LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Seven people are in jail in connection to the murder of 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez. Police say Rodriguez was lured by an acquaintance to ambush that lead to him being beaten to death.
A lot of questions surround how this could even happen in the first place, but we have done our best to break it down.
On August 3rd, family members reported 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez missing and August 5th is when police issue a silver alert for the missing elderly man. Three days later, a sheriff’s deputy spots Rodriguez’ car in Temple, Texas which is more than five hours away from where he was last seen. This all began setting the stage for the first break in the case and when police knew they were dealing with more than a missing person.
August 10th, police ask the public to help find David Hampton and Brett Garza. They are accused of using Rodriguez’s credit card.
Toby Daughtry and Amanda Blagburn were arrested on the 13th and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Court documents reveal they dumped the car in Temple after hearing there was a Silver Alert looking for the car. Daughtry revealed to authorities, that Hampton gave them the car back in Lubbock, one day after Rodriguez went missing. Daughtry said Hampton told him “they” had beaten an old man and left him in the country outside of Lubbock and taken the car. When asked who “they” were, he said he believed Hampton was referring to himself and Brett Garza.
August 14th, a Crimeline tip helped police locate both of them. Hampton was arrested in Abilene. Garza was arrested in Lubbock. Police say they had been using Rodriguez’ credit card to make over $1,000 in purchases from places like Walmart, Market Street, and Walgreens. These men’s original charges of credit card fraud would later be upgraded to murder.
After one day behind bars, Garza agreed to tell investigators everything he knew. He told them Heather Casias said she knew Rodriguez and about a government check he was expecting and they should rob him. Court documents showed Garza agreed to the plan and recruited David Hampton. They decided on a date of August 3rd, the day Rodriguez went missing. Garza said Casias lured Rodriguez to a predetermined location in Lubbock where he and Hampton were waiting for them. That’s when, according to the warrant, they beat him while Heather Casias watched. When they realized he was dead, they dumped his body in a cotton field, somewhere in West Lubbock County. Garza says that’s when the three of them took Rodriguez’s wallet and stolen car.
Two days later on August 5th, after being questioned by police, Casias told Garza they should move the body. The warrant said Garza recruited two men, James Anderson and Freddie Salinas to help him move the body. Two weeks later, August 15th, investigators found Rodriguez body, in a field in Abernathy.
All seven people connected to this case are behind bars. Heather Casias, David Hampton, and Brett Garza have been charged with murder. Toby Daughtry and Amanda Blagburn have been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. James Anderson and Freddie Salinas have been charged with tampering of a corpse.
More charges are expected to come.