An autopsy performed Thursday, June 17, on the body of Roman Rodriguez, 60, of Rye, has determined that he died as a result of trauma. However, questions remain about whether Rodriguez died as a result of a beating with a baseball bat or died as he was being dragged for a mile behind his own vehicle.
The inconclusive results will not change the charges in this case, according to Capt. Billy Knox, LCSO spokesperson. Authorities have charged 36-year-old Robert Eugene Hoffpauir and his 56-year-old mother, Timey Ann Cole, both of Rye.
Hoffpauir is in the Liberty County Jail on charges of Murder and Abuse of a Corpse and Cole is jailed on charges of Tampering or Fabricating Physical Evidence With Intent to Impair and Abuse of a Corpse. Hoffpauir’s total bonds are set at $1,010,000 while Cole’s bonds are a combined $40,000.
Investigators have also taken into evidence a baseball bat they believed was used by Hoffpauir to violently assault Rodriguez at Cole’s home in the Big Thicket Lake Estates on Saturday, June 12. After being beaten, Rodriguez was strapped to the back of his own vehicle using a strap around his waist and then dragged to a wooded location a mile away where his vehicle was torched.
The victim’s body was discovered by firefighters after an emergency 911 call reported the vehicle fire. A trail of blood that extended from Cole’s home to Rodriguez’s body 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.
The autopsy was conducted at the Jefferson County morgue in Beaumont with Texas Ranger Joshua Benson and a Liberty County sheriff’s forensics investigator present.