But now police allege Thornburg’s room is where, in a matter of days, he killed three people, dismembered their bodies and stored their remains in plastic containers. Police also said Thornburg, 41, is believed to have transported the remains to a dumpster 25 miles away from the inn where he set them on fire, according to an arrest affidavit. He described the killings to police as “sacrifices,” the affidavit states.
“This was shocking, it’s unsettling, and we knew that bringing someone to justice in this case was paramount,” Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes said at a news conference this week.
Thornburg has been charged in the killings of the three people — a 42-year-old man named David Lueras and two women police have not publicly identified. But the killings were not Thornburg’s first, he told police in an interview before his arrest on Monday, according to the affidavit. Thornburg said that, in May, he sacrificed his roommate by slicing his throat in Fort Worth and setting their home ablaze, the affidavit states. Police had been investigating the death of the roommate, 61-year-old Mark Jewell.
When police asked if he had committed more sacrifices, Thornburg said he had also sacrificed the body of his girlfriend in Arizona, according to the affidavit.
Fort Worth police said charges will soon be filed against Thornburg in the killing of his roommate. It was not immediately clear Thursday morning if Thornburg had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Around Sept. 17, Lueras showed up at Thornburg’s room, No. 113 at the Mid City Inn, and stayed with him, according to the affidavit. But Thornburg told investigators that he believed Lueras needed to be sacrificed. So Thornburg cut his throat and dismembered his body using a straight blade in the room’s bathtub, Thornburg told police, the affidavit states. Thornburg allegedly kept the remains in plastic storage bins.
About two days later, a female acquaintance of Thornburg’s stopped by, and Thornburg told police he believed she, too, needed to be sacrificed, according to court records. So he cut her throat, dismembered her body and stored her remains in storage tubs, according to the affidavit.
Two days later, another woman showed up. Thornburg told police he strangled her after initially trying to stab her, according to the affidavit. Like the others, he dismembered her body and placed the remains in storage tubs, the affidavit states.
Neighbors began noticing a strong odor wafting up from Thornburg’s room, WFAA reported.
On Sept. 21, late at night, police believe Thornburg transported the remains of all three victims to a dumpster and set it on fire.
The next morning, police found the mutilated bodies. They were able to identify Lueras because of a tattoo on his back and a medical implant discovered on his body. Fort Worth police said on Tuesday the other two motel victims have been identified, but investigators declined to name them.
In May, Thornburg was considered a person of interest after the house he shared with Jewell exploded, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But the medical examiner did not rule Jewell’s death a homicide, saying the cause was inconclusive, and police did not seek Thornburg’s arrest.
Thornburg spoke at Jewell’s funeral, the Star-Telegram reported. He called his roommate, and fellow student of scripture, a “good friend.”