The grisly discovery of human remains found rolled up in a carpet that was dumped and burned on a rural Smith County road has launched a homicide investigation, Sheriff Larry Smith said.
A passing motorist made a 911 call about 7:30 a.m. Friday about a smoldering carpet in the middle of County Road 371 in the northeast part of the county near Interstate 20, according to sheriff’s reports.
Investigators discovered human remains in the carpet, none of them limbs, Smith said.
“We are looking for a homicide victim and not someone who has just been injured,” he said. “There is no way the person could have lived through the evidence we have seen out here today.”
The residential carpeting — perhaps from an apartment — was a short pile and goldish in color, he said.
Investigators had found no witnesses as of Friday afternoon, and the stretch of road where the body was found is uninhabited, he said.
Late Friday, investigators found the vehicle they believe belongs to the victim — a white man in his 50s from the Fort Worth area. His name is not being released at this time.
The vehicle, a white or silver 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser, was found on fire in the woods off Lavender Road. Investigators said they believed the vehicle was in Smith County for almost 12 hours Friday, from 5 a.m. to about 4:20 p.m.
Clothing remnants were found at the scene with the carpeting and body parts, but identity of the victim was expected to be challenging because 95 percent of the body was missing, Smith said.
“I believe we’re looking at three crime scenes: the place it happened, where the body was placed and this location,” he said.
Smith said the location of the killing would require extensive cleaning and perhaps new carpeting and paint.
“I can assure you it is very difficult to hide a homicide of this nature,” he said. “There is a lot of cleaning up and a lot of things that have to be done to hide that from anyone going into the residence.”
The body parts will be sent for DNA testing, the sheriff said.
Detectives remained at the site late Friday collecting evidence.
“We are hoping that someone will call that has a missing relative or friend or something that will give us something else of another place to start to continue this investigation,” he said.
Anyone with information about the crime or the vehicle is asked to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600 or the Tyler/Smith County Crimestoppers at 903-597-2833.
KYTX CBS19 contributed to this report.