Mother, son both charged in connection to possible dragging death in Rye

Ronnie Denton with the State Fire Marshal's Office enters the woods where a truck that apparently was dragging a man's body was set on fire Saturday night.

The mother of murder suspect Robert Eugene Hoffpauir, 36, of Rye, is now charged in connection with the June 12 killing of Roman Rodriguez, 60, of Rye.

According to Capt. Billy Knox, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Hoffpauir’s mother, Timey Ann Cole, 56, is now charged with Tampering or Fabricating Physical Evidence With the Intent to Impair and Abuse of a Corpse. Cole was arrested Wednesday by Texas Rangers and Liberty County sheriff’s deputy at her home in the Big Thicket Lake Estates north of Rye.

The investigation that led to the arrests of the mother and son has reportedly determined that Rodriguez was brutally beaten with either a bat or other device prior to being dragged behind his own vehicle to a location a mile away where his vehicle was then set on fire.

Authorities are hoping an autopsy later this week will determine if Rodriguez was dead prior to being dragged. The victim’s body was discovered by firefighters after an emergency 911 call reported a fire. When they arrived on the scene, they found Rodriguez’s singed body attached to his burnt-out vehicle by a towing strap that was wrapped around his waist.

A trail of blood that extended from where Rodriguez’s body was found back to Cole’s home was immediately visible to investigators.

According to previous reports from the sheriff’s office, it is believed that Cole and Rodriguez had been romantically linked at some point in the past.

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. Bonds for Cole are not set at this time. Her mugshot will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

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