Cops: Missing Teen Found With Mom's Body in Trunk

Texas 17-year-old arrested in Nebraska is expected to face murder charge
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2022 4:24 PM CDT
Cops: Missing Teen Found With Mom's Body in Trunk
The Harris County Sheriff's Office released these photos of the mother and son on Friday.   (Harris County Sheriff's Office)

A teenager reported missing in Texas on Thursday was arrested after a police chase in Nebraska on Friday—and authorities have now confirmed that a body found in the vehicle's trunk was that of his mother. Michelle Roenz, 49, and Tyler Roenz, 17, were reported missing from a neighborhood in the Houston suburb of Humble on Thursday morning, KHOU reports. The teen's father told police that his wife and son were missing and that the family car was gone. According to charging documents, the father found blood and at least five teeth in the garage and the home's main bedroom, ABC13 reports. The father told investigators that he tried to track his son's phone with the Life360 app, but his son had deleted the app and turned his phone off.

The Nebraska State Patrol says a trooper spotted the vehicle minutes after an alert said it could be linked to a possible homicide in Texas, the Washington Post reports. After the driver refused to pull over, there was a chase at speeds of up to 110mph. It soon ended in a crash, and the teen suffered serious but nonlethal injuries, the NSP says. Harris County Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Monday that according to preliminary reports, Michelle Roenz died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Gilliland said authorities are working to extradite the teen to Texas to face a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and "an additional charge of murder is expected" after investigators interview the teen, the AP reports. Court documents state that the 17-year-old was charged with attempted sexual assault earlier this year and was out on $10,000 bond, ABC13 reports. He allegedly attacked an 18-year-old girl in his car and ripped her shirt off. (Read more Texas stories.)

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