about a mile,” DeFoor said.
DeFoor said it is unknown if Rodriguez was deceased from the alleged beating or died as a result of the dragging. He was secured to the truck using a tow strap that was fastened to his waist. A trail of blood was found leading from the home to where his body was found near his burned-out vehicle. An autopsy should help authorities determine the cause of death.
Rodriguez’s body was discovered when a 911 emergency call was made by a neighbor to report a fire. When firefighters arrived, they found the burned-out truck with Rodriguez’s body behind it. The body was badly damaged but not burned, authorities said.
Hoffpauir is in the Liberty County Jail at this time on two charges – Murder and Abuse of a Corpse. Bonds have been set at $1,010,000 for both charges.
Hoffpauir has previous arrests for Criminal Mischief, Public Intoxication, Burglary of a Habitation, Possession of Marijuana and traffic offenses.